Communication and Expression

Language Development

Social Rules of Language

Goal 1: Young children initiate and maintain conversations with others while developing knowledge and use of the social rules of language.

By the end of each age group or grade level, most children will have met prior age group or grade level standards in this domain.

Infants Through Older Toddlers


(0-12 Months)

  1. Initiate and engage in simple turn taking interactions with others by using gestures, vocalizations, or facial expressions
  2. Respond differently to different tones of voice and facial expressions
  3. Use appropriate eye contact and engage in joint attention

Young Toddlers

(9-18 Months)

  1. Watch for signs of being understood by others and repeat efforts if not initially successful
  2. Continue to initiate and engage in communications with others through gestures, words, and facial expressions

Older Toddlers

(18-36 Months)

  1. Ask “why” questions to gain information
  2. Use pauses and simple prompts to maintain a conversation
Younger Preschoolers Through Kindergartners

Younger Preschoolers

(36-48 months)

  1. Use nonverbal cues during conversations according to personal cultural norms (e.g., eye contact, physical distance from conversational partner)
  2. Engage in brief conversations and stay on topic
  3. Use culturally acceptable social rules when communicating with others (e.g., vocal tone and volume, turn taking)

Older Preschoolers

(48-60 months)

  1. Listen and respond on topic during longer conversations with others and in group discussions
  2. Use simpler language when talking with younger children
  3. Initiate conversations with others and maintain topic of conversation 2-4 turns
  4. If misunderstood may simply repeat the same sentence rather than trying a different way of conveying the message


  1. No standards in this age group for this Element.
First Graders Through Third Graders

First Graders

  1. No standards in this age group for this Element.

Second Graders

  1. No standards in this age group for this Element.

Third Graders

  1. No standards in this age group for this Element.

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

Web and Document Accessibility Policy​
Public Records Requests

(802) 479-1030 |
Staff Directory | Division Phone Numbers