Speech and language development 7-8
Children aged 7 to 8 are increasingly faced with the language demands of a school environment. Across New Zealand, the focus of this age group is on developing an understanding of formal and informal speech and language skills. Speech and language milestones are divided by speech therapists, and professionals in the field, into the 6 different categories below, which are all equally important.
Speech and language development:Audition (Listening)
Audition is the development of listening skills. Children at this age are using their developing listening skills as audience members. They are capable of listening to television and radio programs as well as guest speakers. Children should be able to attend to longer periods of teacher talk and contribute to class or family discussions on various topics. As a listener, if culturally appropriate, children at this age should be maintaining eye contact with the speaker.
Receptive Language (what your child understands)
Receptive language skills are essential for comprehension and following instructions. Children of this age have increased memory capabilities which allow them to listen for sustained periods of time. They can follow complex directions with little repetition such as a series of instructions or a procedure for completing a task eg cooking. At this age a child’s receptive skills should be reflected in their expressive language skills.
Speech and language development:Expressive Language (what your child says)
Children of this age are beginning to use spoken language to explore issues and feelings. Children are increasingly able to talk through problems to solve them and many parents report they are now able to ‘reason’ with their children. At age 8 children are usually confident using the telephone and can be taught how to contact emergency services. Children can recount a detailed series of events as well as sequence their speech when sharing recounts for example “First we went to the park and then we rode our skateboards. Next we…” Children are using complex and compound sentences.
They can be heard asking questions to clarify issues and rephrasing their statements if people don’t appear to understand them. Children are learning to express their opinions and can retell both real and imaginary events. They may also learn how to make their speech dramatic. Parents can support this stage of development by speaking to them using adult speech and providing a speech model.
Speech and language development:Speech (talking and forming words and sounds correctly)
Children, by the end of this age group, should have all their speech sounds including consonant blends well established. Children should be able to control the rate, pitch and volume of their speech. Lisps where the tongue is placed between the teeth should have disappeared.
Speech and language development:Cognition (comprehension of concepts)
Children of this age have developed number and time concepts and are capable of using language skills to solve concrete problems. They have developed ways to recognise and respond to comprehension errors by questioning or stopping, rephrasing and repeating. Children of this age understand what it means to be a cooperative worker. They are able to plan for speech. Children should now be using adjectives and thinking and feeling verbs in their speech to express themselves.
Speech and language development:Pragmatics (Effective Social Communication Skills)
This is the area of focus for children at this developmental stage. Children understand how facial expressions and speech techniques influence the expression of ideas. Children have developed their conversational skills to include turn taking, clarification and repair strategies such as “can you please repeat what you said”. Children understand there is a difference between the way language is used on the playground and in the classroom. They can use a variety of greetings and farewells appropriately depending on the context and intended listener. Children can talk about how talking to a friend and an unknown adult would differ.
Speech and language development: Important
The ability to use language appropriately is the key milestone development for children of this age. They can be supported by being provided with lots of opportunities to use language in a variety of settings, for different purposes with both peers and unknown adults. It is only through repetition and meaningful connections can children achieve these milestones.
Find more about kids speech and language development:
- Speech and language development for pre-kinder children
- Speech and language development for 5-6 year olds
- Speech and language development for 7-8 year olds
- Speech and language development for 9-10 year olds
- Speech and language development for 11-12 year olds
- What is phonetics
- What is phonics
- What is phonemics
- How tongue twisters aid speech and language
- The importance of nursery rhymes
- Simple songs to boost speech and language
- Learning a second language
- All about syllables
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This article was written by Michelle Barrington for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading education resource for parents. Michelle is a teacher and mother of a toddler who blogs at Gee, You're Brave.