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4-5 Years

This is a guide to how children develop speech and language between 4 and 5 years.


At this stage, they need to listen, understand more and share their ideas within the classroom. They will use their language skills to help them learn to read.

Children develop skills at different rates, but by 5 years usually children will:

  • Understand spoken instructions without stopping what they are doing to look at the speaker.
  • Choose their own friends and play mates.
  • Take turns in much longer conversations.
  • Understand more complicated language such as ‘first’, ‘last’, ‘might’, ‘may be’, ‘above’ and ‘in between’.
  • Understand words that describe sequences such as “first we are going to the shop, next we will play in the park”.
  • Use sentences that are well formed. However, they may still have some difficulties with grammar. For example, saying 'sheeps' instead of 'sheep' or 'goed' instead of 'went'.
  • Think more about the meanings of words, such as describing the meaning of simple words or asking what a new word means.
  • Use most sounds effectively. However, they may have some difficulties with more difficult words such as 'scribble' or 'elephant'.

Progress Checker

Check the Progress of your child’s communication development using our Progress Checker for children at the following ages:

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