Between 1 and 2 years:

  • Says more words every month.
  • Uses some one- or two- word questions ("Where kitty?" "Go bye-bye?" "What's that?").
  • Puts two words together ("more cookie," "no juice," "mommy book").
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

Between 2 and 3 years

  • Can be understood by family and/or caregivers most of the time.
  • Correctly produces vowels and such sounds as p, m, h (by age 2), and b, d, n, w (by age 2 1/2) in words. 
  • Repeats when not understood without becoming frustrated 
  • Has a word for almost everything.
  • Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.
  • Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them.
  • Asks why?
  • May stutter on words or sounds

Between 3 and 4 years

  • Be understood by individuals with whom they do not associate regularly 
  • Be understood by family and/or caregivers.
  • Can correctly produce g, k, t (by age 3), and f (by age 3 1/2) in words. 
  • Be asked to repeat without becoming sensitive 

Between 4 and 5 years:

  • Can correctly produce "ing" (by age 4), and ch, l, s, sh, j, and z (by age 5), and r and v (by age 5 1/2) in words. . 
  • May make mistakes on sounds that are harder to say, like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th in words. 
  • Be understood in all situations by most listeners 
  • Be asked to repeat without exhibiting frustration 

Between 6 and 7

  • Can correctly produce consonant blends (e.g. gl, kl, sp, st), and both the voiced "th" ("thank you") and voiceless "th" ("teeth") in words. 

*based on the ages when 90% of sample children have acquired the sound - adapted from the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation 2 and the Clinical Assessment of Articulation and Phonology.  

**This information should be used as a reference, not as a definitive means of determining if speech services are warranted. If your child is difficult to understand or is experiencing challenges with pronunciation of sounds, please contact us for a free screening.  

LANGUAGE and literacy

Between 1 and 2 years:

  • Points to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball," "Kiss the baby," "Where's your shoe?").
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when named.

Between 2 and 3 years:

  • Understands differences in meaning ("go-stop," "in-on," "big-little," "up-down").
  • Follows two requests ("Get the book and put it on the table").
  • Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time

Between 3 and 4 years:

  • Talks about activities at school or at friends' homes.
  • Talks about what happened during the day. Uses about 4 sentences at a time.
  • Answers simple "who?", "what?", and "where?" questions.
  • Asks when and how questions.
  • Says rhyming words, like hat-cat
  • Uses pronouns, like I, you, me, we, and they
  • Uses some plural words, like toys, birds, and buses
  • Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.
  • Enjoy listening to and talking about storybooks 
  • Understand that print carries a message
  • Make attempts to read and write 
  • Identify familiar signs and labels 
  • Identify some letters and make some letter-sound matches 
  • Use known letters (or their best attempt to write the letters) to represent written language especially for meaningful words like their names or phrases such as "I love you"

Between 4 and 5 years:

  • Understands words for order, like first, next, and last.
  • Understands words for time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
  • Follows longer directions, like "Put your pajamas on, brush your teeth, and then pick out a book."
  • Follows classroom directions, like "Draw a circle on your paper around something you eat.
  • Talks without repeating sounds or words most of the time.
  • Tells a short story.
  • Keeps a conversation going.
  • Talks in different ways depending on the listener and place. May use short sentences with younger children or talk louder outside than inside.
  • Sound like they are reading when pretending to read 
  • Enjoy being read to and retell simple stories 
  • Recognize letters and letter-sound matches 
  • Show familiarity with rhyming and beginning sounds 
  • Understand that print is read left-to-right and top-to-bottom 
  • Begin to write letters of the alphabet and some words they use and hear often 
  • Begin to write stories with some readable parts

By age 6 (or first grade)

  • Read and retell familiar stories
  • Use a variety of ways to help with reading a story such as re-reading, predicting what will happen, asking questions, or using visual cues or pictures 
  • Decide on their own to use reading and writing for different purposes 
  • Read some things aloud with ease 
  • Identify new words by using letter-sound matches, parts of words, and their understanding of the rest of a story or printed item 
  • Identify an increasing number of words by sight
  • Sound out and represent major sounds in a word when trying to spell 
  • Write about topics that mean a lot to them 
  • Try to use some punctuation and capitalization