Middle Childhood Intervention: Module One – Typical and Atypical Development

Category — 2.3 Six to Eight 6-12: Language Skills

Language Development

Children aged 6 to 8 years speak almost as well as adults. They have figured out most of the rules of grammar and their speech is understood by those around them. The sentences they use are extremely complex and they are constantly coming up with newly developed sentences and phrases.


(see full Glossary)

Most children at this age:

  • are learning new words on a daily basis;
  • understand figurative speech (For example: This banana is yellow as the sun. Or: I am so hungry I could eat a horse);
  • follow complex two and three step directions; (For example: Go to your room, put the toy back in the cupboard, bring the book from the shelf and give it to your sister).
  • understand the passive form (For example: The decision was made by your teacher yesterday);
  • follow directions they heard five minutes earlier, without a reminder;
  • understand complex concepts, such as “beside,” or “to the left of;”
  • understand regular and irregular plurals (for example, boys and children);
  • understand the regular and irregular past tense (for example, walked and ran);


(see full Glossary)

Most children at this age can:

  • use sentences that are as complex as the sentences adults use;
  • usually learn 20 new words every day;
  • insert simple phrases in sentences and delight in their ability to do so;
  • use the passive form (For example: The decision was made by your teacher yesterday);
  • use regular and irregular plurals, for the most part (For example, boys and children);
  • use the regular and irregular past tense, for the most part (For example, walked and ran);
  • use the future tense (For example: I will go to the park tomorrow.);
  • use “if/then” terms (For example: If I finish my homework then I can watch TV.);
  • give simple directions (For example: Please come pick me up from school at 2:00pm.);
  • describe simple short term goals (For example: I will finish my homework early so I can go out to play.)
  • use figurative speech; (For example: This banana is yellow as the sun. Or: I am so hungry I could eat a horse.)
  • ask a lot of questions (For example: Where is Daddy? What is this?).


(see full Glossary)

Children at this age can:

  • speak clearly and are understood by most people;


(see full Glossary)

Children at this age can:

  • understand the nonverbal cues of others (For example if mom is taking a nap, then I need to be quiet.);
  • wait for their turn in a conversation;
  • keep a comfortable distance between themselves and the person they are speaking to;
  • know when they have interrupted someone and usually apologize for having done so;
  • use their inside, versus their outside voice, depending on the situation;
  • end conversations properly, and does not just walk away when finished talking with someone;
  • usually stay on topic, when conversing with others (For example: Will not talk about his or her new favourite toy, while talking about what to have for dinner).

Did you know?

  • Towards the end of the seventh year of life, children are able to pronounce all sounds in their language. If a child is still experiencing difficulty with certain sounds, it may be a good idea to refer him or her to a speech and language pathologist.
  • Children may make silly grammatical mistakes that they never made previously. For instance, a child who has always used the verb “went,” may start saying “goed” or “wented”. You should not be concerned if your child does that. A younger child saying “went” is just mimicking what adults are saying. This same child, when he or she gets older and starts to internalize the rules of grammar, will sometimes overuse a certain grammatical rule. That is because he or she does not yet know about grammatical exceptions to the rule. That is why this child will now say “goed” instead of “went.”
  • As with verbs, a child may change the way he or she uses regular and irregular plural nouns. Your child, who has been saying “feet” for the longest time, may now start to say “foots.” Again, at this age, this is not a cause for concern.
see References

December 1, 2011   No Comments