Halloween Special: Overcoming Speech & Language Problems Through the Art of Reading

Halloween Special: Overcoming Speech & Language Problems Through the Art of Reading

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Childhood is the best time to take preventive measures to reduce the chance of speech and language problems, along with of course, carving out a love for reading and absorbing knowledge. Reading is crucial for speech development and more importantly, developing a love for words and speech. 

It is an understatement to say that introducing your child to books as early as possible will help with speech and language development. It can also help children overcome speech delay or other speech challenges. 

Let’s explore some effective strategies to make reading time fun, along with some amazing Halloween books for the spooky season:

Colorful Visuals 

Kids ranging between the ages of 8 months to 2 years are attracted to colorful visuals and dynamic cartoons of mystical creatures, and these are essential to hook their attention. A consistent habit of reading will not only stimulate their visual creativity, but it will also introduce them to new words and sounds to help with speech construction. 

Dramatic Readings

If you really want to put an effort into making reading time fun for your child, focus on being as dramatic as you possibly can. Create dramatic sounds, the appropriate oomphs and aahs to keep their attention hooked. It’s also best to pick out books that have rhyming words to add a poetic effect. 

Encourage Repetition

Experts believe that repeating the same stories over and over again is a great exercise to overcome speech and language problems as it will sharpen sentence construction and vocabulary learning skills of the child. Allow the child to pick out a favorite story that they love repeating. 

Top 5 Halloween Books to Read to your Child 

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney

Great for older kids, the 11th book in the widely popular Wimpy Kid Series, Double Down introduces a spooky and thrilling Halloween theme. It narrates the common fears of a little boy, for instance, ghosts in the closet, monsters under the bed, and sharks chasing through the night. 

  1. Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

One of the best Halloween books of all time, it introduces little children to a spooky tale of trick and treating with colorful and attention-grabbing illustrations. 

  1. The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson

Another great read for the older ones! The mayor decides to cancel Halloween because of the disturbingly mischievous Halloween escapades of the Herdman kids, forcing them to make some exciting plans of their own! 

  1. Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas

A fun and excitingly horrific journey of a witch who undertakes all kinds of amazing adventurers and concocts fascinating spells with her pet cat, Wilbur, by her side. The book is filled with amazing illustrations. 

  1. Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

An incredibly engrossing read about a witch who struggles to release a pumpkin in her garden, inspired by Russian folklore, the book comes with amazing illustrations that will keep your child hooked. 

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Tips for Speech Delay in Children

Tips for Speech Delay in Children

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How can you tell if your child has a speech delay? And what can you do about it? We get a lot of questions from parents and caregivers about identifying and treating speech delay in children. First, we want to commend you for taking the time to research this important topic! The more you understand about speech and language development, the sooner you will be able to recognize any sort of speech delay and get back on track.

First, it’s important to understand that a child’s speech and language development is continually evolving. Professional speech-language pathologists use age-based developmental milestones to assess whether or not a child is at a developmentally appropriate level. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these milestones as they relate to your child’s age and stage. If you do believe that your child may have a speech delay – or even if you just want to work on developing communication skills at home – here are our top tips:

1. Read with your child and read often!

Children are so inquisitive and love to explore ideas in books. Around the age of 18 months, you can begin letting your child pick the books that he or she wants to “read.” Don’t worry if it’s the same book over and over again. While this might get boring and repetitive for you, your child benefits from reinforcing the same concepts. Read and read often! Your child will benefit from hearing new words and listening to the cadence of how stories are told.

These are our favorite books for speech delay in children:

 Talk With Me – Designed for children with speech delay or early talkers. This book uses popular nursery rhymes to encourage first words. Helpful hints guide parents along the way.

By Kimberly McCollister & Adrienne Penake. Reviewed by Kelsey Bailey, M.S. CCC-SLP.

 

 

speech delay in children

Easy-To-Say First Words – by Cara Tambellini Danielson, CCC-SLP

Designed for parents concerned with speech delay. This books exposes your child to final consonants and encourages first words. Helpful to encourage talking through easy words, cute photos and repetition.

 

 

2. It’s not enough to “just read”

Ok, here’s a good one that seems to directly contradict #1. In addition to reading, you also want to make your child an active participant in the story. Sit with your child’s favorite book, point to the pictures, and ask your child what they see happening in the story. It doesn’t matter at all what they respond, or whether or not you can understand them. You want them to inquire and wonder and begin trying to communicate with you. Don’t try and use these times as a chance to “correct” or refine your child’s interpretation. You just want to get them talking.

3. Sing!

Even if children can’t speak fluently, they might be able to express themselves through music and singing. Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, or “Rain, Rain Go Away.” Pause at the end of the line and see if your child can fill in the next word. See if they will sing with you. And then celebrate! Any utterance is great progress.

 

If you do suspect a speech delay:

By the age of two, children who are not meeting developmental milestones very well may have a speech delay. At this point, seeking professional help from a certified speech-language pathologist in your area is warranted. You’ll want to ask about screening for any medical conditions that may be interrupting speech development and get professional help in treating your child’s speech delay.

Parent's Guide to Speech & Communication Challenges

 

Early language development – how to support your child

Early language development – how to support your child

Language Building Skills Language Development Reading

Literacy (reading) skills are important for a child’s early language development, social communication, and academic success. Before a child can pick up a book and decode the words on a page into something meaningful, they must first develop an understanding of what written language is and how it is used throughout their environment. Logos, signs, and labels may be teaching your child how to read without you even realizing it. Preschoolers also learn early concepts of literacy by watching their caregivers interact with written language. These first steps in learning to read are called emergent literacy skills. While you may already be teaching these skills in your day to day life, here are some other ways we can support literacy.

One important skill for early language development literacy is understanding that sounds can be manipulated in order to become words, which is known as phonological awareness. You can support your preschooler’s phonological awareness by talking about and teaching different speech sounds during shared reading activities.

Another skill that helps support reading is print awareness. When children  demonstrate they understand the logos, signs, and labels in their environment have meaning, they are showing  they have print awareness. Print awareness also involves holding a book upright and knowing that the words on the page tell a story. Even before they are able to read the words, encouraging your child to follow the words with their finger from left to right while  reading to them will support print awareness. It is also beneficial to discuss the physical parts of the book, who is the author and who is the illustrator.

Alphabet knowledge, or the understanding that letters represent sounds and letters can be grouped together to become words, is another skill that we can teach while reading together. There are many children’s books about the alphabet, but you can identify individual letters anywhere and talk about the sound that it makes.

Finally, oral language skills are needed for early language development and reading comprehension. Everytime you engage in conversation with your little ones, you are modeling oral language skills. Teaching new vocabulary is essential for oral language and early reading because while reading teaches vocabulary, some word knowledge is needed in the earliest stages of literacy.

Reading is a valuable skill to have throughout a child’s life that encourages children academically, socially, and creatively.  Children who learn to read early on are often more successful than their peers, and reading is also a source of knowledge. Reading also exposes children to new words and language uses. Books teach children about emotions and individual points of view. Appreciation of others thoughts and feelings will help children communicate and build relationships with peers. Of course, reading is also enjoyable and amplifies creativity.

What is Phonological Awareness & Why You should Learn Now!

What is Phonological Awareness & Why You should Learn Now!

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March is National Reading Month, so to celebrate raising awareness of this crucial life skill we’ll discuss the links between speech and language development and early literacy skills. A number of skills that would fall under the speech and language umbrella are enormously important to the development of early literacy. What can parents can do to promote early literacy in their children, from 12 months (or even earlier!) through pre-adolescence? We’ll discuss that too. You may already actively do some or all of these things with your child(ren), but let’s explore some evidence-based lessons as you continue to stimulate your child’s reading development. Learning to read and to ♥ love reading ♥ is a childhood-long project for both children and parents and the work you do as a parent and this post aims to be another support for this noble endeavor.

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Reading Aloud – How to Help Kids Succeed

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Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is an important part of communication and it gives kids the opportunities to build many of these valuable skills. Image source: letsgrowspeech.com

Literacy is an intricate process in which many different aspects of communication and language are involved. Visual awareness of letters and sentences, auditory awareness of phonetics and the spoken language, processing skills for language, and skills for transferring what is read into speaking are all parts of the equation. While reading is generally considered a quiet, if not silent, activity, there are numerous benefits to reading aloud.

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Speech Buddies Parents’ Corner – Travel Games for Little Ones

Games and Activities Parents' Corner Reading

So you’re almost set for the drive to Grandma’s house for the holidays, except there is just one problem – the drive to Grandma’s house with bored and fidgety little ones in the backseat. I always find myself remarking to my kids that never had movies in the backseat or iPods to play while traveling across the country in the back of the station wagon and somehow we managed to survive. While my own kids might have access to those luxuries, it still seems that the best boredom busters while traveling are good (dare I say old-fashioned) travel games.

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How Do I Teach My Child to Read?

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How do I teach my child to read?

Children learn to read through consistent exposure to various kinds of literature, as well as by engaging in different types of reading strategies like those outlined above. Image source: infographicsmania.com

Reading is a critical component of communication, and age 7 seems to be the magical turning point by which most children learn to read. Children who struggle up until this point – and those who still aren’t reading beyond 7 years of age, don’t necessarily have disabilities that are preventing them from acquiring literacy skills. However, it is valuable for parents to acknowledge the typical milestones for literacy and recognize the warning signs that something more serious than just a delay is preventing their children from reaching reading milestones. If you find yourself asking: How do I teach my child to read?, these following strategies are might give your child the support and extra attention to literacy that is needed. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Listening Games for Kids

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Can you make a list of 13,000 words you know? This is the average vocabulary for 6 year-olds who are developing communication skills at a typical rate. However, for many children who are struggling with speech and communication skills, that vocabulary list is much shorter. Sue McCandlish, an Education and Speech Pathology professional, developed the model below that outlines how valuable listening is to the overall model of communication. She encourages teachers and parents to engage the “working memory” of children through listening games and activities. So why not get in the holiday mood and try some Thanksgiving listening games for kids? Continue reading

7 Games to Build Reading Skills for Kids Who Can’t Sit Still

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Games to Build Reading Skills

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All of the data points to what many parents and educators already know to be true. Children who have speech and language delays or disorders often struggle to build or maintain reading skills. If you are the parent of a child who faces literacy challenges on top of other communication struggles, and your child just doesn’t seem able to sit still long enough to look at the cover of a book, you might be feeling that reading proficiency is a far away dream. Whether your child is a kinesthetic learner or always on the move because of a learning or behavior challenge, there are options that satisfy that need for movement, but still build reading skills. Try these games that let kids move – and encourage them to read at the same time. Continue reading

Make Some Noise! Homemade Instruments for Kids and Music Therapy

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Homemade Instruments for Kids

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Music therapy is a valuable part of many therapy programs. There is evidence that shows music to have many benefits for those struggling with speech and communication challenges, so bringing more music and rhythm into the classroom, therapy room, and home can be one more option for improving these skills. Whether you are looking to create some homemade music instruments for music therapy to save money, or because you have a child like mine who loves the creating part of the process as much as anything else, try some of these easy homemade instruments for kids that are great for music therapy – and for playtime. Continue reading