Hear and Say Reading

How we read to children is just as important as what we read to them. How we read can make a big difference in their attention, their comprehension, and their interest. We use several methods for reading books during storytime. One of the easiest methods is Hear and Say Reading (or Dialogic Reading).

generatedtext (1)Simply take your cues from your child. Find a book he/she is interested in. The book should have a simple story, clear illustrations, pictures of familiar things, illustrations with action and detail, and shorter in length.

The child takes the lead when it comes to reading the book. You will be talking about the pictures–not reading the words. This will help build oral language and comprehension. Once you do it a few times, it may even become part of your everyday conversations with your child–no book required!

  • Start by asking simple what questions. (What do you see on this page? What else do you see? What is happening?)*
    Build on your child’s answers. (Child: I see an elephant. Parent: That is a large elephant!)
    Follow your child’s words with simple questions. (What is the elephant doing? Why does the elephant have a sad face?)
    Repeat. (Child: I see an elephant. Parent: That is a large, gray elephant! What color is the elephant? Child: Gray.)
    Help your child as needed.
    PRAISE your child’s answers and observations.
    Follow your child’s interest.

*Once you have started asking simple what questions, transition into open-ended questions that require more than a one-word answer.

 

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Strive for Five

Oral language is one of the most basic forms of early literacy. Children hear words and begin to talk before they begin to read and recognize print. Language is all around them. As we have talked about before, the more words children hear, the more prepared they will be to begin reading. But it is more than just the number of words. It is also the quality of the words they are hearing.

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Strive for Five is just one way you can increase oral language with your children. Strive for Five is just a simple conversation with your child in five exchanges.

  1. Observe what your child is doing or what books a child has to check out.
  2. Initiate the conversation by asking a question or stating an observation.
    • What are you building?
    • Look at the picture. What do you think that character is doing?
    • How does that character feel in the picture?
  3. Give your child time to respond.
  4. Expand the conversation by asking another question, expanding on your child’s comment, or confirming/repeating what the child said.
  5. Give your child time to respond.
  6. Repeat these steps until you have reached five exchanges.
  7. This can be done as a child initiated conversation as well.

The Strive for Five model encourages more talking and expanding a conversation, so your child can hear more words. The more quality words they hear, the more words they will be familiar with when they eventually start reading.

The Braid of Literacy

Reading. Singing. Talking. Playing. Writing. Together all of these actions can help children become skilled readers. Weaving these practices together vocabulary, phonological awareness, narrative skills, print motivation, print awareness, and letter knowledge are acquired.

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Strands of early literacy development. Reprinted from Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory, and practice, by H. S. Scarborough, in S. B. Newman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), 2002, Handbook of early literacy research, p. 98, Copyright 2002, New York, NY: Guilford Press.

We are going to get technical for just a minute, so bear with us. In 2002, literacy researcher Hollis Scarborough released a study dealing with the Braid of Literacy. In the study, Scarborough found literacy could be broken into two simple parts: Language Comprehension and Word Recognition. But more importantly, it is within these two parts that more complex things are at work. As you can see in the illustration, when all of the pieces and parts of literacy come together, they form a tightly woven braid. But it is only when they are working together.

That was too technical. But what does that all mean?

Let’s go back to reading, talking, singing, playing, and writing. When you read with your child or talk with your child, when you play and sing together, and when you write and let your child use a paper and pencil, you are weaving together these different parts of literacy.

Spend a few minutes each day trying to do at least two of these simple practices with your child.

Speech Development

Let me preface this post by saying I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have a background in speech therapy or speech development. I do, however, know speech therapists and have done some research. Therefore, I hope you will find today’s post as a starting point to learning more information. If you have more questions or would like to know more information, please check with your child’s pediatrician or contact your local school district.

In the chart below, you will find a general guide depicting when children typically master each of the letter sounds. Keep in mind, though, every child is different and develops in his or her own time.

speech chart

You will notice that boys and girls develop sound articulation at various times during early development. In general, about 50% of children have the sounds mastered by the beginning of the line at each age and about 90% of children have it mastered by the end of the line.

Take a look at the chart…you’ll notice that some sounds aren’t learned until almost 8 years old, and for some children, it takes several years to master sounds like “ing,” “r,” or “z.” To help children practice letter sounds and identify them, it is important to speak clearly to them. Baby talk is cute (words like lellow, skissors, or pasghetti), but they don’t help children articulate and learn letter sounds. Point to letters and words as you read them in books and ask your child to repeat you.