Blog

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!

Continue reading “The Simple View of Reading”

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:

Continue reading “Language of Behaviour: How to use the power of words to parent”

What if my child doesn’t know his ABCs?

At this time of year, we know that parents may be wondering, “Is my child ready for school?” coupled with potential doubts about their child’s abilities – “She only knows a few letters of the alphabet.”. If that is you, read on!

Firstly, we need to put it out there reading is not a natural process. It is a taught skill and in contrast to learning to talk, which is a wonderful development that happens (for the most part) naturally.

Nearly four decades of scientific research on how children learn to read supports an emphasis on phoneme awareness and phonics in a literature-rich environment. These findings challenge the belief that children learn to read naturally. (Lyon, G.R., 1998).

What is a literature-rich environment?

Having books read to them and having access to looking at books themselves is a good starting point however a literacy-rich environment demonstrates how literacy is useful in everyday life by allowing children to interact with print/texts independently and with parents/educators. This helps children understand WHY they need print, WHAT they use it for and HOW it is useful in everyday life. In other words, it needs to fun, engaging and meaningful to them.

What are some examples of print in everyday life?

  • Your child’s name!
  • Common shop names (e.g. McDonalds, Woolworths)
  • Street signs (e.g. SLOW)
  • Symbols (e.g. arrow, cross)

What do I do after I find this print?

Point it out and be excited when you discover it!
“Oh, look at this letter S on the SLOW sign. It’s just like the S at the start of your name, Sam.”

Talk about symbols and what they mean.
“A symbol is something you can read but it doesn’t have any words. See this arrow – I know that the way it is pointing is the way I need to go.”

Use the terminology
“Ah yes, that is the letter ‘M’ and underneath it is the word ‘McDonald’s”

If you’d like to read more about print awareness, check out more posts here on our blog or our Instagram.

Our play activities incorporate print is lots of ways – see all the themes and membership options available here, or see the activities in action here, here and here!

There will be more posts coming about phonemic awareness – another very important foundational skill that supports learning to read.

Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies

Lyon, G. Reid. (1998). Educational Leadership, v55 n6 p14-18.

Language skills may have the greatest impact

Preparing young children for school is the goal for many parents and preschool programs. Research has told us that the more skills children bring into their schooling – in basic maths, reading and social skills – the more likely they will succeed in those same areas in school.

Superskill for school success

But is there a superskill to school readiness? We sure think so – LANGUAGE. A study published in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly say that a child’s vocabulary and grammar not only predict future success with written and spoken language, but it also impacts performance in other subject areas.

Dr Amy Pace and her colleagues looked at data for more than 1200 children in the US and looked at several measures of academic and social skills at specific ages and grade levels, including upon school entry and in grades 1, 3 and 5.

The findings reveal that of the skills and milestones evaluated — social/emotional, attention, health, reading, maths and language — only language skills, when a child entered school, predicted his or her performance both within that subject area and most others (maths, reading and social skills) from first through fifth grade.

Why does language affect so many areas?

Language is a foundational skill in social interaction. If you have strong language skills, you will be able to communicate with peers and teachers.

Language skills help with executive functioning – the ability to understand follow instructions from the teacher.

Language skills help with maths and science – terminologyand abstract concepts rely on the knowledge of language.

When kids learn to read at school, strong language skills means they can understand WHAT they read.

How can I support my child’s language skills?

Talk, read and play! Ongoing interactions and conversations with your child about things that interest them will encourage them to explore, ask questions, make comments and retell stories.

Our NEW 6 month membership has just launched – the perfect addition to your home with a high quality picture book, reading guide and play activity arriving to your door each month. Designed by speech pathologists and tested by mums, this will get your kids talking, reading, playing and succeeding!

Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies

Pace, et al. (2018). Measuring success: Within and cross-domain predictors of academic and social trajectories in elementary school, Early Childhood Research Quarterly; Volume 46, 1st Quarter 2019, Pages 112-125.

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!)
Continue reading “Tripping in the car with kids?”

Our favourite new books in February 2020

What’s great about us already being in the SECOND MONTH of the year (where has the time gone?) is that the new books being published are on the increase again as most publishers go heavy on Christmas books in December and have a quieter month in January. Let’s get straight to our top picks for February 2020.

Continue reading “Our favourite new books in February 2020”

Are you raising ‘brave kids’?

‘Brave kids’ is definitely up there on my mental list of ‘how to be a good parent’ but how do we achieve this? Your guess is as good as mine!

Continue reading “Are you raising ‘brave kids’?”

Is my child ready for school?

What communication skills are needed for your child to have a smooth start to school? As speech pathologists, we play an important role in working together early childhood educators and parents to support children to meet their understanding and speaking developmental milestones. Let’s look at some of these key communication skills and read on to see tips on how you can continue to support your child to develop these important life skills!

Continue reading “Is my child ready for school?”

Help! Toy-nado alert!

My house has been swallowed by a toy-nado! Like many new parents, I am again eating my words from a past life.  I swore I would not spoil my children with ‘stuff’ nor let every space in my house be ravaged by a toy-nado of plastic, but I have failed miserably.  It is well established that play is vital for children’s emotional, social and cognitive growth and “Toys are the tools of play”.  So tonight’s blog will attempt to address the following:  What are the best kind of toys to buy and how do you get the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ when it comes to toys?

Continue reading “Help! Toy-nado alert!”