Language Development

  • Every child acquires their language skills at a different pace, however, there are specific guidelines as to what typically developing language looks like.  Below are some general guidelines to language development.


    At age 5, your child:

    • defines objects by their use (i.e. You eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of.
    • knows spatial relations like "on top," "behind," "far" and "near."
    • knows his/her address.
    • identifies a penny, nickel and dime.
    • is able to produce a sentence 5-6 words long.
    • has a vocabulary of around 2000 words.
    • knows common opposites like big/little and hard/soft.
    • understands "same" and "different."
    • counts ten objects.
    • carries a plot in a story.
    • uses future, present and past tense.
    • stays with one activity for 12-13 minutes.
    • questions for information.
    • distinguishes left and right hand in himself but not in others.
    • uses all types of sentences, some of which will be complex, for example "I can go in the house after I take off my muddy shoes."


    At age 6, your child:

    • uses adult-like grammar in sentences and conversations.
    • understands the meanings of most sentences.
    • names days of week in order and counts to 30.
    • predicts the next sequence of events and tells a 4 to 5 part story.
    • tells month and day of birth, name and address, left and right.
    • knows most opposites and the meaning of through, away, toward, and from.
    • knows the meaning of today, yesterday, and tomorrow.
    • asks lots of why, what, and how questions.
    • follows 3 step commands.


    At age 7, your child:

    • speaks in 7-8 word sentences on a regular basis.
    • comprehends and uses the words "because," have," and "had."
    • able to utilize a variety of adjectives as well as irregular comparatives (i.e. good, better, best).
    • is able to manipulate sounds units to rhyme or produce stems of words.
    • recognizes unacceptable sounds sequences.
    • uses and understands most spacial or temporal location terms.
    • continues to develop the use of irregular plurals (i.e. child= children; mouse= mice, etc.)
    • Understand and uses opposites easily
    • Can tell time to the quarter hour


    At age 8, your child:

    • is able to carry on an "adult-like" conversation.
    • exhibits few grammatical errors during conversational speech.
    • easily uses compound and complex sentences
    • follows multi-step directions with little repetition
    • able to use passive verbs.
    • begins to consider others intentions.
    • becomes interested in reading books. For some children, it is a favorite activity.
    • are still working on spelling and grammar in their written work. This aspect of language development is not as advanced as oral speech.


    At age 9, your child:

    • comprehends and uses words like "tell" and "promise."
    • able to sustain a topic through several conversational terms. 
    • understand that objects have uses and can be classified into different categories. For example, they recognize that a carrot is something to eat and is a type of vegetable.
    • can read and understand longer sentences up to 12 words.
    • can add and subtract 2-digit numbers, understand fractions, and are learning how to borrow and carry values.
    • like organization and planning, such as making plans ahead of time with friends.
    • think independently. Most children are improving their decision-making skills.
    • often read with a goal of learning about something of interest.
    • have speech patterns that are nearly at an adult level.


    At age 10, your child:

    • can follow a 5 step direction.
    • enjoy reading and may seek out magazines and books on subjects of special interest.
    • can converse easily with people of all different ages.
    • have speech patterns that are nearly at an adult level.
    • can read and understand a paragraph of complex sentences.


    *Some of the information from this page came from