Language Skills For a Five Year Old

Try the checklist below for your child:

BY 60 MONTHS, can you child:

  • Use a variety of sentences with 6 or more words
  • Has a vocabulary of 2000 or more words
  • Uses most speech sounds correctly (exceptions: th, r, r blends)
  • Is 90-100% intelligible to all listeners
  • Can describe objects and carry a plot when telling a story
  • Asks questions to get more information
  • Can follow multi-step directions without repetition

Language skills are important for a child to be able to express their wants and needs.  Confidence is heavily influenced by a child’s ability to interact socially with their peer group.  If a child struggles to find words or pronounce words, he/she may shy away from interaction with friends or  express their opinion less in a group.

How can you help?  Read books to and with your child.  Name everything in their world.  Increase the words your child knows by being as specific as possible.  For example, do not call all shoes shoes.  There are boots, flip flops, sandals, heels, slippers and many more ways to describe footwear.

Use adjectives and adverbs when talking to your child and encourage them to do the same.  For example, “the tree” could be said “the big, green tree with the gnarly branches”.

Ask questions that require your child to give you more details.  The questions will require your child to think of details and words to describe what he/she wants to say.  For example, “what was the boy wearing?” or “what happened at the party?”.

Do not correct your child when they pronounce something wrong.  Just restate what they said modelling the correct pronunciation.

Make sure to allow your child to have their own voice.  Do not speak for them or the will not have the opportunity for others to understand them.

Be sure to challenge your child with multiple step directions and require they listen and follow the steps.

Remember to praise success!  Keep encouraging your child to try and try again.  You do not want your child to be afraid to fail.  So keep encouraging.

If you try encouraging the above skills with your child for a couple months without success, ask your pediatrician for help.  Speech therapists at love to encourage speech and language in children and teach parents to do the same.


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Developmental Checklist

Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?