It’s September and your child is starting  kindergarten.  You are excited and anxious but most of all you are hopeful that your son or daughter will make friends, be successful and feel  happy.  With everything that your child has been learning in preschool to be ready for this special time, how do you know if he/she is speaking the way that he/she should be?

During the early years of speech and language development children are developing rapidly growing vocabularies from their experiences.  They begin to connect their words and ideas with grammatical structures to create sentences that become increasingly longer and more complex . Some children will speak more than others and some children will speak more clearly than others.  How do you know if your child is on target?

Below are some guidelines to help you know if your child’s speech and language skills are within the range of what is expected for a kindergartner.  Your child should:

  • have a vocabulary of 2000-3000 words that incudes items within  common categories such as family, food, clothing, animals, home, places and transportation
  • use grammar such as pronouns, adjectives, verb tenses, plural and possessive “s” and prepositions to put words together in sentences
  • put together related sentences using connecting words like “and, because, so, and then, but and when”
  • ask and answer basic wh-question forms like “who, what, where, what-doing” and more abstract questions like “ why, when and how
  • talk about events in the present as well as the immediate past and future
  • follow several verbal directions consistently and understand words like “first, last, before, after, more, most, less, none and some”
  • listen to a short story for approximately 15 minutes and be able to answer basic questions about the main characters and events in the story
  • engage in conversation by talking to people, asking relevant questions and staying on topic
  • speak clearly enough so family and strangers can  understand your child 90-100% of the time, despite a few sound changes that may still be present but are appropriate for his/her age

If your child is not able to do some of these, you should contact a speech-language pathologist to discuss your concerns.

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