Select Page

Want to help your child become a better listener? Using some simple strategies while reading can do that!

Let’s talk about what receptive language skills (also known as listening comprehension skills) your child is expected to show as they grow. And, how you can boost those skills by implementing some techniques during story time with your child’s favorite books.

Comprehension Milestones

Say what?

As your child’s language skills grow, it’s typical for him or her to understand way more than what they’re saying. In fact, kids typically understand several words before they even speak their first word!

Here’s a breakdown of what to look for:

Birth – 1 Year

Responds to changes in your tone of voice.

Looks at what you are pointing towards.

Understands what common objects are (like ball, mommy, and cup).

Responds to simple directions (for example, “want up?”, and “no no”).

1-2 Years

Points to body parts and clothes

Follows simple directions

Points to pictures of familiar things in books when asked (like, “where’s the dog?”)

2-3 Years

Understands opposites.

Follows 2-step directions (for example, “go in your room and get your shoes”.)

3-4 Years

Knows colors and shapes

Responds when you call him or her.

4-5 Years

Understands words related to time.

Knows the meaning of words that relate to the order of things, like first and last.

Understands most of what’s said in conversation.

Improve Listening Skills through Storytime

Reading can be a great way to improve your child’s receptive language skills. Try some of these techniques!

  • Model pointing to pictures. Ask a question out loud, then answer it yourself by pointing. “Where’s the ball?…Here it is!”
  • Actively involve your child. Give your child some simple directions as you read. For example, “Open the flap”, “Turn the page”, “Can you find something blue?”
  • Ask questions. Pause throughout the story to get your child thinking. Ask about different parts of the book, like what happened first. Or what the character’s name is.
  • Use hand over hand help. If you ask your child to point or show you something in a picture and they don’t, gently take his or her hand, form their finger into a point, and help him or her follow through with what you asked about.

Happy reading!


Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist

Proud Member of The Story Box Family