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Language Development:
5 years and up

  • During the early school years, the child will learn more words and start to understand how the sounds within language work together

  • The child becomes a better storyteller, as they learn to put words together in different ways and build different types of sentences

  • Children share ideas and opinions.

  • By eight years, the child will be able to have adult-like conversations.

  • At 5-8 years, children understand more about sounds and how they make words. This helps them with learning to read.

  • By the time children are five, you can understand all of what they say.

  • Children’s understanding and use of grammar is developing. Their sentences and stories become more complex too.

  • Children are learning more words all the time.

  • By five years, children know that words are made of different sounds and syllables. When they’re listening, they can identify words beginning sound – for example, ‘Mummy made magic marshmallows’.

  • They can notice words that sound the same and play rhyming games with words like ‘bat’, ‘cat’, ‘fat’, ‘hat’ and ‘mat’.

  • At 5-6 years, the child knows some or all of the sounds that go with the different letters of the alphabet.

  • They start to read by blending sounds together in combinations that make words 

  • By six years, children start to read simple stories with easy phonetic words that sound the way they’re spelled, like ‘pig’, ‘door’ or ‘ball’.

  • They start to write or copy letters of the alphabet, especially the letters for the sounds and words they’re learning.

  • By eight years, the child understands what they’re reading

  • The child can read on their own, and reading might even be one of their favourite activities.

  • By this age children can also write a simple story.

  • They can use different linking words in the right way – for example, ‘because’, ‘then’, ‘now’, ‘when’, ‘before’, ‘while’ and ‘although’

  • The child uses different sentence types to present the same information

  • Can correctly use pronouns like ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’ when they’re telling a story

  • They understand the difference between fact and theory – that is, the difference between ‘What happened?’ and ‘Why do you think … ?’

When to Seek Assistance: 

If at six years, your child:

  • is difficult to understand or isn’t speaking in full sentences

  • has trouble following two-step directions, like ‘Please put your pyjamas on your bed after you’ve put your clothes on’

  • has stopped using a language skill they once had.

If at eight years, your child:

  • has a stutter or lisp when talking

  • has difficulty following instructions

  • has stopped using a language skill they once had.

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