Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tip 13 - Listen UP! - Build listening and reading skills

Listening to stories helps build your child’s ability pay attention in school, discriminate speech, understand spoken language, and develop skills essential for learning to read.

Bed-time storiesages one  to eight years – Does your child have trouble winding down to go to sleep? A simple and wonderful way to quiet your child down and prepare for sleep is to read stories before bed.   It doesn’t matter what the stories are. Many very young children love to hear the same storybook over and over, that is just fine.   Try to make a habit of 15 or more minutes a day of “quiet time” before bed in which your child selects a book and you read it together.
·         Start by reading a favorite bed-time book to your child each night for about 15 minutes as you sit together on the bed. You can read and your child listen
·         Ages 1 – 2 years – many books will be picture books – just enjoy naming the cars or animals on each page with your child. Cloth books are especially nice for toddlers.
·         At about 18 months to 2 years ask your child to point to pictures themselves, if you read a story, point to key written words as you read
·         Ages 2 – 3 years  - Move to story books and begin telling the story together – as your child starts to memorize the book let your child alternate by telling part of the story
·         Ages 3 – 4 years  - Point to important words from the story that are written on the page as you read – see if your child can find that word later
·         Ages 5 – 6 years – Alternate pages to be read aloud with your child. You can use books from school or favorite bed-time story books but let your child read with you.
·         Ages 7 – 8 – Let your child read the book all by herself, or make it a family bed-time activity in which an older child reads a bed-time story to a younger child
Audio Booksall ages – Rather than bringing a DVD player along on a trip, try audio-books. The advantage of an audio book over a DVD is that it builds listening skills which are critical for doing well in school and allows your child to follow along with the written pages as they listen to the book, so it builds reading skills as well. AND, audio books are available from your public library and some websites for free!
·         If you choose an audio book from the library for a school-age child, ask the librarian for an unabridged version of the book as well (that means the audio version of the book is exactly the same as the written version) so your child can work on reading as well as listening.
·         I found a website that offers audio book downloads for free:

Over three-quarters of classroom instruction is presented through talking. As children get farther in school most of the rest of instruction is through reading. New research published in 2011 by Bart Boets and his colleagues in Belgium, indicates that children who have trouble discriminating speech (audiologists term this Auditory Processing Disorder [APD]), often seen as “poor listening skills” in school, become struggling readers as they get older. Another 2011 study by Cassandra R. Billiet and Teri James Bellis in South Dakota, indicates that auditory training helps remediate auditory processing problems associated with reading problems. Listening to clear auditory speech signals in a quiet room (the bedroom is one of the quietest rooms in the house) or through good quality headphones, provide wonderful auditory training opportunities for your child.

Reading aloud before bed and listening to audio books through ear phones trains the brain’s auditory processing skills: easy ways to improve listening and reading skills  for success in school.

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