Between the ages of eighteen months and three years, children begin to understand the meaning of stories, rhymes, conversations, finger plays and songs. Typically developing children will demonstrate their understanding by responding to actions, following simple instructions, answering questions, and imitating sounds.
During this stage children also begin to understand and respond to simple one and two step instructions, like “get the ball” and “get the ball and bring it here.” Toddlers also will begin to express themselves with phrases and short sentences. “Me too” and “I do it” are common toddler phrases. Between ages 2 and 3, children add 2 to 4 new words to their vocabulary each day, name familiar objects, complete sentences of familiar books or rhymes and enjoy hearing the same book read over and over again.
During this stage of development, it can be seen that social and emotional development overlaps with language and literacy development. As children begin to pay close attention to the ideas and feelings others express, for example, they may respond verbally or non-verbally to them. If a child is crying, for example, a toddler may gently pat him on the back or ask if he’s okay, which may be reflective of his development.