Speech Development 

Speech development refers to the pronunciation of sounds. It may also be called articulation. How a person says sounds depends on movement and placement of the tongue, teeth, jaw, and voice box.  

Speech & Intelligibility Development

When Do Sounds Develop?

Speech develops in a continuumSome sounds are much easier to say than others. For example, it is easier to say "b" than "r." Therefore, we expect that a child will learn to say "b" correctly before he can say "r" correctly. If a child is not saying a sound by a certain age, he or she may need speech therapy in order to learn that sound.

Articulation Chart

How to use this chart:  Below you will see a chart listing ages and sounds. First find the age of your child on the left. Then look to the corresponding row for what sounds he or she should be saying.  Your child should be able to say these sounds "most of the time," about 90%.  An error here or there is okay and normal. 

My child isn't saying all the sounds listed by her age?
What Should I do?

If your child is not saying the sounds listed by their age, it doesn't necessarily indicate there is a problem.

However, if you want to start working on sounds right away read our speech activities for home practice ideas. It is a great place to start! Playing games with your child and modeling correct speech is always a good idea :)

For more tailored activities and step-by-step teaching strategies, cueing techniques, flashcards, word lists and specific games for each sound, check out our members section. For a small, one-time fee, you will have access to everything you need instantly!

Speech Intelligibility

What is speech intelligibility?

Speech intelligibility is another important factor to consider. Intelligibility is how well someone understands what you are saying.

It is best to judge intelligibility by an unfamiliar listener since as parents, we are experts at understanding our children’s “own” language.

How to use this chart: Your child still may not be saying all of his sounds correctly by 4 years of age (for example, r, l, z).  But, even with these errors, an unfamiliar listener should understand what he is saying 100% of the time!

**** I recommend seeking out a speech language pathologist for a consultation if you have any concerns, why not?! It can't hurt! You can always contact us with any questions too!

If you are concerned about your child and want more info on speech disorders, we got you covered! Read Speech Development Disorders for more information.

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Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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Speech Development


  1. Goldman, R., & Fristoe, M. (2000). The Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation. 
  2. Sander, E. 1972. When are speech sounds learned? Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders
  3. SMIT A. ET AL., 1990. The Iowa Articulation Norms Project and Its Nebraska Replication, Journal of speech and Hearing Disorders
  4. Clinical experience