Reading is a process that takes more skill than identifying letters on a page. It may take four or five years after we start speaking to develop enough listening and language skills to learn how to read. It takes constant exposure to live conversation in our first five years to display signs of reading readiness. The brain must be capable of associating sounds to the letters of the alphabet. This usually happens in first grade. But, before the brain can match the sounds with the letters, it has to be able to easily identify the sounds when listening. If a child cannot clearly hear the sounds of speech during the first few years of life, his brain may not develop the connections it needs to be able to develop those first grade reading skills.
First grade reading skills include: understanding the difference between letters, words and sentences, ability to “sound out” unfamiliar words by their letters, blending syllables and rhyming words. Most children have developed these skills and are reading short simple books when they start second grade.
A few fun, simple exercises will help your child get ready to read. Point to the text as you read out loud. Talk about letters, sounds and words. Start with words that share letters and sounds with their name. Rhyme words with them. Talk about opposite words and similar words. A glance at Dr. Seuss and other popular children’s books reveals a careful purpose behind the fun and silliness.
The best thing you can do to encourage reading readiness is maximize your child’s exposure to speech from birth. A great way to do this is to read, Read, READ to your child from the day he is born. Address any concerns you might have about your child’s hearing or listening abilities to our audiology department, and soon you’ll need a library card!
Appointments for evaluations are available for scheduling at 828-670-8056. Please contact your child’s physician for a referral. Click here, for more information on Carolina Pediatric Therapy’s Audiology program.
How We Learn to Read ~ by: Catherine Wells