Good speech helps develop reading and writing skills

Literacy is the term used to refer to reading and writing skills.  It develops from birth to around 3 years of age, so long  before a child can even read or write.  It follows that what children encounter at home during these early days makes a huge contribution to their reading and writing skills later in life.

Stasia Thompson, of the Loyola University Health System  writes that signs of a child’s being at risk for developing poor literacy skills include:  

  • Persistent baby talk
  • Lack of interest in nursery rhyme or shared book reading
  • Difficulty understanding simple directions
  • Difficulty learning and/or remembering names of letters
  • Difficulty recognizing and/or identifying letters in his/her name
  • Difficulty expressing language

Parents and caregivers can do much to encourage and even catch up on literacy development.  Suggested tips include:

  • Talk with your child during daily routines (e.g., getting ready for school, mealtime)
  • Name objects, people, and events at home and in the community
  • Repeat your child’s string of sounds and add to them
  • Respond to his or her questions
  • Draw attention to print (e.g., traffic signs, store logos, food containers)
  • Introduce new vocabulary words during holidays or special activities (e.g., birthdays, zoo, park)
  • Singing songs
  • Rhyming games
  • Nursery rhymes
  • Read picture and storybooks (e.g., Dr. Seuss) that focus on sounds, rhymes, and alliteration (i.e., words that start with the same sound)
  • Point to words and pictures that you read and see in books
  • Encourage drawing and scribbling using markers, crayons, paper, paint, etc.
  • Encourage your child to describe or tell a story about his/her drawing and write down the words

Be aware of your child’s interest in and development of language.  It seems that recognising and addressing any concerns about a child’s speech and language development helps overcome later reading and writing difficulties.    Speech and language therapists are trained to help in this regard.




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