top of page

Important Academic-Related
Speech and Language Milestones
for Elementary-Aged Children

Hearing &





Follow multi-step, novel directions in correct sequence.
​Listen to and understand stories read in class.

Understood by most people.
Answer Yes/No questions. Answer open-ended questions (i.e. “What did you have for lunch?”) Retell a story or personal event.
Participate appropriately in conversation.
Show interest in and start conversations.

Know how a book works (i.e. start from left and top for English books). Understand that spoken words are made up of sounds.
Understand letters represent speech sounds, and match letters to sounds.
Identify words that rhyme. Compare and match words based on their sounds.
Identify upper and lowercase letters. Recognize some words by sight.

Write own first and last name.
Write upper and lowercase letters (may not be clear).
Draw a picture that tells a story.


Remember a lot of verbally presented information.
Respond appropriately to, follow, and remember instructions.

Answer complex Yes/No questions.
Tell and retell stories and personal events in a logical sequence.
Express ideas with a variety of complete sentences.
Use most grammar correctly.
Ask and respond to WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY questions.
Stay on topic and take turns appropriately in conversation.
Give directions or explanations Initiate conversations frequently.

Create rhyming words. Identify all sounds in short words (separate sounds).
Blend sounds to form words.
Match spoken words with print.
Identify letters, words, and sentences.
Sound out words when reading.
Have a sight vocabulary of 100 common words.
Read grade-level material fluently.
Understand what they read.

Print clearly.
Spell frequently used words.
Use capitals at the beginning and punctuation at the end of sentences.
Write short pieces like stories and journal entries.

First Grade

Remember and follow 3-4 oral directions in a sequence.
Follow directions including prepositions, locations, and time concepts (before, then, later, first, last, etc.)
Correctly answer questions about grade level stories.

Use increasingly complex sentence structures.
Clarify and explain words, ideas, and meanings.
Give directions with 4+ steps.
Use language to inform, persuade, and entertain.
Stay on topic, take turns, and use appropriate body language during conversation.
Initiate and terminate conversation appropriately.

Have fully mastered phonological awareness (match sound to letter).
Associate speech sounds, syllables, words, & phrases with their written word.
Recognize many words by sight.
Use meaning clues when reading (i.e. pictures, titles, etc.)
Reread and self-correct when necessary.
Locate information to answer questions.
Explain key elements in a story (i.e. main characters, main idea, plot, etc.)
Use own experiences to predict and justify what will happen in stories.
Read and then paraphrase a story in sequence.
Read grade-level stories, poetry, silently and aloud with fluency.
Identify and use spelling patterns in words when reading.

Write a variety of sentence types in journals, poetry, and short stories.
Use capital letters and basic punctuation correctly (comma, period, question mark).
Write stories with beginning, middle, and end.
Spell common words correctly.
Spell name correctly.
Recognize letters on a computer.

Second Grade

Listen attentively in group situation.
Understand grade-level material.

Speak clearly, appropriate voice.
Ask and respond tov all questions.
Participate in conversation and group discussions.
Use subject-related vocabulary.
Stay on topic and use appropriate nonverbal communication.
Explain what they have learned.

Demonstrate full mastery of basic phonics.
Use word analysis skills when reading.
Use clues from language content and structure to help understand what read.
Predict and justify what will happen next in stories.
Compare and contrast stories.
Ask and answer questions regarding reading material.
Use acquired information to learn about new topics.

Plan, organize, revise, and edit writing.
Use details in writing.
Write stories, letters, simple explanations and short reports.
Spell simple words correctly.
Correct most spelling mistakes.
Write clearly in cursive.

Third Grade

Listen to an understand information presented by others.
Form opinions based on evidence.
Listen for specific purposes.

Use vocabulary appropriately.
Use language effectively for many purposes.
Understand figurative language.
Participate in group discussions.
Summarize and restate ideas.
Organize information for clarity.
Make effective oral presentations.

Read for specific purposes.
Use previously learned information to understand new material.
Follow written directions.
Link information learned to different subjects.
Learn meaning of new words through knowledge of word origins.

Take brief notes.
Write stories with many paragraphs on the same topic.
Plan beginning, middle, and end before writing.
Write main idea of a story.
Use a computer for writing words and sentences.
Know where to find letters on keyboard. 
Edit writing for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


Fourth Grade

Listen and draw conclusions in subject area learning activities.
Summarize main points.

Make planned oral presentations appropriate to the audience.
Maintain eye contact, use gestures and facial expression and appropriate voice during presentations.

Read grade-level books fluently.
Learn meaning of words through knowledge of word roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
Read a variety of literary forms.
Decide which parts of a piece of writing are most important to read.
Describe development of plot and characters.
Use reference material to support opinions.

Vary sentence structure in writing.
Revise writing for clarity.
Write for many different reasons.
Chooses words well.
Use computer to write short reports, stories, blogs, emails.


Fifth Grade

bottom of page