Child Speech Therapy: Emerging Reading Skills

Although most children learn to read between 6-7 years old, pre-reading skills emerge at as early as 1 years old. Incorporating reading into your daily routine encourages print awareness at an early age. Learn about the emerging literacy skills at each age and strategies to aide in the reading process at home.

 Donnie Ray Jones

Donnie Ray Jones

1 year old: Reading development begins around 1 year old through caregiver and child interaction. Books serve as the focus point for communication. As the child begins labeling objects, caregivers can use books to facilitate conversation. For example,

  • Caregiver: What do you see?
  • Child: dog
  • Caregiver: Yes! What sound does a dog make?
  • Child: woof woof

Picture books are a great teaching tool for caregivers to introduce new objects into the child’s vocabulary repertoire. 

Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Read picture books with a variety of nouns: everyday objects, animals, transportation, people, places, etc.
  • Point to the pictures as you are reading.
  • Involve the child by having them point and name familiar objects.
  • Instead of reading the story word for word, discuss the pictures using simple language.

2 years old: The child begins to learn that writing and text conveys information. Late into the child’s second year, they are able to follow the story of a book.

Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Read everything to your child, including street signs, cereal boxes, toys, etc.
  • Write hand-written letters to family members. Read the letters out loud as your child draws pictures on the card.
  • Read simple picture books with large print. Follow along with your finger as you read.
  • If the story is too complicated, your child may lose interest. Shorten the text as you are reading to keep it engaging.

3 years old: Books become an integral part of daily routine, especially bedtime. Your child will start to request their favorite books. Between 2.5-4 years old, children may pretend to read books by reciting memorized words and phrases.

Strategies to incorporate at home:

4 years old: Children begin to remember and repeat new words learned through story telling. At this age, children begin to differentiate words that sound similar or rhyme. These skills are important prerequisites to reading.

Strategies to incorporate at home:

  • Identify when words start with the same sounds. For example, “Your hat is on your head. Hat and head both start with the letter ‘h’.
  • Incorporate rhyming at home. Create a rhyming game by choosing a word and seeing how many words rhyme with it.
  • Rhyming books include Goodnight Moon, Green Eggs and HamSheep in a Jeep, and Room on the Broom.

            Check out Preparing for Reading and Importance of Reading for more information on emerging reading skills! Next week, we will discuss the milestones for independent readers!

Lumiere-Therapy-Team.png

References:

Owens, Robert E. “School-Age Literacy Development.” Language Development: an Introduction, 9th ed., Pearson, 2016, pp. 342–347.