Friday, August 10, 2012

Really! Listening, Language and Reading!

I love reading!  I've said that before and if you know me, I love any kind of reading, whether I'm reading on my own or sharing with my clients. 
When I am with a parent and we are working with their child, I always bring up reading, and I am always surprised that there are questions about why reading is so important to the listening and language component.   There are lots of web sites a parent can go to for development of reading - usually they start with emerging literacy.  Yes, that's true; but if you continue to look for reading within those web sites you will find some to include infants.  There is so much more to consider.

When they are babies, you hold them, you coo with them, you sing to them, you comfort them.  Why can't you read to them as well.  The focus for baby and adult is listening. Surprise! Your voice is for baby to hear, and as baby focuses, they will learn to track your face to the book.  Can you imagine baby listening to your voice and listening to rhythm and change of pitch when you go from character to character and setting to setting.  Just read to them!

Next are the toddlers and they are such a delight!  Reading and listening to language while cuddled up with you gives the toddler a little bit extra.  Now that they have begun to listen, they are learning those communication skills of give and take, they are discriminating sounds, and they are identifying those sounds and items you are talking about within the reading.  You have given your toddler the ability to experience more in their world and outside their world.  Begin to choose books that present familiar ideas and simple actions. They will love rhythm and rhyme, your humor put into the story while they are listening and they will love the repetition within the story.  These can be nursery rhymes, lullabies, and simple tales.  The one item you have to remember - attention span is short, so
choose stories that are simple with lots of colorful pictures.

As your child turns into a preschooler, picture books are a staple for them.  If your teaching has gone according to plan, the three-to-five year old has begun to use longer utterances.  They are asking you -
'What happened?' or 'What doing?' and they are beginning to enjoy longer conversations with you.  Even more, they want to listen to your stories!  Now they enjoy reading together everyday and it will become one of the most important activities of your day or evening before bed.  It will help their language to grow as they begin to hear different words and different ways to say things.  It will also set them up for pre-reading.

It is said, the best way to help children become readers is to read aloud to them as often
as possible. The more stories children hear, the more aware they are of how
language sounds, and the more new words they can learn.  According to the
American Academy of Pediatrics, listening to stories read aloud stimulates brain
development and lays down patterns that can become the building blocks for written language.....and there you go, the hierarchy of listening.....or is it language......or is it reading.....or is it all of them! Well,
whatdya' know! 
Let's talk next time, about how we can work with our school-age children with reading, or is it language - hehehe!

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