There are a huge amount of language milestones of children from infancy and throughout their lives. As your baby grows, you can expect that, in general, he will meet certain language milestones, which help your child get ready to read and write. Here are some of the important language milestones that you can expect your child to reach by age from ReadingRocket and how to support them in reaching them.
Language Milestones of Children – Babies
For babies, or children in their first year of life, communication and language skills begin to develop rapidly. They cry and make some noises with their throats to communicate what they want and to begin to try out the different possibilities of sounds they can make. They also start to babble and say words like things like, “mama” and “dada.”
They begin to name a few people and objects that are familiar to them. They like to hear silly language and rhyming words, which is why you may read the same book with rhymes over and over again to them. As examples of what babies can do with language, newborns to three month-olds can tell speech from other sounds, and three to six-month-olds may copy sounds and movements, according to SesameStreetinCommunities. A six to nine-month-old may clap and use their bodies to speak with others and be able to say the names of things and people.
Infants need people to talk to them. They hear the sounds of language and begin to make them themselves. They want to hear someone respond to the sounds they make, which is the basis of communication: make a sound, and someone responds.
Language Milestones of Children One to Three
The language milestones of children occur at all different ages, no two children are alike. When a child turns one, they are considered toddlers through the age of three. They like to imitate the sounds of others. So be careful what you say! They also like to perform actions of others that interest them. If you’re often reading, you can expect that your toddler may also want to do the same thing.
Remember, at this age, their attention spans are short, so you may need to adjust the text of some books by just talking about the pictures as you turn the page or telling the story in your own words.
Their vocabularies increase dramatically during this time as well, from maybe two or three words to about 250. They also begin to understand more of what you say to them. By their third birthdays, they have a vocabulary of about 1,000 words. At this stage, they also learn how to put together 2- to 4-word sentences, and pay attention to print. They may like to see their names written and start to count, choose favorite books to hear you read, understand the difference between drawing and writing, and start to scribble marks like letters.
SesameStreetinCommunities notes that two-year-olds may also “point to things or pictures when they are names” and three-year-olds may complete a sentence or rhyme in a story they like and know the first letter of their name by sight.
Children between one and two years old need chances to practice and grow their language skills, learn about numbers and letters, and about books and writing. Two and three-year-old children need to talk, sing, and otherwise develop their language skills. They also need chances to learn about printed language and books, about the world by going different places, and to learn the vocabulary related to those places, such as animals at the zoo.
Language Milestones of Children in Preschool
Between ages three and four, children recognize their numbers, like silly jokes, use new words, and make longer sentences. They recognize rhyming sounds in words and may try to read. They also see print around them in signs or on logos. They know that alphabet letters have names and can identify at least 10 of them, especially those in their names. They may also “write,” or scribble messages.
Four and five-year-olds know their numbers through ten and can write them. They like rhymes and jokes and know colors, shapes, numbers, and words important for daily life, such as their address. They know how to hold books, and that print is read from left to right and top to bottom. Additionally, they know the names of all letters of the alphabet and the sounds of some of them. They can also write some letters, especially those in their names.
Three and four-year-old children need opportunities to participate in read-aloud activities (answering questions, talking about characters and pictures, for example), explore the alphabet and the written word, and to write messages. Four and five-year-olds want chances to increase their language skills by speaking and writing and to observe that writing and reading are fun to do and how they are useful (using a book to find information). Reading to your child, reinforcing letter sounds, having them connect pictures to words, etc. are so important at this age.
There are language milestones of children in all stages of their lives, but every child grows at their own pace. Your child may not meet all of these milestones at the same time as other kids. They also don’t stop doing one milestone just because they are older. These are guidelines of development, not hard and fast rules. HealthyChildren.org notes, “For some children, this language-development process does not run smoothly. In fact, about one in every ten to fifteen children has trouble with language comprehension and/or speech.” If you have questions about your child’s development speak to their teacher and/or your pediatrician.
You can check out the SesameStreetinCommunities website for information on activities you can do to help your child’s language development. And for ways to prepare your child for kindergarten, click here.
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