Some general guidelines.

Normal speech and language development

  • Responds to voice and sound
  • Coos (oo, ahh…)
  • Smiles
  • Different crying sounds to represent needs
  • Responds to ‘no’ and their name
  • Uses some appropriate gestures such as
 waving ‘bye bye’
  • Babbles (e.g. baa, muu, dee)
  • More complex babbles 
(e.g. ‘ma ma bee bee’)
  • Copies gestures and sounds
 (e.g. claps ‘woof woof’)
  • Starts to use nonsense words to label important things in their world
  • First words may emerge
  • Points and pulls towards items to get attention
  • Begins to use a variety of single words 
such as:
  • More, no, yes, ball, go, juice
  • Continues to talk using ‘nonsense’ words
  • Begins to put two words together in various combinations such as:
    • ‘Big drink’
    • ‘Drink milk’
    • ‘My drink’
  • By two years of age your child should consistently be using 50 words independently
  • Understands simple questions and instructions
  • A huge explosion of language occurs during this time. Vocabulary expands from around
 50 words at two years of age to 1200 words by three years
  • Short sentences will start to form and some grammatical features will begin to develop e.g. ‘ride bike’ may change to ‘riding bike’
  • Begins to understand simple two part instructions, most common words and routine based activities
  • From 3-4 years many more grammatical structures begin to appear in sentences
  • The meanings of most sentences are clear
  • Some common grammatical features are:
    • use of past tense (e.g. talked)
    • use of articles such as ‘a’ and ‘the’
(e.g. The ball is red)
    • use of pronouns such as ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’ (e.g. He is running)
  • This is the time where children will ask lots of questions and can answer ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ questions such as: “what does a fireman do?”
  • Following more complex instructions should not be too difficult  (e.g. “put your shoes under the bed and then grab your blue bag”)
  • By now speech and language should be resembling adult forms;
    • Sentences should be mostly grammatically correct
    • They can answer all wh- questions
    • They should have a large vocabulary to express various ideas, wants and needs
    • They can recount past experiences and hold a conversation

What if my child speaks more than one language?

It’s not a disadvantage to speak more than one language! There are normal differences that must be accounted for. If you are concerned, consult a speech therapist who can provide information about those normal differences and help determine the need for intervention.

Literacy development

  • Can rhyme and clap syllables
  • Can blend together words with 3 sounds
 (e.g. d-i-g → dig)
  • Can read and spell most single sounds 
(e.g. m, b, t, a)
  • Can read and spell ALL single sounds quickly (1 sound/second)
  • Starting to learn and recognise digraphs
 (e.g. th, sh, ee)
  • Can blend together words with 4 sounds
 (e.g. b-r-i-ck → brick)
  • Can segment words with 4 sounds 
(e.g. what are the sounds in ‘spot’?)
  • Can read simple text with fluency and attempt to write simple sentences 
(e.g. My black dog ate a frog)
  • Will attempt to write unknown words phonetically (e.g. cheese as ‘cheaz’)
  • Reading continues to increase in fluency and accuracy and they should be reading for pleasure outside of school 
(e.g. early chapter books)
  • They will making more accurate sound and letter choices for spelling
  • Writing a page of text in one go, is easily achieved