5-Year-Old Speech Milestones

5-Year-Old Speech Milestones

During the early elementary school years, children’s language and speech skills develop at an exponential rate. At this age, children are becoming more skilled at combining and playing with words in new and different ways. They also have an increasing awareness of how speech sounds are formed and how sounds come together to make words. It is common and normal for parents to worry about their child’s speech and language skills and to wonder if their child is where they should be in this area. It is important to remember that there is a very wide range of normal, and milestones are meant to serve only as a guideline and not as a tool for identifying or diagnosing a speech or language delay. Some children may have mastered none, several, half, or all of these skills by their sixth birthday. Children develop at different rates and acquire skills in varying order and frequency. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, scheduling your free introductory call today with one of our speech therapists is a great step towards identifying any challenges or deficits and benefiting from early intervention. 

What is Normal Speech for a 5-year Old? Should a 5-year-old Speak Clearly? 

Language Sound Production 

By age 5, most children understand how speech should sound and how to produce every speech sound, with the possibility of some mistakes or imperfections. They can identify rhyming words and may engage in rhyming games or songs or listing off words that rhyme (hat, cat, bat, etc.) Children at the age of 5 should be widely understood by strangers when speaking. 

At this age, children are also learning about or already have learned which sounds are made by which letter. This information becomes the building block of reading skills. They are also learning how individual letter sounds combine to form a word, for example, “m” “o” and “p” form together to make “mop.” 


At age 5 most children are able to use the correct form of verbs when speaking about events of the past. That being said, it will take many years for a child to learn and understand the many exceptions that exist within the English language. 

By their 6th birthday, most children have an understanding that some words can have two or more different meanings. This teaches them to begin to rely on context to understand the meaning of the word. Children at this age are also learning about phrases or instances when the words are not meant to be taken literally (I was blown away! For example.) 

At this age, children are learning about combining two existing words to form another word. ‘Firetruck’ is a great example of the kind of compound words that children of this age are becoming more comfortable with. Learning that plurals don’t always include an s at the end is also a concept that children this age are beginning to learn about. 

Forming Sentences 

5-year-olds are also learning a great deal about sentence structure, and understanding and producing both passive and active sentences. Some children of this age may struggle to understand passive sentences, but these comprehension skills improve with age. They are also becoming more readily able to identify when a sentence doesn’t make sense, and even pinpoint where it goes wrong. At this age, children are forming complete sentences with as many as 8 or more words. 

Conversation and Storytelling Skills 

Children of this age are using increasingly descriptive and specific language. They are also learning to identify the parts of a story, the setting, characters, beginning, middle and end, etc. They are then learning to employ the use of these literary elements in their own storytelling. 

Descriptive language is really developing at this age, and many children are able to use adjectives to accurately describe the appearance of an animal or object. They may enjoy guessing games such as “What am I?” where you describe the object without saying what it is and have the other person try to guess. I Spy is also a popular game with this age group, as most children this age have mastered the identification of colors. 

The majority of children of this age are able to carry on a simple conversation with a peer or adult and can make requests using the future tense. “Let’s go to the beach tomorrow!” 

How can I Support my 5-year-old’s Speech and Language Development?

At this age, children are able to listen to stories being read aloud to them, even without pictures. In fact, this is a great age to introduce reading aloud of age-appropriate novels. This is a great way to continuously expose them to new and advancing vocabulary. Instilling a love of reading in your child is one of the most powerful things we can teach our children. If you want to learn more about how to engage with your child and support their learning and development, connect with one of our specialized speech therapists and schedule your free introductory call today!

Engaging children in conversation and listening attentively when they speak is one of the best and simplest ways to promote and support speech and language skill development. Ask your child open-ended questions (Not yes or no questions) like “Tell me about your day at school..” and make sure you are focused and distraction-free as you listen to their answer. Enjoy your time together and be intentional, the simple act of engaging in conversation teaches children a wide variety of skills. 

How can Speech Therapy help?

Speech therapy can be an incredibly valuable resource for children, even for those who are developing as they should. Speech and language pathologists are experts at interacting with and supporting children, and they dedicate their time to making sure your child’s appointments are fun and fruitful. Bringing speech therapy online is also highly beneficial, as it eliminates waiting room and travel time and can take place from anywhere with a quiet space and a wifi connection. Children are naturally attracted to technology and so the added element of online appointments can help make your child excited and enthusiastic about attending their appointments. If you are worried about your child’s speech and language development or are just seeking some extra support and guidance for your child as they learn and grow, connect with one of our highly experienced and qualified speech and language pathologists. Support is just a click away, schedule your free introductory call today!

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