Speech Development

Let me preface this post by saying I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have a background in speech therapy or speech development. I do, however, know speech therapists and have done some research. Therefore, I hope you will find today’s post as a starting point to learning more information. If you have more questions or would like to know more information, please check with your child’s pediatrician or contact your local school district.

In the chart below, you will find a general guide depicting when children typically master each of the letter sounds. Keep in mind, though, every child is different and develops in his or her own time.

speech chart

You will notice that boys and girls develop sound articulation at various times during early development. In general, about 50% of children have the sounds mastered by the beginning of the line at each age and about 90% of children have it mastered by the end of the line.

Take a look at the chart…you’ll notice that some sounds aren’t learned until almost 8 years old, and for some children, it takes several years to master sounds like “ing,” “r,” or “z.” To help children practice letter sounds and identify them, it is important to speak clearly to them. Baby talk is cute (words like lellow, skissors, or pasghetti), but they don’t help children articulate and learn letter sounds. Point to letters and words as you read them in books and ask your child to repeat you.

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Book Review: Red Hat

red hatRed Hat by Lita Judge is one of my favorite (almost) wordless picture books. It’s a story about forest animals who find a knitted red hat and play with it all day long. Eventually, the hat becomes unraveled. The animals put the hat (or string) back where they found it and hide unsure what the owner might do. The owner of the hat finds the string and realizes what has happened. She ends up knitting hats for all of the animals.

The only words in the book are sounds like “wooo” and “swish swash.” The watercolor illustrations are beautifully done. And fans of Lita Judge may recognize the hat from Red Sled.

Making up the story to go with the illustrations is a great reason to read wordless picture books with your children. While the pictures dictate what will happen in the story, children can make up the words to go with the pictures by using creativity and prior knowledge–two topics that are very important when it comes to comprehension and storytelling.