Good oral language skills are the foundation for literacy ability. As speech pathologists, we assess, diagnose and treat oral language deficits to facilitate a healthy transition to literacy ability.
Parents can also play a vital role in developing children’s sound awareness and oral language abilities in order to promote the development of reading, writing and spelling skills through regular book-sharing.
Reading stories to your children provides:
o exposure to a wider variety of vocabulary
o opportunities for thinking and problem-solving
o examples of word play, rhythm and rhyme
When reading books with your children, it is important to select stories that are engaging, enjoyable and will support your child’s language and literacy development.
The following guide may be useful when selecting books for your child.
For young children, a picture book should:
tell an interesting story with a clear beginning, middle and end
present characters who your child can relate to
explore new ideas or concepts
encourage thought, ideas and discussion
use language that engages your child through rhyme, alliteration, repetition, or sounds
be a length that allows your child to maintain attention to the story
include accessible fonts, with variation to the size and layout of letters relevant to the story
have illustrations that appeal to your child and act to support their understanding of the story
– The Little Big Book Club: http://www.thelittlebigbookclub.com.au/
– The Children’s Book Council of Australia: http://cbca.org.au/
– Speech Pathology Australia: www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au
Written by Sarah Maine (Speech Pathologist with The Voice Within)