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Language Development:
From 4-6 Years

Language development is a process that starts early in your childs' life.

Language Development: From 4-6 Years

He begins to acquire language by learning from you and mimicking as you speak.

His language development moves from simplicity to complexity as he grows.

His language usually starts off as recall of simple words without associated meaning, but as he age, words acquire meaning, and connections between words are formed.

In time, sentences start to form as he join words together to create logical meaning.

As he grows older, new meanings and new associations are created and vocabulary increases as more words are learned during his language development age.

Language Development... 4 Years

At four years...
  • He imitates your speech patterns accurately... e.g. ‘We liked that, didn’t we?’.
  • His speech is understood by strangers.
  • His sentences contain four or more words and are grammatical.
  • His vocabulary is large for e.g. knowing parts of his body, names of household objects, animals etc.
  • He still make errors especially when he uses past sentences for example he may say 'I taked it'.
  • He knows and understand nursery rhymes.
  • He always enjoys asking questions.
  • He develops and refine his language and make fewer mistakes.
  • He talks fluently and can repeat nursery rhymes and songs with very few errors.

Your Role To Developing Your 4 Year Old Child's Language

Your child is keen to talk and communicate, although he may start to stutter a bit. Allow him enough time to think and answer. He must be patient, as he often enjoys repeating questions and asking for stories and rhymes over and over.

Help him with his pronunciation and grammar by using the same words but correctly for e.g he might say 'I felled down'... and you can correct him with... 'You fell down did you? Shall I look at your knee?'.

He might often practice his language development skills by playing in an imaginative way. Encourage him by providing dressing-up equipment, home corners and small world toys e.g. play Mobil, train sets etc.

Language Development... 5 Years

At five years...
  • His vocabulary is about 5000 words.
  • He uses complex sentences correctly.
  • He enjoys telling and hearing jokes.
  • He understands that language can be written with symbols.
  • He can give his full name, age and address and often his birthday.
  • He is interested in reading and writing.
  • He recognises his name and attempts to write it.
  • He talks about the past, present and future, with a good sense of time.
  • He is fluent in his speech and grammatically correct.
  • He loves to be read stories and will then act out in detail later, either alone or with friends.
  • He enjoys jokes and riddles.

Your Role To Developing Your 5 Year Old Child’s Language

Your 5 year old child is becoming quiet fluent in his speech. You need to extend his vocabulary and help him use language as a way of thinking. Use open questions when working with him. This means asking questions where he has to give more than a one-word answer... for e.g. 'Why do you think the ice melted?'.

He also need to learn the skills of listening and this means that you must be a good role model by listening to him. You can also plan activities that will encourage his listening skills... for e.g. musical games, activities that will need him to follow instructions etc.

It is common for him to use words he has heard without understanding its meaning... e.g. swear words. You need to explain to him that some words are not appropriate to use.

Language Development... 6 Years

At six years...
  • Can pronounce the majority of sounds of his own language.
  • Talks fluently and with confidence.
  • Can remember and repeat nursery rhymes and songs.
  • Is steadily developing literacy skills... reading and writing... although his ability to read independently usually begins between 7 and 9 years of age.
  • Will start to read for himself, although he will still want you to read him poems and stories.
  • When you read a lot, he will will develop the reading habit as well.

Your Role To Developing Your 6 Year Old Child's Language

From the age of six your child will start to read for himself, although he will still need stories and poems read to him and most importantly he will develop a reading habit if you read while he’s with you.

How To Communicate With Your Child

Warm, loving communication between you and your child enables him to build a sense of identity...
  • Make eye contact.
  • Smile and look patient.
  • Allow him time to think about what he wants to say.
  • Do not finish sentences for him.
  • Do not interrupt to hurry him along.
  • Listen to what he's saying.
  • Correct his grammar by echoing back sentences correctly.
  • Ask him open question for e.g. 'What are you doing?' rather than closed questions, which can be answered with only one word e.g. 'Are you enjoying that?'.
  • Always speak clearly and correctly to him as he usually picks up words you speak to him.

Activities That Encourages Your Child’s Use Of Descriptive Language

  • Feely bags
  • Interest table
  • Displays
  • Games where you have to decide a hidden object for him to guess
  • Tasting games
  • Pictures or photographs.

Games and Activities To Help Your Child's Language Skills

Musical activities

Through musical activities he can be given a sense of his own cultural identity as well as exploring that of others.

Movement And dance

Helps him gain confidence and co-ordination in his movements and helps him express his creativity by using his body during dancing.

Painting And drawing

Encourages his creativity and imagination. Exploration of materials expands his knowledge of colour and shapes and helps him understand spatial relationship and composition.

Using Fabrics

Fabrics from different countries and cultures should be shown to him so that he can see different styles and colours from different cultures... for e.g. Batik cloths from Africa or painted silks from Asia.


Modelling materials such as plasticine, clay, dough etc. has different materials so he needs to experience as many of them as possible.

Imaginative Play

Through imaginative play he practices and comes to terms with different aspects of daily life. It develops self-expression as well as giving him the opportunity to explore his experiences.

Songs And Rhymes

Helps him build up repertoire of rhymes.

Books to Develop Your Child's Language Skills

  • Picture books
  • Feely books
  • Factual books
  • Pop up books
  • Poetry and rhymes
  • Joke books

See Also...

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