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.
As your child learns to read, you’ll probably encourage him to cope with the tricky words by sounding them out. But some words do not have straightforward spelling and they cannot be easily sounded out. These words are called “sight words,” and for better or worse, they are used quite frequently in English. Your child will have to learn to recognize them on sight (hence the term, “sight words”). This collection of words is also referred to as the Dolch word list. Encouraging your child to memorize sight words can greatly improve his written communication skills. Your child’s speech-language pathologist (SLP) can offer advice about improving your child’s reading and writing skills. You can also check out this list of apps that are designed specifically to teach children sight words.