Improve Reading Comprehension In Toddlers and Preschoolers

The importance of reading to young children cannot be overstated. Years and years of research have described the benefits from improving language skills, to developing strong literacy skills, to long-term academic success. But did you know that not all reading is created equal?

In fact, it’s actually the style of reading, more than the frequency, that impacts children’s early language and literacy development. Although this may be a bit surprising to hear, it’s not sufficient to simply read a text aloud to a young child in order to encourage them to learn from it, and since most parents I know are reading to kids to help them with their language and literacy, the question then becomes, “what should I be doing instead?”

I was recently reading a study that stated, “the earlier parents become involved in their children’s literacy practices, the more profound the results and the longer-lasting the effects” (Mullis, Mullis, Cornille et al., 2004). Reflecting on this statement, I felt it was time to do a post that discusses the meaning of the word “involved”.

Books before bedtime are great, but sometimes we all need a few tips on how to really make the most of these moments together. When adults make some simple changes to how they read during story time, which goes beyond just reading the words on the page, this has a major effect on how children engage with books, and ultimately their comprehension of what is being read.

Continue reading “Improve Reading Comprehension In Toddlers and Preschoolers”

Why I’m Not Teaching My Toddler ABCs

As a parent of a 4 and 2 year old and a professional in speech and language development, I spend a lot of time with young children and their families. One of the biggest trends I have noticed amongst today’s parents is placing a high priority on having their young children learn to identify their ABCs. In my experience this typically begins around age 2, but I have even spoken to mothers of infants who are encouraging their babies to learn letters too.  Parents buy flash cards, apps and toys that center around learning letter identification and when I ask families why this is a priority for them the most common answer I receive is that they feel learning ABCs is important for helping their children learn to read.

While it is true that letter knowledge is an important piece in reading success, it is only one small portion of the bigger picture.  Reading typically begins around age 5, and just as you need to crawl before you walk, there are certain early literacy skills children need to master before they can become strong readers.

In this post I want to share some information about the building blocks for early literacy and things you can do to help babies, toddlers and preschoolers get ready to learn their ABCs.

Continue reading “Why I’m Not Teaching My Toddler ABCs”

How To Create A Positive Home Literacy Environment

As a speech-language pathologist working with young children I get more questions about book reading than any other topic. Today’s parents are not satisfied to sit on the sidelines when it comes to their children’s development.  There is a desire to be involved and help their children grow and reach their full potential, right from birth.

Although it may seem strange to think about literacy before your child is in school, research tells us that the early experiences children have with books has a major impact on their later reading abilities.  It is with this in mind that I write this article to help families learn how to set the stage for literacy at home and foster a love of book reading from an early age.

Continue reading “How To Create A Positive Home Literacy Environment”

How To Read To Busy Babies And Toddlers

As a speech-language pathologist working with families of young children I am constantly asked about book reading.  We have all heard that reading to babies is very important but sometimes it can be challenging to read to those squirmy little ones!  I can relate to these challenges as a professional, having read to hundreds of different children, and as a parent of two very active kids!

It can be frustrating for even the most well-intentioned parent to keep reading to their child when they seem to be ‘uninterested’ in staying put for the story. Let me begin by saying I understand these frustrations, but I would like to share a few things that highlight why it’s important to keep reading!

• Early language and literacy development begins in the first few years of life

• A child’s early literacy skills develop through regular daily positive interactions with literacy materials and the adults in their lives

• Strong early literacy skills are related to later literacy skills in school

As a professional in speech and language development I have lots of tips and tricks up my sleeve to make book reading enjoyable for ALL kids.  Today I will share my top 5 to hopefully help you inspire a love of literacy in your child at home.

Continue reading “How To Read To Busy Babies And Toddlers”

Let’s Get Talking!

Hi! As a speech-language pathologist, and a mom of two, I know first-hand how important it is to get a child’s language development off to a good start!  I decided to start writing this blog in response to the many questions I get from families I speak to every day. The purpose is to provide parents with education on typical early language and literacy development, and offer ideas and activities to help support their child’s language at home in fun,easy ways!