Ready for School?

At the start of every year, the question is asked by relatives and friends: ‘Are you ready for school?’.  Immediately this brings to mind an unending to-do list:  new uniforms, shoes, books, pencils, lunch boxes and new bags, to name just a few.  However for many parents this list does not include an inventory of those skills your child will need to give him or her the best opportunity to learn from the very first day at school.


So where should you start?


If your child has not yet started school:


Consider your child’s development in the following areas:

  • Pre literacy skills – your child should be able to:

-       recognise and use rhyme (e.g. ‘you’re a jelly, belly, delly man’)

-       break words into syllables (e.g. ‘ta – ble’)

-       identify initial and final sounds in words (e.g. ‘b – all’)

-       break words into individual sounds (e.g. ‘c – a – t’)

-       delete the beginning sound from words (e.g. say the word ‘ball’ without the ‘b’ sound)

-       blend sounds together to form a word (e.g. ‘c – a – t’ = ‘cat’)


  • Concentration skills – your child should be able to sit and listen to a story or complete a short activity at a table


  • Language skills – your child should be able to:

-       Use most pronouns (e.g. I, me, my, mine, yours, he, she, his, hers, theirs, ours, him, himself, herself)

-       Use a range of location words (e.g. in, on, under, behind, in front of, next to)

-       Demonstrate emerging understanding of before and after (e.g. ‘nod your head before you clap your hands’)

-       Use regular and irregular past tense verbs (e.g. ‘jumped’ or ‘fell’)


  • Following instructions – your child should be able to understand more complex directions with up to 3 – 4 parts (e.g. ‘Put the lid on the honey and put it back in the cupboard and then take your plate to the sink’)


  • Speech skills – your child should be able to use all sounds correctly except maybe /r/, /v/ and /th/ (e.g. ‘we drove in the tar’ is not age-appropriate)


  • Stories – your child should produce stories as a chain of events with some plot, however the stories may not contain a main event or a resolution of the events


If your child has already started school:


Consider your child’s development in the following areas:

  • Literacy skills
  • Language skills
  • Behaviour
  • Speech
  • Academic subjects (e.g. maths, science, art)


Weigh up what you observe as well as what his or her previous teacher has discussed with you or written in report cards.  From here, develop a plan to provide extra assistance with these areas to ensure success.  This may include daily reading, help with homework, or external tuition.


Like most things in life, to thrive at school, early intervention is best.  So if you think your child may have difficulties in any of the areas listed please do not hesitate to contact Tyquin Group Speech Pathology on (07) 3399 8028.



Owens, R. E. (2001).  Language development: An introduction (5th Ed.).  NeedhamHeights:  Allyn and Bacon.

Paul, R. (2001).  Language disorders from infancy through adolescence: Assessment and intervention (2nd Ed.).  St Louis: Mosby.