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Early Literacy Development

January 25, 2017

This month I thought I would briefly touch on early literacy development. Long before your child enters elementary school, their literacy skills have already begun to develop. The day your child was born you became both a parent and a teacher. You have played a pivotal role in your child’s overall literacy development and school readiness from the very first words you spoke to them. Reading aloud could be one of the most important tasks we perform as parents, because it impacts literary success throughout your child’s entire education.

Research repeatedly indicates children who are exposed to books and read stories in the home have an educational advantage. The relationship between early literacy skills upon entering school and later academic performance is striking.

A study conducted by Ernest L Boyer, former President of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, found that alphabet letter knowledge upon entering kindergarten was a strong predictor of reading ability in tenth grade. Another of his studies, found that nearly 90% of children who were poor readers at the end of first grade, continued to struggle at the end of fourth grade.

One of the best strategies for developing your child’s literacy skills is through “interactive storybook reading”. The benefits of reading aloud with your child are maximized when they have an opportunity to actively participate in the experience. There are three key opportunities to reinforce interaction while reading:

  • Before starting the book – arouse interest and curiosity in the book,
  • During reading – ask questions to maintain active engagement, and
  • After reading – discuss the characters and events presented in the book.

Additional goals for these interactions with your child are to confirm understanding, explore unfamiliar vocabulary, and relate story events to the child’s experiences. Examples of how to implement this strategy are included the book – There’s an Alligator under My Bed,  by Mercer Mayer.

It might be take a little longer to read your bedtime book tonight, but it’s worth it!

Happy reading from Frisco Eat-Talk-Play Therapy Blog!

Jeanine Roddy, M.A., CCC-SLP
Frisco Feeding & Speech Therapy 

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