It’s well documented that there is a correlation between language impairment and reading delay. One study showed that 52% of children with language impairment also demonstrate reading delay (Tomblin, Zhang and Buckwalter; Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry). This means if your child is having difficulty decoding language orally there is a good chance he or she will have difficulty decoding written language.
One main area children may be struggling with is phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness refers to a child’s ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes are what combine together to form words and syllables. Phonemic awareness is the best predictor of how a child will learn to read. If your child is having difficulty in this area, here are a few strategies to help him or her at home:
- Help your child think of 10 words that start with m, 10 that start with t and 10 that start with ch. Once they’ve come up with the words reward your child with technology time, a fun game or a piece of candy.
- Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as “Molly makes more muffins than most.”
- Play simple rhyming games: “How many words can you think of that sound like bat?”
- Play simple blending games: “What word says D-O-G?”
- Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes through poems, books and songs.
Sarah Farr began her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist working in Early Intervention for the Jordan Child Development Center. She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors in Communication Disorders in 1999 and a Masters in Speech Pathology in 2001. She is highly passionate about working with children and helping them, along with their families, learn to communicate. As an early interventionist she has experience in treating children with receptive and expressive language delay, autism, apraxia, articulation, phonology and feeding,
Along with her husband, Robb, Sarah enjoys spending time with her two children, daughter Lanee and son, Zachary. Sarah stays busy watching endless soccer, basketball and baseball games. In her free time she loves to practice yoga and enjoy the mountains of Utah by hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.