Wait and allow the child time to start the conversation.
Follow the child’s lead to talk about what they are interested in.
Give children thinking time. Wait for them to think about what they want to say and put their thoughts into words, without jumping in too soon to say something yourself.
In conversations and playful encounters with children, model language a step beyond the child’s language use.
Use the child’s voicing/speech attempts to lead play and encounters.
For children learning English as an additional language, value non-verbal communications and those offered in home languages.
Without comment, observe and then mirror a child’s interesting movement or series of movements. This might lead to a nonverbal “serve and return” movement dialogue, with the child leading the “conversation”. This can be very powerful with reluctant speakers or children not yet ready to use English.
Add words to what children say, e.g. child says Brush dolly hair, you say Yes, Lucy is brushing dolly’s hair.
Talk with children to make links between their body language and words, e.g. Your face does look cross. Has something upset you?
Introduce new words in the context of play and activities.
Use a lot of statements and comments and fewer questions to build natural conversation. When you do ask a question, use an open question with many possible answers.
Show interest in the words children use to communicate and describe their experiences.
Expand on what children say by repeating it and adding a few more words, helping children use more complex sentences.
Use lively intonation and animated expression when speaking with children and reading texts.
Talk to the child about family life, stories from home. Involve families in this.