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Early Childhood Growth Chart

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U.S. Department of Education


What Many Children Do In Language

Activities to Help Your Child Learn About Language


Education and Kids

Related Articles

Early Identification of Speech-Language Delays and Disorders

Questions and Answers about Child Language

What Many Children Do In Language
Age What many children do... If you have concerns about your child's development, talk with a professional such as a pediatrician...
Newborn Babies listen and respond to your voice and other sounds; they tell their feelings by cooing, gurgling, smiling, and crying. If your 3-month-old does not respond to your voice and other sources.
3 to 8
Babies play with sounds and they babble to themselves. They use sounds to communicate (smiling a the sound of a happy voice, and crying or looking unhappy on hearing an angry voice). Babies can play peek-a-boo. They wave arms and kick feet to show excitement, and they enjoy being read to. If your 8-month-old is not making several sounds or does not reach for and grasp objects.
8 to 12
Babies understand and respond to gestures, facial expressions, and changes in tone of voice. If someone asks, "Where's Mommy?" babies will look for their mother. Babies understand simple words, such as "Da Da." Babies put books in their mouths and turn pages in sturdy books. If your baby does not look at people who talk to him or her. If your baby is not pointing at or making sounds to get what he or she wants, like favorite toys.
12 to 18
Babies say first words. They understand a few words and simple directions. They know their own names. They will give you a toy if you ask for it. Babies create long babbling sentences and look at picture books with interest. If your 18-month-old does not say more than a few words clearly.
Toddlers 18 to 24
Toddlers put two or more words together to make short sentences like "want juice" or "car go." Toddlers learn new words quickly. They can copy adult sounds, words, and motions. Toddlers ask and answer simple questions. They can use crayons and markers for scribbling. If your 20-month-old cannot follow simple request, such as, "Come to Daddy." If your 24-month-old does not use two words together.
24 to 36
Older toddlers listen to stories being read. They like to play pretend games. They love asking "why" questions. They use "no" and "not" a lot. Toddlers enjoy looking at picture books, turning pages, and naming objects they see. Their scribbling is becoming more like writing. If your 2-year-old does not ask questions or respond to simple questions with "yes" or "no."
Preschoolers 3 to 4
Young preschoolers make comments and requests, and tell others what to do. They can talk about things that happened and make up stories. They listen attentively to stories and retell stories themselves. They enjoy books that tell about real things as well as make-believe. They may revert to toddler behavior when feeling upset or shy. They make shapes such as circles and squares and pretend to write the way they have seen adults write. If your 3-to-4-year-old does not use language freely, experiment with verbal sounds, and begin to use language to solve problems and learn concepts.
4 to 5
Preschoolers know the names and sex of family members and other personal information. They play with words and make up silly words and stories. They are beginning to draw figures that represent people, animals, and objects. They understand that pictures, numbers, words, and letters are symbols of real things and ideas. They "write" as a way to tell stories and offer information. They enjoy "reading" on their own. They may recognize a few words such as their name or words on signs. If your child is embarrassed and disturbed by his or speech, or if you or your child's caregiver have concerns about your child's language skills.
5 to 6
Children can recognize and reproduce many shapes, letters, and numbers. They are gaining control over writing and drawing tools. They understand that letter written on a page represent spoken words. They use invented spelling (tp for top, Mry for Mary). They dictate stories for others to write. They enjoy using computers. Work with your child's teacher to assess his or her language skills through the elementary school system.

Chart 2: Activities to Help Your Child Learn About Language


A Joint Project of the Corporation for National Service, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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