Speech-language Newsletter


Reading to improve speech-language skills

The Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing Connection: LANGUAGE is the Key!

Strong listening comprehension and oral expression skills intersect with strong reading and writing skills--------they are all language-based! Interacting often with high-quality books by listening to them being read, talking about them, reading them, and writing about them helps develop your child’s language skills. Strong language skills help your child to be successful in school.

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Improve language skills

Do you read to your child every night? Even after your child learns to read, it is an excellent practice to continue to read aloud AND to discuss the book you are sharing. The benefits are substantial and include:

1. Supports listening and reading comprehension

2. Helps to improve academic performance

3. Aids with writing skills

4. Exposure to more sophisticated vocabulary

5. Builds background knowledge

6. Increases familiarity with more complex sentence structures

7. Children are likely to pick up a book to read on their own if they have heard an adult read it to them first

8. Offers opportunities for parents and children to spend enjoyable time together

The benefits of reading to children

Common Core Standards

The link below states the Common Core standards for each grade. If your child struggles in reading or has IEP goals related to receptive language, educate yourself on the standards for the younger grades. The standards are written as building blocks. If he/she has trouble at his grade level, work on the skills written for the younger grades.

Improve Articulation

Using Books to Aid with Articulation Practice: You can use any book (or magazine) at home to help your child practice targeted speech sounds. Keep in mind the level of production your child is working on in speech support. You only want to practice at home at the level where they can be successful.

Ideas For Books To Enhance Articulation Skills

by Harriett Hoeprich, Speech/Language Specialist

Click here for a brief beginning list of possible books to enhance articulation skills. One reason that reading can be a helpful way of enhancing articulation is by "bombarding" the child with many opportunities to hear the correct pronunciation of the targeted sound. When you know your child has worked on a certain sound in therapy, it can also be another way to practice new skills. When you talk about the book with your child, the sound should come up naturally because of the topic or words in the book. You can use a "closure" technique to elicit certain words, if you feel fairly confident that your child can produce the sound. (For example: "Caps for sale! Fifty cents a ____." letting your child fill in the blank.) Or you could have the child "read" part of the book with you, if it's a story he is very familiar with. Very repetitive stories are also helpful in eliciting phrases--such as "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear?"

Remember to use a very natural, low-key approach. Drilling under pressure will probably result in the child disliking the activity and possibly the whole idea of reading and speaking, which is certainly not your goal! Remember that even if your child is "only" listening, she is still gaining the auditory bombardment of the sound and opportunities to hear the correct pronunciation in a controlled setting, not to mention all the other benefits of spending time with you and reading.

Examples of ways you can practice articulation with books

1. Highlight words with your sound and practice saying them

2. Find words with your sound and make flashcards with them

3. Summarize the story using appropriate articulation

4. Tape yourself reading and see how your articulation sounds

5. Keep a notebook with 15 words that contain your sound. Put a tally mark each time the word is written in your book.

6. Find 5 sentences from the text and say all words within the sentence that have your sound correctly.

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Improve Fluency

When a person who stutters is reading, they don't stutter nearly as much as when they are talking. So, it's a good idea for a stutterer to practice reading aloud using a slow but steady pace. By reading out loud, you are internalizing the pace where you can talk without stumbling over words. Encourage your child to use phrasing which is pausing at natural linguistic breaks such as commas and end marks. Other suggestions to enhance fluency:

1. choral reading

2. acting out plays

3. repetitive phrase books

4. rhythmic poems

5. put a slash mark to break up any sentence that is more than 5 words

Follow this link for information on stuttering and reading fluency

How to help your child select a book

Before going to the library or store with your child, consider whether you have a goal in mind related to the book that you will encourage your child to choose. Do you want to pick a book that you can read together as a family? If so, choose a higher level 'popular' book that your child might not be able to read on his/her own. Reading as a family or starting a neighborhood book club using 'in' books can help with social skills. Do you want to choose a book that your child can read independently? If so, find out his/her AR level from the librarian or your child's teacher. You can also use the Five Finger Rule. Have him choose a book that he thinks he will enjoy. Read the second page. Hold up a finger for each word he has trouble decoding. If there are five or more fingers that he did not know, he should choose an easier book. Do you want to choose a book related to what he is learning in science or social studies? The more background knowledge your child has on a topic before it is introduced in the classroom, the easier it will be for him to participate in classroom discussions. Ask your child's teacher to let you know in advance when new topics will be introduced. Do you want to choose a book related to current events? Has your child been asking questions about Martin Luther King or the Super Bowl? Help him choose books related to what is going on in the world. The most important thing is that your child reads. In my opinion, let him read whatever gets him reading.

Mrs. Jamie Pasternack, SLP

I am at Glenside on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I am at Elkins Park on Tuesdays and Fridays.