Language Development in Children Ages 4 and 5

A more detailed understanding of your 4 to 5 year old child's language development can aid you in providing him with adequate education in math or reading. It can also help you identify deficiencies and take steps to filling skill gaps.

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Children develop language right from the start and they acquire new skills all the time. It's easy to watch it develop, but a more detailed understanding of what's going on can be helpful. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from the language development of kids ages 4 and 5.

Age 4

A child of 4 years knows names of familiar animals and can use at least four prepositions correctly. He can name common objects in picture books or magazines and can identify colors by sight without prompting. A 4 year old should be able to repeat up to 4 numbers when they are given to him slowly and clearly. He can manage 4 syllable words, know the difference between some antonyms, like over and under, and clearly articulates vowel sounds. A healthy 4 year old plays make-believe often and can be very verbal as he plays or carries out activities. He comprehends concepts like bigger or smaller when presented with the contrast and tends to repeat words, phrases and syllables.

Age 5

A five year old can use many descriptive words (both adjectives and adverbs)

at the same time. He knows the difference between common opposites such as big and little, hard and soft, heave and light, etc. He grasps number concepts as high as four and can count to ten. By 5 years, everything a child says should be intelligible even if not perfectly articulated. He can produce all vowel sounds and consonant sounds for m,p,b,h,w,k,g,t,d,n, and y. He can repeat sentences as long as nine words and can define common objects by describing what they are for. A five year old has a rudimentary grasp of time concepts, like morning, afternoon, night, day, later or after, as well as tomorrow, yesterday and today. He can use fairly long sentences and should be able to form some compound or complex sentences. Not only should everything he says be intelligible to the listener, but should for the most part be grammatically correct.

As children develop language skills they become better equipped to explore their world, gather information through asking questions and make observations. A comfort and familiarity with words from an early age, as well as an understanding of the value and usefulness of language will give a child a mental edge and a positive attitude about school, especially in subjects like reading and math.

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