Early Start To Reading
You may be surprised to learn that the journey to becoming a healthy reader begins in infancy – long before your child enters school. The same meaningful interactions between you and your child that grow their brain for listening and spoken language (LSL) also begin building the foundation for literacy. Reading to your baby in the early days is an important part of achieving your LSL goals for your baby and setting them on a path for future success in reading, in school, and in life.
LITERACY BEGINS IN INFANCY
Experts agree that the first years of a child’s life are the most important years for literacy development. For your baby with hearing loss, begin reading to them in their very first weeks. Your baby needs to hear your voice talking about pictures and actions. As you sit with your infant, feeding or rocking, share a story and look at a book together.
It may seem too early to start reading to a baby so young, but the more words your child hears in their first years of life, the better their vocabulary and language will develop. Reading aloud for at least 15 minutes every day is one way to give your baby the early start they need to hear 40 Million Words and to learn to listen and talk.
Open a Book, Fall into a Conversation: Keep it simple – Babies like to hear you talk. You don’t need to read every word to infants. Hold the book and talk about the pictures. Use simple phrases, pause, and wait for a few seconds before reading the next page. This gives your baby time to listen and look at the pictures. Singing is also a great listening activity during this time.
THE LITERACY JOURNEY
The goal of LSL is to help your child with hearing loss develop their skills at the same rate and age as their hearing friends. Your LSL early interventionist will work with you on the strategies needed to grow your baby’s LSL and reading skills. During intervention sessions, you and your interventionist will share activities with your child that will support their progress in all areas of development. Your child will learn literacy through play and reading activities, and you’ll spend many moments reading aloud to your child on a daily basis.
As your child’s first teacher, you’ll use a variety of experiences to help them develop the building blocks for literacy - vocabulary, print awareness, rhyming, phonological awareness, narrative development, reading aloud, writing and spelling skills. Your LSL professionals can guide and coach you in what to expect from the literacy journey. In addition, you can take advantage of the many resources that have been developed by literacy and early childhood experts to incorporate simple activities into your daily routines to grow your baby’s brain.
Reading Resource Roundup
Early learning and literacy is so important that there are many great resources dedicated to helping you learn more about talking, reading, and singing to your baby.
Check out these links to helpful resources:
- “Talking is TeachingTM: Talk, Read, Sing”
- Talking is Teaching: Family Moments: Talking, Reading, and Singing Together Guide (English) (Spanish)
- Talking is Teaching: Tips for Infants and Toddlers
- Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day: Milestones (English) (Spanish)
- Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day
SINGING AND RHYMING
Singing with your baby is a fun and effective way to promote early learning, language, literacy, and brain development. Many experts believe that singing lullabies and nursery rhymes leads to good communication skills and forms the foundation for reading readiness and eventual school success. Songs and rhymes will also help build your baby’s vocabulary and count toward the 40 million words.
In LSL intervention you’ll practice singing, rhymes and fingerplays (action rhymes) to help your child learn to listen and talk. Your baby will love to hear your voice and will respond to songs, rhymes, and singsong speech. Both of you will enjoy these interactions, and you’ll be growing a healthy reader in the process.