2. You can gather lots of information from a language sample. How long are their sentences? How often do they speak? What kinds of vocabulary do they use or don’t use? What kinds of pragmatic functions do they use? How is their turn taking? How is their grammar? Do they stay on topic? These are just a few of the many many ways to use a language sample. For the form I use, click here.
3. A language sample can help assess a child’s articulation skills. Again you can obtain a more complete picture of a child’s pronunciation. It can help you figure when children have trouble pronouncing certain sounds/words, in what context. How is their pronunciation beyond the sentence level?
4. Language samples can help you measure progress over time. I’m lucky. I get to see the children I serve over an extended period of time. It’s fun to sit down with parents and compare their child’s language samples. It is concrete evidence of their child’s progress. It can also help parents see the areas where their child needs to focus. I find that parents are more open to working on these areas of weakness and implementing strategies that I recommend.
Now I’m not saying to rely solely on language samples but that they serve an important function in your assessment tool belt and should be incorporated as much as possible in your assessment plan.