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Does My Child Need Speech Therapy? An Overview by Grade


This week kicks off a fresh new school year! Back to school can come with many mixed emotions for both parents and kids. One of the best ways to ensure a smooth school year ahead is to ensure your child is getting all the support they need. Even though schools have incredible intentions, the reality is that many children require support beyond what is available at school.


In this blog, we outline some of the key speech, language and literacy skills kids need to flourish in school by grade from kindergarten to grade 3+. If your child is having difficulty with one or more of these skills, they may benefit from working with a speech-language pathologist. If you are interested in understanding your options for services with a speech-language pathologist (in Ontario), check out this blog.


Kindergarten (4-5 years):

  • Pronounces the following sounds when talking: /k, g, f, v, s, z, sh, ch, j, l/

  • Learning the names of letters

  • Learning the sounds that letters make

  • Recognizes whether words rhyme

  • Counts the number of syllables in a word

  • Expresses their wants and needs using a wide variety of vocabulary


Grade 1 (6 years):

  • Using all skills from earlier grades

  • Pronounces the following sounds when talking: /r/

  • Understood quite easily when talking

  • Retells stories from books, TV shows or movies with main information

  • Generates a rhyming word to a given word

  • Blends two chunks together to form a word (e.g., f-eel = feel)

  • Identifies what the first sound in a word is (e.g., mountain = “m” sound)

  • Reads words that have 2-3 sounds in them (e.g., pet, shop)

  • Spells words that have 2-3 sounds in them (e.g., pet, shop)


Grade 2 (7 years):

  • Using all skills from earlier grades

  • Pronounces the following sounds when talking: /th/

  • Retells stories from books, TV shows or movies with more detail

  • Reads words with more complex letter patterns and multi-syllable words (e.g., scratch, teammate)

  • Spells words with more complex letter patterns and multi-syllable words (e.g., scratch, teammate)

  • Writes sentences with capitals and punctuation


Grade 3+ (8+ years):

  • Using all skills from earlier grades

  • Pronounces all sounds when talking

  • Generates stories with detail

  • Writes more complex sentences and multi-sentence passages (e.g., paragraph, story) with capitals and punctuation


If your child needs support to flourish this school year, we'd love to team up! Find out if we can support you here.


References:

McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2018). Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-

linguistic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0100. Available from:

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2022). Speech and

Language Developmental Milestones.

Ontario Government. (2023). Curriculum & Resources: Language (2023).

Paulson, L. H. (2004). The development of phonological awareness skills in preschool

children: From syllables to phonemes. University of Montana: Graduate Student Theses,

Dissertations, & Professional Papers. Available from:


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