“Learning” to read begins with the development of oral language.  Here are some resources about early language development and its connection to early literacy and to becoming a successful reader. 

Oral Language Development

 Excerpts from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website

Hearing and Understanding and “Talking”


 Notice development across all the language categories:  sounds, words, sentences, discourse (stories and conversation)

Check the suggestions for what parents can notice and do to facilitate language development

Below are a few of the developmental milestone for each age group.  Check the site for additional information!

 Birth to 1 Year


Notice the beginning of mastering “sounds”

*baby notices and uses “sounds”

*”babbling sounds” are more speech like (p, b, m)

*uses speech and non-crying sounds to get and keep attention

 Year 1 to 2


Notice the beginning of interest in and responding to stories

Note the growth in vocabulary

Hearing and Understanding


  • Points to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions (“Roll the ball,” “Kiss the baby,” “Where’s your shoe?”).
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when named.
  • Says more words every month.
  • Uses some one- or two- word questions (“Where kitty?” “Go bye-bye?” “What’s that?”).
  • Puts two words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”).
  • Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

 Year 2 to 3


Notice the development of questioning; understanding the power of language

*Listens to and enjoys hearing stories for longer periods of time

*Has a word for almost everything

*Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.

*Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds.

*Often asks for or directs attention to objects by naming them.

 Year 3 to 4


Take note of developing conversation skills to both ask for and provide information

*Answers simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, and “why?” questions.

*Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.

 Year 4 to 5


Using sounds, words, sentences and discourse to communicate

*Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about them.

*Tells stories that stick to topic.

*Uses sentences that give lots of details (“The biggest peach is mine”)

*Says most sounds correctly except a few like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th.

*Says rhyming words.

 Here are some links on Early Language/Literacy Development!