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Speech/Language Developmental Milestones




Iowa Nebraska Articulation Norms








3-4 years
Listens to stories
follows 2-step directions
matches and sorts objects
remembers recent events
asks lots of questions – how, why, when
vocabulary increases to 1000-1,200 words
tells stories 
shares ideas
can do simple verbal analogies ( ex., “daddy is a man, mommy is a 
answers agent/action questions (ex., “who is bouncing the ball?”)
long, detailed conversation
possessive marker /s/ consistent
regular third person singular consistent
simple past tense consistent
present progressive consistent
contractions used consistently
uses negative “not” consistently
uses pronouns he, she, I, you, me, mine consistently
uses 4-5 word sentences

4-5 years
knows between, above, below, top, and bottom
can name one color
recognizes 3 primary colors
understands concept of number three
can define 4 words in terms of use
can rote count to 10
uses what, do, does, and did questions
combines 4-7 words in sentences
understands 2500-2800 words
understands common opposites (ex. “hot/cold”, “in/out”)
follows 3-stepdirections
uses 1500-2000 words
answers simple when questions
can name first, middle, and last name
repeats days of the week in sequence
uses how and where questions
can name items in a category (ex. Food and animals)
will ask the meaning of words
retells story using picture cues
uses “will” to form future tense

5-6 years
comprehends 4,000-13,000 words
can answer “what happens if?”
understands basic concepts (ex. Morning, night, more, less)
can state similarities/differences of objects
can describe location, movement (ex. Through, away, from, toward, over)
can name position of object ( ex. First, second, third)
can use all pronouns consistently
superlative used (ex. Biggest, smallest)
understands humor, plot, and surprise
can sequence, possessives, negatives

6-8 years
comprehends 20,000 – 26,000 words
understands simple riddles
anticipates story endings
if and so are developed by most
irregular comparatives used more correctly (ex. Good, better, best)
continued improvement on irregular plurals and verbs
passive voice fully developed by most
can create simple narratives from pictures of events

Adapted from: Gard, A., Gillman, L., & Gorman, J. (1993) Speech and Language Development Chart (2nd ed.) Austin, Texas PRO-ED