Reading Aloud: The Road To Literacy
You might think that there is a certain age to focus on reading, but all babies can begin growing their reading skills from Day One. In the same way that you set a goal to help your baby learn and grow their brain for listening and spoken language (LSL), you can do your part to help your baby become a healthy reader. In this case, the goal is for your child to be reading at grade level by third grade. To do this, you have to start LSL early and make reading a daily part of your life.
FOCUS ON READING ALOUD
You don’t have to be a reading teacher to teach your child literacy skills. Reading aloud is simple, and it’s one of the most important activities that you can do with your child to get them ready for reading and learning. In fact, just 15 minutes a day of reading aloud can make a big difference! When you make reading together a daily habit in your family, you’re preparing your child for school success.
For your child with hearing loss, reading aloud should become as routine as eating and bathing. When you read with your child, they can hear language in meaningful stories that helps them develop the vocabulary they need to become a healthy reader. Make time for reading aloud every day and your child will gain important LSL and literacy skills that will help them be successful in school and in life.
Read Together - Learn Together
Here are some of the ways you can help your child with hearing loss build their literacy skills by sharing books with them every day:
- Read, Repeat, and Repeat: Children enjoy reading and rereading their favorites. Repetition helps children learn vocabulary and sentence structure. It might get old to you, but children enjoy the repetition and their brains need it to learn.
- Open Up a New World: Choose different kinds of books so your child can learn about new people, places, and things that aren’t part of their everyday experiences. This helps expand your child’s vocabulary beyond the day-to-day experiences you’re providing.
For more ways to help your baby build their literacy skills during book sharing, download this handout.
"When we read to a child, we're sending a 'pleasure' message to the child's brain. You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure."
Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, "The Read-Aloud Handbook."
READING ALOUD EVERY DAY
Reading should be part of you and your child’s daily routine as you work toward their LSL goals of listening, spoken language, and literacy. It may seem overwhelming to add reading to an already busy schedule of caring for your baby, attending audiology appointments, and weekly LSL intervention sessions. But, every minute counts, and if you look for opportunities, you’ll find time to read aloud in many of your regular daily activities. Include all family members, caregivers, and even older siblings in the reading routine. Your baby will enjoy listening to all of the different voices and will begin building the foundation for a lifetime of literacy.
A baby’s interest in reading grows and changes overtime, and you’ll want to grow your skills to match the developmental milestones your baby is achieving. Experts in early learning and literacy have developed many tips, tools, and resources for all children to become healthy readers. You can take advantage of this information to support your child with hearing loss as they join their hearing friends on the journey to reading to learn by third grade.
Reading Resource Round-Up
Early learning and literacy is so important that there are many great resources dedicated to helping you learn more about the ages and stages to grow your little reader.
Check out these helpful resources:
- Reading Tips for Parents of Babies
- Reading Tips for Parents of Toddlers
- Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers
- Getting Ready to Read: Helping Your Child Become a Confident Reader and Writer Starting from Birth (Zero to Three)
- Great Read Alouds for Kids: Babies to Grade 3
- Read Aloud Parent Handout
LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE BOOKS TO GROW READERS AND WRITERS
For a child with hearing loss, there are many LSL strategies designed to help your child catch up to their hearing friends. In general, a language experience book is an important LSL tool to help your child grow into a healthy reader. It’s a homemade book that you create with your child to record shared experiences. This kind of experience book will help your child increase their vocabulary and build their story-telling skills.
- Begin with a simple notebook, a blank book, copy paper, or scrapbook paper.
- Each day, have your child think about the day and describe an experience.
- On a page in the book, have your child tell you in their own words what to write about the experience.
- You or your child can draw a picture or add a photo about the experience.
- You can also glue objects or other items collected during the experience.
You and your child can read the book aloud together, taking turns looking at the pictures and objects and remembering each experience. Share your experience book with family and friends or take it to your LSL intervention session to show and share. Your child will love the repetition and getting to share their story.
Creating a language experience book gives your child practice developing their vocabulary, talking about their experiences, building memory for events, using printed words and pictures to tell a story, and building important literacy skills for later reading.
The language experience book is just one LSL strategy for building your child’s reading skills. Your LSL early interventionist will work with you on other ideas.
Living the LSL Life: Share an Experience Book Together
Watch as Aiden takes a look at an experience book created by one of his friends.