Today our boys have been in the United States three and a half years. Here's a snapshot of their English language development.
A is above grade level in reading and in the highest reading group of his class. He's very good at spelling (spelling has rules and A loves rules). His spoken English is weaker. It could be because he started learning it at an older age or that his strengths just lie elsewhere (he is phenomenal at mathematics and at sports). He has some difficulty pronouncing multisyllabic words and some consonant blends. He mixes up the names of similar objects like spoons and forks or sheets and blankets. He sometimes needs more wait time to organize his thoughts before expressing a complex idea. And he has a tendency to say garbled sentences when he's excited. None of these issues affect day-to-day communication much.
D is average in reading and spelling but very strong orally. He has a bit of a Philadelphia accent and says, "wooter" for "water." He loves how words sound and likes to throw around hard names like "Sokratis Papastathopoulos." He is the only 8-year-old I know who uses words like "aloft" and "ye" in casual conversation. He has a good sense of how language is used in different contexts and I've noticed him code-switching between White and Black friends. Like A, D's language skills could stem from natural inclination, or the age at which he started speaking English (or maybe they're a result of his constant talking?).
Three and a half years, lijoch! Be'tam iweddeachuallehu!