Based on a higher order dynamic approximate theory developed in the present study for anisotropic elastic plates, two dynamic models, discrete and continuum models (DM and CM), are proposed for layered composites. Of the two models, CM is more important, which is established in the study of periodic layered composites using smoothing operations. CM has the properties: it contains inherently the interface and Floquet conditions and facilitates the analysis of the. composite, in particular, when the number of laminae in the composite is large; it contains all kinds of deformation modes of the layered composite; its validity range for frequencies and wave numbers may be enlarged by increasing, respectively, the orders of the theory and interface conditions. CM is assessed by comparing its prediction with the exact for the spectra of harmonic waves propagating in various directions of a two-phase periodic layered composite, as well as, for transient dynamic response of a composite slab induced by waves propagating perpendicular and parallel to layering. A good comparison is observed in the results and it is found that the model predicts very well the periodic structure of spectra with passing and stopping bands for harmonic waves propagating perpendicular to layering. In view of the results, the physical significance of Floquet wave number is also discussed in the study. (c) 2006 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.