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Teaching Receptive Language Skills

What are Receptive Language Skills?

Receptive language is the ability to “input” or receive language. This is gaining information about the environment around you. This can include visuals, sounds, written words, or any other form of information. We use receptive language skills at home, at work, and in the community. It is a foundational skill all students need. 

If a student is struggling with receptive language skills, they might have difficulty following instructions. You might find they don’t answer your questions and they may seem to not pay attention. Language is embedded everywhere, so if students struggle with receptive language skills, it will impact their academics as well as their life outside of school.

What Skills Does the Student Already Need to Have?

There are three main things students need to have to help develop receptive language skills. They need to be able to keep their attention on a task in order to complete it. They also need to have pre-language skills. This can include gestures, facial expressions, or any other way they communicate. Social skills are also important because they are necessary to interact with others in your environment. 

How can I work on receptive language skills?

If you are not sure where to start when working on receptive language skills, try using a product like my errorless seasonal mats. A product like this is perfect because you constantly change the instructions to continue to work on the skills. Although I designed this product to be used in an errorless format, you can easily adapt this resource to meet the needs of receptive language skills. Try telling your students to add three pumpkins to the page, or to put a purple flower next to the pink tree. This is a great way to see if your students can process instructions and pinpoint where they need help.

Another great thing about this product is that you can change the instructions with it every day. That allows for unlimited practice with receptive language skills. With 39 mats featuring scenes from all four seasons, you will have plenty of options to work on receptive language skills all year long! You can also use this product as errorless independent work. When you can make one product work for two different skills, it’s an even better value! Grab it here!

I have a couple of additional tips if you are working on receptive language with your students! Reduce and simplify your language! Give students short, concise instructions. A lot of time, we use more language than necessary and this can be difficult for students with receptive language skills to the process. Keep it short and simple. When possible, chunk instructions to make it easier to process. Incorporate visuals and try using a first/then model. If you have any more tips, be sure to let me know in the comments!

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