5 Stages of Speech Development

Do you ever wonder how your pre-school or elementary child is progressing in terms of speech? Here are five basic stages of speech development:

Stage 1: By Age 2 ½ to age 3, child should have mastered:   p, m, n, w, h

Stage 2: By Age 3 ½ to age 4, child should have mastered:  b*, d*, k, g, f, y

Stage 3: By Age 5-6, child should have mastered:  t, ing, r, l

Stage 4: By age 7, child should have mastered: voiceless th, sh, ch, j

Stage 5: By age 8, child should have mastered: voiced th, v, s, zh

* This is the sound bee and dee (not ba and da—for these, see below);

For more information on voiced and voiceless sounds, check out the following link:


Also, check out the Book Reviews page on The Education Café site for great book and dvd resources for speech.


Here are some tongue twister exercises to improve problem consonants:  Mouth Workout– http://speechtherapy.ygoy.com/2010/09/18/tongue-twisters-for-kids/


For an extensive list of speech development activities for birth – 6 years, check out the information on this link:


Some of the many things they suggest are:

Ages birth – 2:

  • Encourage him to make vowel and consonant sounds by repeating his attempt so say, ‘ba,’ ‘ma,’ ‘da’;
  • Expand on single words your baby uses: “Here is Mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby.”

Ages 2-4:

  • Use good speech that is clear and simple for your child to model.
  • Ask questions that require a choice. “Do you want an apple or an orange?” “Do you want to wear your red or blue shirt?”
  • Repeat what your child says indicating that you understand. Build and expand on what was said. “Want juice? I have juice. I have apple juice. Do you want apple juice?”

Ages 4-6:

  • When your child starts a conversation, give your full attention whenever possible.
  • Make sure that you have your child’s attention before you speak.
  • Encourage your child to give directions. Follow his or her directions as he or she explains how to build a tower of blocks.

©1997-2007 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


One thought on “5 Stages of Speech Development

  1. Pingback: Speech Resources « The Education Cafe

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