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Child Development Tracker

Home » 7 to 8 »


Supporting Activities


Help your child analyze word meaning in this "un-matching" game. Odd Word Out!

Word Girl

Use these fun word games to build your child's vocabulary at home or on the go. Word Magic

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day helps build language skills. Here are some great read-aloud books for second graders.

The language skills of seven-year-olds reflect the increasing impact of language and literacy instruction. The two areas interact in that literacy activities enhance children's recognition of language's dimensions, such as its sounds, patterns, meanings and uses. In turn, improving literacy skills (reading and writing) offer experiences that dramatically expand a child's experiences with words. The interaction of language, literacy and cognition form the basis for a child's academic development.

Receptive Vocabulary (words recognized when heard or seen)

  • Continues to rapidly develop vocabulary, with an estimate of about 3,000 new words learned during the year. As the child's literacy skills develop, experiences with new words will expand as well.

  • The typical child has the capacity to learn about 20 new words a day on average, largely from reading independently each day.

  • Continues to develop the ability to think about language, known as "metalinguistic awareness." The child can talk about words, not just use them for communication. Developing knowledge about the language system shapes the child's further learning. A major influence on language skills is school experience. Learning to read, especially reading fluently, fuels future language learning and offers important exposure to new words.

  • Continues to learn and understand the meaning of different types of words by using context clues. Is also able to now use word analysis skills (e.g., if you know the word "happy," you can understand the word "happiness"). Realizes that verbs can be changed into nouns by adding "-er" or another word (e.g., "teach" to "teacher," "fish" to "fisherman"). Recognizes also that adverbs come from adjectives when the letters "-ly" are added (e.g., "quick" becomes "quickly"). Begins to understand that words can have multiple meanings (e.g., "country" can be a nation or someplace away from the city). Defining words also improves to include more conceptual descriptions of words and their meanings (e.g., a "bank" is a building where money is kept). As a result, the breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge is enhanced.

Language Comprehension (when several words are spoken at once)

  • Builds on expanded word definition skills to understand other forms of language, like metaphor (e.g., "sharp as a tack"). Begins to also use puns (i.e., use of words that sound alike but have different meanings, like "hare" and "hair") and riddles, especially those that draw on words with several possible meanings (e.g., "What dog keeps time best? A watch dog!"). Has a limited sense of verbal irony (i.e., the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning) or sarcasm.

  • Follows more complex three- to four-step spoken directions in their appropriate order or sequence. Can learn and apply the rules for games and activities (e.g., card games, sports).

  • Understands words that indicate direction for location (e.g., "under," "on"), space (e.g., "left," "right") or time (e.g., "before," "after"). Can answer questions about a story that is read aloud.

Speech Sound Perception

  • Segmenting words into their component sounds and letters aids the learning of additional words and can also be used to teach some basic reading skills.

  • Continues to control and adjust speaking rate, voice pitch (i.e., high and low sounds) and volume appropriately.

Expressive/Productive Vocabulary (words used when speaking or writing)

  • Has limited understanding of and ability to use embedded phrases (e.g., the phrase "that my brother read" in the sentence, "The book that my brother read was very exciting."). Begins to learn about different stress patterns for words (e.g., when "conduct" is a noun, the first syllable is stressed; when "conduct" is a verb, the second syllable is stressed).


  • Can produce all sounds and sound blends in the English language using speech that is understandable, even to unfamiliar listeners.

Grammatical Development

  • Uses complex sentence structures in communication. Can use the passive voice in English (e.g., "The bat was broken by the pitch" rather than, "The pitch broke the bat."). In general, sentence length still mirrors a child's age, so a child eight years old will produce on average sentences of eight words in length.

  • Few errors in grammatical use. Understands opposite analogies (e.g., girl/boy, short/long, beginning/end, same/different). Begins to comprehend the use of the word "because" and the relationship it conveys. Learns irregular plurals and plural nouns that end with "-s."

Sharing Personal Experiences

  • Can explain main elements of a story and make some predictions about what might happen next. Can use a classic narrative style in relating a story, one that builds to a specific or central point and then is evaluated and resolved. Uses beginning and ending markers (e.g., "Once upon a time..." or "...happily ever after.") in stories told, along with other types of words: conjunctions (e.g., "and"), locatives (e.g., "under," "on") and comparatives (e.g., "bigger"). Narrative forms and styles are culturally dependent; some children's narratives might be made up of only factual statements while other children may approach those facts by offering additional information. Sometimes, children are considered less knowledgeable or competent by the way in which they communicate stories. This evaluation depends on the listener’s experience.

Conversational Skills

  • Begins and ends conversations appropriately. Is able to clarify an idea that is expressed or a word that is used.

  • Takes turns when speaking.

  • Maintains the topic of conversation and uses appropriate eye contact while communicating. Shows improved conversational skills by using language for multiple purposes including for information, entertainment and persuasion. Can offer directions that include three to four steps. Recognizes when he is confused during a conversation and can ask the speaker to clarify the intended message. Changes communication style for adults and peers.

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