Your child has a lot to say! At Pathways to Speech and Reading we help children communicate. We  partner with parents, empowering them to help their children develop strong communication skills during everyday activities.  

Language Development

Language is crucial to young children’s development. It is the essential key to learning, communicating, building relationships with others, and it enables children to make sense of the world around them. The most intensive period of speech and language development for humans is during the first three years of life, a period when the brain is rapidly developing and maturing.

Speech and language are tools that humans use to communicate, sharing thoughts, ideas and emotions. Speech is talking and one way language can be expressed. Language is a set of rules directing semantics (vocabulary), syntax (grammar), and pragmatics (the social use of language). Language is also expressed through written words, and your child’s speech and language development will be very important for learning to read and write.

Researchers have found that language development begins before a child is even born, as a fetus is able to identify the speech and sound patterns of the mother’s voice. In all languages, parents utilize a type of speech with infants know as infant-directed speech, or motherease. It is characterized by higher pitched intonation, shortened, or simplified vocabulary, and shortened sentences with exaggerated vocalizations or expressions. This type of speech has been shown to be more effective in getting an infant’s attention for language development. As children continue to grow, parents naturally adapt their speaking patterns to suit their child’s growing language skills.

The beginning of conversation occurs during the first few days of life when an infant learns that a cry will bring food, comfort and companionship. As infants grow, they begin to sort out the speech sounds (phonemes) or building blocks that compose the words of language. As the speech mechanism (jaw, lips and tongue) and voice mature, an infant is able to make controlled sounds.

Children will initially begin to experiment with vowel sounds, then babbling such as “mama”, “dada”, when simple to produce consonants will be added to the vowels.  At around 10-13 months children begin to produce single words. Infants are able to comprehend language more quickly than they are able to produce it. Children will most likely be unaware of the meaning of their first words, but soon learn the power of these words as others respond. At around 18 months children begin to use two word sentences. These sentences usually consist of nouns and verbs. Effective language gives babies and children the power to say what they want and need.

At around age 2, children begin to produce short, multi-word sentences such as “Mommy is nice” or “want more candy”. At ages 3,4, and 5, a child’s vocabulary rapidly increases and he or she begins to master the rules of language. They continue to learn more new words every day. By the time they enter school at around the age of 5, children typically have a vocabulary of 10,000 words or more.

Most children follow a similar path of language development, with certain mile-stones for language skills during certain periods or stages. There may be some variability affected by your child’s style, temperament, or personality,

Rich language skills, both spoken and written, will come out of the everyday things you do with your child, interacting, conversations, and experiences. These language skills will form the basis for learning to read, developing critical reading skills including reading comprehension.

Please call for more information if you live in the following areas: Broomfield, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, Boulder, Westminster, Thornton or Arvada. Call: 303-856-8817