While it is common knowledge that reading to children helps them learn to read, a recent study suggests that by pointing to the words being read and talking about print, children's literacy development can be greatly enhanced.
The study published in the journal Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), was conducted to determine the effectiveness of teachers' use of a print-referencing style during story time.
The results showed that preschool teachers can make very small adjustments in the way they read books aloud that make very large differences in children's literacy development. In a study of 379 children, those who experienced a print-referencing style of reading had significantly higher print knowledge scores after only 30 weeks.
"This study was conducted in classrooms with preschool teachers but has direct implications for parents," according to first author Laura Justice, PhD, CCC-SLP. "Parents can easily help their children become better readers by not only reading to them every night but by also pointing to the words as they read aloud to their child." Justice further explains that "although reading aloud is important to children's language development, its influence mostly affects oral language skills unless adults explicitly reference the written code. Talking to children about words that, for example, begin with the letter R after reading the word radio can greatly enhance literacy development."
The entire paper can be found at http://lshss.asha.org/cgi/content/abstract/0161-1461_2010_09-0056.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 140,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.
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