Typical Speech and Language Development
 

 

 

 

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Kindergartners

Students in Grades

1 & 2

Students in Grades

3, 4, & 5

Comprehends about 2500-2800 words
Comprehends about 13,000 words
Comprehends about 20,000 to 40,000 words
Uses about 1500-2000 words
Can be understood 95-100% of the time

Formulates

descriptions of events that are increasingly more precise

Can be understood about 90% (0r more) of the time
Uses adult-like grammar and word order in their oral language
Understands and produces simple figurative language, including similes, metaphors, and idioms (i.e. Its raining cats and dogs; She eats like a bird; We’ll play it by ear.)
Engages in extended conversations using multiword sentences (5-8 words); a few grammar errors persist (i.e. I breaked it.)
Has learned the ‘rules’ of conversational etiquette (i.e. Excuse me, etc.)
Appreciates the humor in jokes that rely on words with multiple meanings.
Can talk about what happened yesterday or what may occur tomorrow.
Initiates and sustains conversations over multiple turns (5 or more) with 2 or more partners (i.e. recess or cooperative group exchanges)

Are conversationally competent; uses language to manipulate the behaviors, feelings and attitudes of other people; can transition from one topic to a related or new topic with ease.

Can handle conversations involving 2 partners, but struggles with 3-party interactions

Produces stories that ‘center’ around a theme and contain a logical chain of events

Adjusts vocabulary and modifies language style (i.e. rate of speech or complexity of message) to accommodate listeners of varying ages, backgrounds and genders
Relates simple stories about their personal experiences from the recent past (i.e. an illness); however, their stories lack detail and do not take into account the listener’s need for background information
Becomes more explicit in their language when they perceive that the listener is not understanding
Discusses abstract concepts and ideas that are not within their personal experience (i.e. how blood circulated through the chambers of the heart)
Uses subtle and various ways of requesting (i.e. I just love orange juice.)
Follows spoken and unspoken rules about communication and behavior in school, including when to talk, when not to talk, and how to speak to peers Vs. adults
Uses language to learn about the world (i.e. Why can I hear my voice when I put my hands over my ears?)

 

 
adapted from:  Nurses Checklist  - by Donna D. Merritt, PH.D., CC http://www.ctserc.org/initiatives/isss/nursing-checklist.shtml