By 3 years

  • Understands opposites (i.e. "big" vs. little")
  • Follows 2-step directions
  • Names familiar objects, actions, and people
  • Talks when playing (i.e. says "moo" and "baa" when playing with animals)
  • Uses words for spatial concepts ("in", "on", "under")
  • Uses 3 word utterances for functional purposes (requesting, commenting, etc.)
  • Uses the sounds /k, g, f, t, d, n/ in words

By 4 years

  • Responds when name is called from other room
  • Understands words for colors and shapes
  • Answers simple "wh" questions ("what", "who", "where", "when", "how")
  • Uses pronouns
  • Uses plurals
  • Produces 4 word utterances
  • Discusses what happened during the day

By 5 years

  • Understands "time" and "order" words ("today", "tomorrow", "first", "last")
  • Follows multistep directions
  • Understands most of what is said, both at home and at school
  • Names letters and numbers
  • Uses sounds /l, s, r, v, z, j, ch, sh, th/ 
  • Holds topic of conversation
  • Tells a short story