Blog

Learning how print works

The home literacy environment is a well-established predictor of children’s language and literacy development (Frijters, Barron, & Brunello, 2000; Levy, Gong, Hessels, Evans, & Jared, 2006; Senechal & Lefevre, 2002). 

What IS the “home literacy environment” (HLE)? In research, this usually refers to activities by family members at home that relate to literacy learning as well as the literacy resources in the home and parental attitudes toward literacy. 

FREEBIE COMING UP!

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Have you heard of Developmental Language Disorder?

Did you know that approximately 1 in 14 children have a hidden condition known as Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)? DLD occurs when a person has difficulties understanding and/or using spoken language for no known reason. It often presents in early childhood as difficulties learning new words, finding it hard to put words together or telling a story. Children with DLD often go on to have challenges with school and learning to read.

Signs of DLD

Children with DLD are as intelligent as their peers, but may experience difficulties with:

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Q&A with Nicki Greenberg

Miss Kraken, The Fabulous Crab, Worm, Cats Do Not Like Birthdays. These are just some of the great books from Melbourne-based author and illustrator, Nicki Greenberg.

In October, we are featuring Nicki’s book, “Bitsy” in our 6 month membership and we were lucky enough to interview Nicki to hear the origins and behind-the-scenes story of the process of this book. So let’s get in to it…

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Q&A with Nicola Davies

“Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth” is a stunningly beautiful book with detailed illustrations and facts that will increase your appreciation of the world we live in and our part in maintaining and plant and animal diversity of this planet. We were lucky to sit down with Nicola Davies, the author of this beautiful book to understand a little more about how this book originated, the process behind creating this book and what we can expect next from Nicola.

Enjoy!

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It’s Playtime Parents!

Play.  Yes another buzz word.  Are we playing with our kids enough?  It’s quite an odd question really when a child’s natural instinct is to play.  A human’s natural instinct is to move and look how our sedentary we all are!  In today’s digital world where portable technology follows us everywhere, we have to consciously schedule time for things like exercise and play.

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Why first words don’t come first

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Parents love first words.  This milestone is one of the most exciting because all of a sudden your baby has become a real little person.  It is the icing on the cake when the first word is also your name.  “Dada” or “Mama” (heart melts).  As speech pathologists, we are often asked when should my child say their first words?  

Well the short answer is at about their first birthday but what many of us don’t realise is that there is a set of skills known as ‘pre-language’ that develop well before they are of ‘speaking age’.  In fact, there’s a lot you can be ‘looking’ for when you are busy ‘listening’ for first words.  Here are our top 3 ‘look fors’ before first words:

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3 new books in February 2021

It’s been a while but we’re back to share 3 new picture books released this month that have hit the mark! As usual, we love sharing picture books that read aloud well, show strong narrative structure, provide opportunities for vocabulary learning and conversation and that we think you and your kids will enjoy! We always couple our reviews with a top reading tip for each book. Enjoy our picks for February 2021!

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6 Books about Starting School

It’s that time of year, when parents dread covering all the school books (i.e. me!) and go about buying uniforms that are three sizes too big. Some of our little people are super excited about starting school, while others may quietly voice their concerns, or not voice them at all. What we do know, is that books are great ‘mirrors and windows’ – a metaphor initially conceived by Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita of Education at Ohio State University, who specialised in African American children’s literature. Books can be windows, offering new experiences and views of the world that are real, imagined or unfamiliar. They can also be mirrors, where the story is reflection of your own life and experiences.

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Single word books – yay or nay?

Every baby I know has a range of single word non-fiction books in their home, often ranging from different categories like ‘transport’, ‘shapes’ and ‘bath time’. The brightly coloured pictures of simple objects are a staple of every young family’s bookshelf. But how many of them do you really need and are they helpful to language development? Continue reading “Single word books – yay or nay?”

Which books are best?

One of our primary goals at Little Birdie Books is to make it easy for families to have great books in their home. We want books that will capture your child’s interest and encourage them to engage and communicate. As speech language pathologists, we are particularly passionate about finding books that promote language learning.

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A speech pathologist’s tips for your 3 year old

As a fellow parent of a three year old, I can relate to the wonder of 3 year olds – their amazing imagination, playfulness, ability to hold a conversation and of course, their skills in an ultimate stand-off with their parent when they just DO NOT want to do something. But what are the typical play and communication skills we look for in a three year old? And what can you do as a parent to continue to foster their development?

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4 year olds in the eyes of a speech pathologist

Four year olds are fascinating! A year that’s full of building on old skills while picking up brand-new ones at breakneck speed. Four is typically a lively, energetic, and sociable year. Confident about basics like speaking, running, drawing, and building things, your child is ready to use these skills to the fullest. Even more reserved  four year olds tend to enjoy the company of adults and children of all ages. Everybody seems fascinating now, from the postman to cousins to random new faces on the playground. But what do speech pathologist’s look for in a four year old?

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Background Knowledge – The Glue That Makes Learning Stick

This blog follows on from our previous one on The Simple View of Reading. Everything will make more sense if you read that one first!

Check out the audio blog here

So, if we know that Language Comprehension is essential for reading, we need to understand what it is. This is where we can refer back to the Reading Rope (Scarborough, 2001).

Let’s break down the first strand of language comprehension and talk about how you can support these in your everyday interactions with your child.

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7 Podcasts for Kids Under 7

As parents, we are well equipped in planning the food, the sights and the packing situation when we take our kids out for day trips or road trips but what about the car ride?

By popular request, we’ve compiled a combination of current favourite fiction and nonfiction podcasts for kids under 7 based on suitability of content, length and their ability to hold the attention of little ones! Let’s get to it:

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Just read the words Mum

It is a well-established fact that a ‘good parent’ reads to their child.  Many of us are familiar with Albert Einstein’s quote that “If you want your child to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want your child to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 

What many parents don’t know is that the most powerful storyteller in the house is the one who brings the story to life through conversation and play.  In fact, research shows that:

“Reading is most valuable when it is accompanied by interactive discussion, including questions to invite responses and opinions.” (Morrow & Gambrell, 2004; Storch & Whitehurts, 2002)

Below are 4 reasons why the most effective reader in your house is the person who doesn’t just read the words on the page, instead they turn ‘book-reading into a conversation’. Here’s why:

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Why first words don’t come first

IMG-8623

Parents love first words.  This milestone is one of the most exciting because all of a sudden your baby has become a real little person.  It is the icing on the cake when the first word is also your name.  “Dada” (heart melts).  As speech pathologists, we are often asked when should my child say their first words?  

Listen to the audio blog here

Well the short answer is at about their first birthday but what many of us don’t realise is that there is a set of skills known as ‘pre-language’ that develop well before they are of ‘speaking age’.  In fact, there’s a lot you can be ‘looking’ for when you are busy ‘listening’ for first words.  Here are our top 3 ‘look fors’ before first words:

Continue reading “Why first words don’t come first”

Delicious and Nutritious: Our Top 5 Cooking-themed Picture Books

Kids love cooking.  Well let me re-phrase, kids love food! So without further adieu, here are our top 5 cooking-themed books where the recipe for language learning is… just right! 

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Apps and websites for kids under 5

Many of us are allowing screentime more than ever before – if you are a parent who is working from home, or supervising school-aged children who are learning at home, chances are, you may have a little one under 5 who is demanding your attention more than ever before. While a common mantra amongst parents, educators and speech pathologist is “There is no app to replace your lap.”, the reality of the current situation during COVID-19 has seen some of you ask us for apps we would recommend as speech pathologists that are not ‘just games’ and may benefit your child’s learning. So here is our wrap-up of 5 apps and websites suitable for kids under 5.

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Picture Books for a Pandemic: Our Top 3

Life may never be the same again.  As adults, we will remember 2020 for the rest of our lives.  In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic will become a page in history for future generations. 

But how will our children remember it?

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The Simple View of Reading

You may have seen that the teaching of reading has recently been brought back into the media spotlight with various camps arguing about the key elements of reading instruction. We are not here to argue those specific approaches however we ARE about bringing the science of reading to a wider audience. So let us introduce you to the The Simple View of Reading because knowing this will empower you as parents to start your children on the path to reading success BEFORE they receive reading instruction. And no, it does not involve learning the alphabet and sight word flashcards!

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Language of Behaviour: How to use the power of words to parent

To say the task of ‘parenting’ is overwhelming, would be a gross understatement.  Behaviour management is a complicated beast:  Rules vs Freedom.  Boundaries vs Flexibility.  Bully vs. Pushover.  This is all in a day’s work.  But what if we took the emotion out of the equation and just examined behaviour through a ‘language lens’?  Could it be as simple as a ‘game of semantics’? Let’s look a little closer at what this ‘language of behaviour’ involves:

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Tripping in the car with kids?

‘I spy with my little eye’ another parent resorting to screen time to avoid the overplayed car games or backseat arguments between siblings on long car trips.  Guilty! As a child, I remember playing “punch buggy” which involved hitting your sibling when you spotted a VW, this was before devices of course. This generations’ version of ‘punch buggy’ is known as ‘Spotto’ and involves counting yellow cars (with no punching involved).   While many car games like ‘Spotto’, ‘Punch buggy’ or ‘I spy’ are observation games, these car trips are also an opportune time for your children to practice their vocabulary and word finding skills.  So when you have the energy these holidays, here are three easy and fun word games to play with your little people in the car that will build their vocabulary skills (plus you can rest assured that you will be setting your child up for literacy and life!)
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