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The Language Development of a 6-Year-Old

By Lisa Porter ; Updated June 13, 2017

Though language development varies from child to child, most children follow predictable patterns of language development as they grow up. Language development progresses rapidly at the age of 6, so your child’s language skills will grow more advanced during the year. If you think your child has fallen behind in language development, consult a physician who specializes in child development.

Pronunciation

By the age of 6, your child should be able to pronounce most of the sounds in her native language. According to the Child Development Institute, a 6-year-old should be able to pronounce all vowels and diphthongs (complex vowel sounds) and almost all consonants. Most 6-year-olds have mastered the consonant sounds of b, d, f, g, h, k, m, n, p, t, v, w, y, ng, sh, zh and th. Six-year-olds might still have trouble pronouncing s, z, th, ch, wh and the soft g.

Time and Numbers

Most 6-year-olds have a strong understanding of the concept of numbers and can count up to seven. Six-year-olds also understand simple time concepts, such as different times of day. They can express relative time with words such as before and after or yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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Speech

Six-year-olds can usually put together complex sentences with multiple clauses. Six-year-olds should also be able to form grammatically correct sentences. Most 6-year-olds can speak fluently with clear, intelligible enunciation. By the age of 6, children should have the confidence to communicate with people in a variety of social settings.

Story Telling and Literacy

Most 6-year-olds have developed the ability to provide stories, descriptions or explanations relating to a specific picture or illustration. They can describe the connections and relationships between separate events and objects. Most 6-year-olds cannot yet read or write independently, though they often can memorize songs and nursery rhymes. Some 6-year-olds might begin to read on their own.

Encouraging Language Development

Encourage your child’s language development by reading poems or stories to her on a daily basis. Ask engaging questions about the story and illustrations. Encourage your child’s use of descriptive language by playing guessing games or “I Spy” games or by looking at pictures and artwork together.

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