Whether your child is a toddler or already school-aged, it is never too early or late to invest time in building literacy skills, especially during these hot summer months! Most children enjoy being read to, and early exposure to reading provides opportunities to learn about language, grow in imagination and social-emotional maturity.
Words are made up of individual sounds, and children learn the relationship between sounds, letters, and words before being able to decode printed words. This phonological awareness is a strong predictor of literacy. Children with auditory processing challenges often demonstrate delays with both language processing and literacy development, as both visual and auditory systems are accessed for successful reading. Reading aloud strengthens these neurological pathways and is still the best way to put a child on the road to becoming a reader.
Some easy tips while reading to your child:
- Young children are active and may need to move while you read to them. Encourage them to help flip pages, point to / name pictures, fill in rhymes!
- Instead of reading exact words on a page, try adding in sound effects, movement, and adjusting your language so that it meets your child’s comprehension level.
- Take turns choosing books and allow repetition, thereby building increased participation and memory skills.
The non-profit, Reading Rockets, produces several great resources supporting families around promoting early literacy in children.
A few highlights include:
- Top 10 Resources on Reading Together (includes specific tips for parents of infant children to those with 3rd graders)
- Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development (ASHA resource)
- Launching Young Readers series: Sounds & Symbols (video)
-Iris Lee, MS, CCC-SLP