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Language Development


 To understand how to build pre-reading experience in children, it is important to understand the various stages of language development. In this way, teachers and parents are able to best provide children with appropriate stimulating activities. 

The following chart presents an overview of alignment between a child’s age and observable language-related activities. 

 Birthto1 year

Vocalizing with intonation

Responding to his/her name

Responding when spoken to

Moving eyes in direction of sounds

Responding to changes in tone of your voice

Noticing toys that make sounds

Using one or more words with meaning (this may be a fragment of a word

)Understanding simple instructions, especially if vocal or physical cues are given

Practicing inflection

Being aware of the social value of speechHaving one or two words (hi, dog, dada, mama) around first birthday, although sounds may not be clear

Recognizing words for common items like "cup", "shoe", "book", or "juice"

Beginning to respond to requests (e.g. "Come here" or "Want more?")

Babbling with both long and short groups of sounds

Using speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention

Using gestures tp communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up

)Imitating different speech sounds

Enjoying games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake

Turning and looking in the direction of sounds

1 - 2years

 Using pronouns (I, you, me) correctly 

Using some plural and past tense words

Knowing at least three prepositions(in, on, under)

Knowing chief parts of bodyHandling three word sentences easily

Having in the neighborhood of 900-1000 word

Speaking in an intelligible manner (90%)

Starting to use verbs predominantly

Understanding most simple questions dealing with environment and activities

Relating experiences so that they can be followed with reason

Answering reasoning questions such as "What must you do when you are sleepy, hungry, cold, or thirsty?"

Being able to give gender, name, ageUnderstanding what is expected even when unable to answer all questions

Understanding differences in meaning ("go" vs "stop," "in" vs "on," "big" vs "little," "up" vs "down").

Following sets of two requests ("Get the book and put it on the table")

Listening to and enjoying hearing stories for longer periods of time

Having a word for almost everything

Using two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.

Using k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds

Being understood by familiar listener

Naming objects

 3 - 4years

Knowing the names of familiar animals

Using at least four preposition

Demonstrating understanding of preposition meaning when given commands

Naming common objects in picture books or magazines

Knowing one or more colors

Repeating up to 4 syllables or digits

Demonstrating understanding of opposites like "over" and "under"

Grasping vowels and diphthongs and the consonants p, b, m, w, n

Enjoying make-believeUsing extensive verbalization during activities

Repeating words, phrases, syllables, and sounds frequently

Responding when called from another room

Answering simple "who?", "what?", "where?", and "why?" questions

Talking about activities at school or at friends' homes

Speaking in a way that can be understood by people outside of the family

Using sentences that contain 4 or more words

Understanding concepts such as "longer" or "larger," when a contrast is presented

Following simple commands without visual prompts 

4 - 5years

Using many descriptive words spontaneously (adjectives and adverbs)

Knowing common opposites: "big" vs "little", "hard" vs "soft", "heavy" vs "light"

Mastering number concepts of 4 or moreCounting to ten

Speaking in an intelligible manner with or without some articulation problems

Grasping vowels and the consonants, m,p,b,h,w,k,g,t,d,n,ng,

yRepeating sentences as long as nine wordsDefining common objects in terms of useKnowing his/her age

Understanding simple time concepts such as: morning, afternoon, night, day, later, after, while, tomorrow, yesterday, today

Using long sentences, including some compound and complex sentencesS

peaking with overall correct gramma

Paying attention to a short story and answering simple questions about it

Understanding most of what is said at home and in schoo

lUsing sentences that give lots of details

Telling stories focused on a topicCommunicating easily with others

Articulating most sounds correctly (except sometimes: l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th)

Following three consecutive commands given without interruptions5 - 6 years

Mastering sounds: f, v, sh, zh, th

Mastering number concepts up to 7

Speaking in a way that is completely intelligible and socially useful

Telling a story about a picture

Seeing relationships between objects and events

Recognizing and reproducing many shapes, letters, and numbers

Controlling writing and drawing tools

Understanding the relationship between writing and spoken words

Using invented spellingDictating stories for others to write 

 6 - 7 year

Mastering the consonants s-z, r, voiceless th, ch, wh, 

Handling opposite analogies easily: "girl" vs "boy", "man" vs "woman", "short" vs "long", "sweet" vs "sour"

Understanding concepts such as: alike, different, beginning, endTelling time to the quarter hour

Doing simple reading (ex: reading 10 printed sight words)Writing or printing many words 

Comprehending 20,000 to 26,000 words 

Understanding time intervals in a general manner, as well as the seasons of the year and related concepts

Printing numbers and own full name with no model 

Putting numerals 1-10 in proper sequential orderWriting one-syllable words related to sight vocabulary

Stating preceding and following numbers and days of the week 

Being aware of mistakes in other people’s speech

Telling address, both street and numberReciting the alphabet sequentially

Rote counting to 100Telling time related to a specific daily schedule

Spending hours at one activity (for example: mania for games, funny books

)Playing alone more effectively than at 6 years 

Planning actions 

Beginning to invent and designEnjoying table and board games

Dramatizing experiences and storiesUsing most parts of speech consistently

Developing the use of “if” and “so”

Developing reflexive pronounsUsing irregular comparatives correctly (good, better, best

Using nominalization (noun forms are developed from verb forms)

Improving use of irregular plurals

Using passive voice

Developing true narratives (well-developed plot and character with sequenced events) 

 7 - 8 years

Relating accounts of events, which occurred in the past

Using complex and compound sentences easily

Demonstrating a few lapses in grammatical constructions-tense, pronouns, plurals

Using all speech sounds, including consonant blend

Reading with considerable ease and now writing simple compositions

Following a fairly complex directions with little repetition

Having developed time and number concepts very well