Contrary to popular belief, learning to read isn’t a natural process in life, happening all on its own. Literacy is a complicated skill that demands various teaching strategies, and every child is going to develop their skills at a different rate. Fortunately, if your child is struggling to keep up with their class during reading time, there are simple steps you can take as a parent to help encourage their learning.
This blog outlines some of the simplest, evidence-based approaches to helping a young child strengthen their literacy skills. For more personalised advice regarding your child’s literacy development, contact Chatterbox Speech Pathology today.
When Should You Step in to Help Your Child?
Simply put – the earlier you can be encouraging your child to develop strong literacy skills, the better. Whether this is your own personal approach or reaching out to an expert to help, giving your child the extra help they need can make a world of difference in their overall development. Waiting around and hoping their skills will improve in time leaves the strong possibility that the rest of their class is going to leave them behind, and it will be harder than ever for your little one to catch up. Step in early, get the help you need, and encourage your child’s development from the get-go.
Common Causes of Concern for Parents
So, beyond comparing to their peers, what are the signs to look out for in regards to your child’s literary development? During that first year of school, or even the first few, some parents will start to notice certain difficulties faced by their child. Often, this can be trouble-making correct associations between letters and sounds. Detecting differences in speech and text plays a huge role in literacy development. Things to be aware of if you’re concerned for your child’s development include:
- Being able to pronounce and remember new words
- Confidence in breaking words apart into sounds and syllables
- Blending sounds and letters together to make words
- Remembering all the names and sounds of letters correctly
Ways You Can Help
Evidence shows that the most effective way to improve children’s literacy skills is to use a direct, phonetics-based approach. This essentially refers to an approach that helps children to string sounds together to make words, as well as separate sounds apart to help them read words themselves. These are the fundamental parts of helping your child to succeed in their literacy. Here are a few quick ways you can employ these techniques in your home:
Read, Read, Read!
Children whose parents read to them early and often in their lives tend to build stronger vocabularies, understandings of language, and early literacy skills. It’s never too early to start! Begin with colourful, simple books, and progress with your child as they grow up.
Make Up Your Own Games
Incorporating letters and sounds into regular games and activities at home can teach your child without making it feel like they’re constantly at school. Paint out letters and discuss the sounds, or make letter shapes from dough, or cut them out and stick them around the house. Whatever works best for your child!
Use Songs and Nursery Rhymes
Nursery rhymes and songs made for children are a lot of fun – but they can also be wonderful learning tools! The rhymes and rhythms help children to hear the sounds and syllables of words, helping them to build phonetic awareness and growing in their literacy skills.
Seek Professional Help Sooner Rather Than Later
If your child is struggling with their literacy skills, then getting help as early as you can is the best approach. An expert who uses a phonetics-based approach can help children at any stage of their learning to read and understand language. During those first three years of school, literacy skills are absolutely critical – so you don’t want to wait!
Book an Assessment with Chatterbox for More Advice
Children all develop at different rates. Whilst worrying about your child’s literacy skills is natural, it’s no need for dire concern. All you can do is support their learning and try to help them catch up to their peers. If you think your child is struggling, there are plenty of support services ready to help out. Contact Chatterbox Speech Pathology today to book an appointment and discuss your child’s development and literacy with an expert.