Pediatric Health Talk (Extra): Speech for Success

Reading to your child is so important. A lack of literary exposure in the early years of life can lead children to be less phonologically aware. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear certain sounds and manipulate them. Children manipulate sounds by blending words, segmenting words, rhyming, and counting syllables. Studies have shown a child’s phonological awareness skills to be predictive of a child’s performance in learning to read. It’s important that parents read to their children and work on building their child’s vocabulary. One of the easiest ways to do this is just by talking to them more.  Your child picks up on things such as how to hold a book, reading left to right, understanding the parts of a story, and recognizing the difference between words, spaces, punctuation, etc.

A speech language pathologist is a great resource to reach out to with if a child is having difficulty with reading. Your language abilities are directly related to your reading abilities. We target reading by breaking it down into the fundamentals, specifically phonemic awareness and phonological awareness. We work on developing vocabulary, rhyming, receptive language abilities, sound-letter correspondence, blending, making connections, inferring, and so much more. 

Additional Information:

Website with great information for parents:

Consider working with a Speech-Language Pathologist if your child is having difficulties reading.

Some interesting statistics on literacy:

Great website for literacy statistics:

The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. National Commission on Reading, 1985

The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print. Newman, Sanford, et all. “American’s Child Care Crisis: A Crime Prevention Tragedy”; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2000.

There is almost a 90% probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of first grade. Boyer, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Children who aren’t reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school. Donald J. Hernandez, Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Center

Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. — National Bureau of Economic Research

Just as a child develops language skills long before being able to speak, the child also develops literacy skills long before being able to read. National Research Council. (1998). Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Children’s academic successes at ages 9 and 10 can be attributed to the amount of talk they hear from birth through age 3. Hart and Risley, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children.

Early literacy encompasses all of a child’s experiences with conversation, stories (oral and written), books, and print. Rebecca Parlakian, Before the ABCs: Promoting School Readiness in Infants and Toddlers. Washington, DC: Zero to Three, 2003.