Make Literacy Your Love Language
The Benefits of Reading Spread Far and Wide
Every parent has likely been given the same advice regarding reading to their child: do it, and do it often. Yet, according to a previous National Read Aloud study, while the majority of parents believe in the benefits of reading to their children, fewer than half read aloud to their children every single day. And while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily reading of at least 15 minutes beginning from birth, fewer than one in 10 parents reported meeting this expectation. In this newsletter, we review the value of literacy and provide tips for improving your child’s skills in this area of development.
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, we at CTC would like to extend our gratitude to our many families. We are thankful for you and your child’s dedication and commitment , and wish you a blessed year ahead!
The Gratitude Jar
While a newsletter outlining the wonder of books makes it extremely difficult to pick just one as a feature, we suggest embracing November and seeking a book all about gratitude. In this pick, young Mina and her family find that a gratitude jar helps change their perception of what brings them joy.
Product: A reading chair
Creating a cozy reading nook for your child is one strategy that could get them more motivated to read. Consider purchasing a comfy chair or pillow (bonus: Christmas gift idea!) or have them pick one out that suits their style.
Quote of the Month
A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.
– Sasha Salmina
Getting Your Child “Reading Ready”
From the Rocking Chair to the Classroom Chair
When taking into account a child’s speech and language skills, the concept of literacy- which encompasses reading, writing, and oral communication skills- is often considered to be important only in later stages of development, when children learn to read and gradually build upon and transfer this ability to higher-level tasks they will encounter well into adulthood. However, it is when a very young child is yet unable to read that they already begin to develop pre-literacy skills- skills that include oral communication, alphabet knowledge, phonological and phonemic awareness (i.e., the awareness of sounds) and understanding print concepts (i.e., that reading involves scanning from left to right, top to bottom).
Children need to be taught pre-literacy skills. While each child is unique and every family has their own routines and ways of teaching and learning, it is important to surround children with print and encourage interest in pictures, letters, sounds, words, and books. This is one of the many reasons that reading to a young child is highly encouraged among parents. This routine helps imprint essential literacy skills in a child’s repertoire of knowledge long before they are actively utilized in the classroom setting.
As children age and progress in their learning environments of home, school, and community, the pre-literacy skills they have acquired will help predict their reading success in their academic years.
The Impact of Literacy in the Classroom Setting
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):
- Approximately 17-20% of children in the United States have difficulty learning to read
- Most poor readers experienced oral language deficits early in their development
- More than one-third of this nation’s fourth grade students read below grade level
- Children who are not fluent readers by fourth grade are likely to continue to experience difficulties with reading into adulthood
- More than 70% of teachers see improved pre-reading, reading, or reading comprehension skills in children who receive speech and language services
Encouraging Children’s Literacy Skills in the Home
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald
Young children who demonstrate interest in books are more likely to attend to pictures rather than the words. This is typical, and an interest in print will likely develop over time as parents and caregivers help engage awareness and discussion about sounds, letters and words. It is important to create opportunities for learning to read and write as often as you can, and to incorporate these efforts into you and your child’s daily routines. These opportunities can be easy and fun, and are often highly accessible in various environments.
A+ in Reading
Favorite books that both parents and kids adore
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
This charming book about group of mischievous lowercase letters who race each other up a coconut tree and end up in a “pileup” is so catchy and lyrical! It is often a favorite among parents and kids alike.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Eric Carle has many classic children’s books, and Brown Bear earns a spot near the top. With his knack for repetition, Carle brings readers along an “I spy” game for colorful animals that will keep your little one engaged.
Llama Llama Red Pajama
In this perfectly rhythmical gem, Little Llama struggles with some separation anxiety after his mother puts him to bed for the night (sound familiar, anyone?) Parents will especially appreciate the supportive line that can be repurposed in real-life scenarios, “Mama Llama’s always near, even if she’s not right here.”
The Snowy Day
This gentle tale about a young boy who experiences the aftermath of a snowstorm in his city neighborhood is a must-read during the cold winter months. It is amazing how the author somehow seems to replicate the muffled, serene silence of a snow-covered city with pictures and words alone.
Some activities that can help encourage literacy skills in the home and around the community include:
- Use your finger to “follow” the words of books you read aloud to your child. This will help him or her to learn that one reads from left to right and top to bottom, as well as that spoken words are represented by combinations of symbols (letters) that create language.
- Point out letters, words, and signs in your surrounding environment. This will help your child begin to understand that printed symbols have meaning.
- Encourage your child to write you a letter or story, even if he or she is still at the level of scribbling. This will also aid in a child’s emergent writing skills, which is a child’s early attempts to utilize print in a way that conveys meaning.
- Build reading into your existing routines to create consistency. For example, hook reading on to a non-negotiable activity, such as directly after brushing teeth for the night or before your child gets access to the tv or tablet.
- Make frequent trips to the library! Especially as the weather gets chillier, the library is a wonderful (and free!) place to visit and explore with your children. Librarians can also be a great resource, as they can recommend specific books for your child based on their individual interests.
It can be worrisome as a parent or caregiver to be unsure of your child’s progress in reading and writing, especially when academic demands quickly and continually increase as children progress in school. In order to determine whether or not your concerns are valid in regard to your child’s speech and language development, it may be helpful to consult a certified speech-language pathologist for an evaluation of your child’s receptive and expressive language skills. They will be able to determine if a problem truly does exist and create therapeutic goals that will help increase your child’s skills, and/or provide guidance to parents or caregivers that will aid in the emergence and maintenance of reading skills.
Content of this newsletter was written by:
Megan A. Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP
Please contact Megan with any questions or comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org