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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Phonological Awareness: Sounds

Parents and caregivers make the difference by just modeling the importance of reading, surrounding children with books, and engaging in the learning process. By doing these simple things, children have a better chance at succeeding in school and throughout each aspect of their lives. For the next couple of weeks, we will be posting the six literacy skills and strategies you can use to practice each skill at home with your family.

Teaching Phonological Awareness

Today’s topic is PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS, or the ability to recognize the sounds that make up words:

  • Say silly tongue twisters.
  • Sing songs, read poetry and picture books, and make up silly rhymes together.
  • Point out the link between letters and sounds.
  • Play word games such as “What sounds like ran?”.

Being able to identify and recognize letter sounds is very important. Children are more likely to understand and identify words in print when they already know that letters are simply symbols that stand for a specific sound and when you put those sounds together they make up words. Making up silly, nonsense words is okay at a young age because you are helping your child determine sounds letters make. As your children get older, reading and saying tongue twisters over and over again also helps with fluency–or the ability to read easily and accurately.

Here are some great books your child will love reading:

Six Sheep Sip Thick Shakes by Brian P. Cleary
This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrdhart
Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein
Tanka Tanka Skunk! by Steve Webb