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reading to infants

The Importance of Reading To Infants

It is widely acknowledged that reading to preschool and school-aged kids is beneficial to their language development. However, is reading to infants just as important? The answer is yes! Reading to infants is important to their language and speech development. Not only does reading out loud to your infant benefit her brain development, but it also helps her learn vocabulary and the sounds of a language.

While you read to your infant, she will be taking in the sounds of her native language. Books with
reading-baby
rhyming words or repetitive phrases provide the most effective stimuli for infants to begin to parse out and recognize sounds in the language. As infants are read books, it also provides a perfect opportunity for them to learn vocabulary. As they hear the word “dog” and see a picture of a dog, they will begin to connect the picture and the word together. The more exposure infants have to books and pictures, the faster they will acquire vocabulary and make those connections. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a perfect book to read to infants as it includes repetitive phrases, bright colors and basic vocabulary.

Books for infants should also have certain physical characteristics. Books should be manipulative for the infant. Sturdy, cardboard books are great for babies to grab, turn and flip through. Bright colors and big pictures will also help the infant focus on the book and grab his or her attention. Reading with slow, exaggerated speech will also help infants easily parse the auditory stimuli, as well as keep infants entertained.

Other must-have books for reading to your infants include Goodnight Moon, The Hungry Caterpillar, 100 First Words and Baby Touch and Feel board books.

Click here for more on how to use books to encourage speech and language development in babies.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

phonemic awareness skills

Phonemic Awareness Skills

Phonemic awareness is a building block for literacy. Phonemic awareness, or a child’s ability to manipulate sounds to change word meaning, make new words, or even segment and then blend sounds together to make words, are all important skills when children are learning to read. Parents can practice the skills below with their children, adding onto previous knowledge while increasing complexity. As with any skills, it is important that children have a strong phonemic awareness foundation to aid in reading and ultimately writing, too!

Building Phonemic Awareness Skills By Age:

Age Skills Acquired During Year
3 years ·         Begin to familiarize children with nursery rhymes·         Stress alliteration (e.g., “big boat” or “many mumbling mice”)

·         Identify words that rhyme (e.g., snake/cake)

4 years ·         Child can begin to segment sentences into words·         Children start to break down multisyllabic words (e.g., “El-i-an-a”)

·         Children generate rhyming words

5 years ·         Notes words that do not rhyme within a given group·         Blends sounds together
6 years ·         Blends sounds together to create words (e.g., /p/ /a/ /t/, pat)·         Segments sounds to identify parts of words

·         Enjoys creating multiple rhymes

7 years ·         Begins to spell phonetically·         Counts sounds in words
8 years ·         Moves sounds to create new words (e.g., “tar” turns to “art”)

 

The above ages highlight typical skill mastery. As with most skills, there are varying ranges of development. Parents should incorporate phonemic awareness activities into usual book reading, and have fun talking about sounds and words!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reference: Goldsworthy (2003); Justice (2006); Naremore, Densmore, & Harman (2001).