Receptive language skills are those skills that enable a student to comprehend or understand language. When a student struggles to comprehend vocabulary, sentences/questions, conversation, stories, or directions, it can significantly impact their ability to communicate effectively.
Students with weak receptive language skills may have difficulty with:
Basic vocabulary comprehension
Literal comprehension- comprehension of concrete information when listening to someone speak or in a story. This includes answering basic “wh” (what, who, where, & when) questions. Literal comprehension questions are easier than inferential questions for children with language disorders to answer because the answers are typically stated or read in text. In addition, visual cues can be used to help children answer the questions. For example, pointing to pictures of characters in the story when asking “who” questions.
Inferential comprehension- this type of comprehension is more complex and requires using information that is heard or read to draw conclusions. The answers to these types of questions are often not explicitly stated. A child must draw upon his/her own experiences and knowledge to help interpret the information. These types of questions often take place as questions that start with “why”, “how”, “what do you think?. . .”. For example, “What do you think will happen when Goldilocks goes to sleep in the bears bed?” or “How do you think Goldilocks felt when she saw the bears looking at her in the bed?.”
Auditory Reasoning- making meaning-based associations such as understanding how things are related by:
-Function: understanding the purpose of objects. Example: We use a saw to cut wood.
-Category: understanding how items are related based on what group they belong in. Example: fruits, toys, clothes, etc.
-Similarities and Differences: understanding meaning by comparing/contrasting. Example: A birthday cake and a cookie are similar because both are desserts but different because birthday cake is only for birthdays and cookies are for everyday.
-Attributes: understanding characteristics of objects. Example: Being able to guess what an object is after being given a description such as “it has two wheels, handlebars and you ride it” (bike).