What is prep readiness?

When we talk about prep readiness, we are referring to skills that are important for a child to have in order to be ready to start school. These can include physical skills, self care, attention, basic academic skills, emotional regulation, social skills, speech skills and language skills. Today, we are focusing on the speech and language skills that are important for prep readiness.

A child’s readiness for school is important because it can be a predictor of academic and overall longterm success.

Signs a child might have difficulties with speech and language prep readiness skills:

  • Difficulty interacting with peers
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Difficulty expressing themselves 
  • Reduced play skills

What can happen if a child is not ready?

If a child does not have the speech and language skills needed for prep readiness, the child can fall behind quickly. They might start to dislike school and learning, which can also lead to difficult behaviours in the classroom. They may have difficulty making friends and following directions given by the teachers. 

What speech skills are important for prep readiness?

By the time a child is starting prep, adults should typically be able to understand about 100% of what the child says. They should be able to pronounce almost all of their sounds. They could still have a few developmental errors, such as replacing “r” with “w” (ex. “wock” for “rock”) or replacing “th” with “f” (ex. “fink” for “think”). Even with these errors, people should typically be able to understand the child.

What language skills are important for prep readiness?

To be ready for school, children need certain receptive language skills (understanding) and expressive language skills (expressing themselves), including the following:

  • Understanding and answering WH questions (who, what, where, when, why, how)
  • Understanding prepositions (on, in, under, over, beside)
  • Being able to tell a basic story
  • Following two or three-step directions
  • Using full sentences (at least 5-6 words)
  • Understanding basic concepts (time, location, number, describing, emotions)
  • Identifying and labelling object functions
  • Using a large vocabulary (Children should have a spoken vocabulary of 2000 words at age 4 and 5000+ words at age 5.)

What can parents do to help? 

Here are a few tips that parents can use to build prep readiness skills in daily activities:

  • Read to the child daily
  • Model correct sentences and grammar, and expand on what the child says
  • Give your child 2-3 step directions in daily routines
  • Talk to your child about the names of things you see in books, outside, at dinner and in daily activities to improve their vocabulary.

If a child does need help in these areas to be ready for prep, the earlier they get the help they need the better. By being more prepared to start school, this will help the child to enjoy learning and be more successful longterm. If you are concerned about any of these areas for your child, reach out to our team at Active Speech Pathology and we will be happy to help!