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Monday, February 22, 2021

How Reading Can Help Speech Development in Kids with Delayed Speech

My kids didn't have any speech delays in their first language, English. But when it comes to the local language, they've all struggled to acquire the language. Quite a few people suggested that I read them stories in the local language, that that's the best way to help develop speech. A reader who is also a speech therapist sent in this post about why reading helps children with their language skills.


Children reach certain milestones in their lives at their own paces considering that every child is unique. However, if the child does not react to sounds, their parents’ verbal interaction, or they do not articulate themselves, that could indicate a delayed speech. If this is something you’ve been noticing, you should consult an expert professional for an evaluation. Depending on their recommendations, make an appointment for online speech therapy. While the sessions are immensely helpful for your child's development, as a parent, you can help by reading and using books to encourage them to pick up ideas and words.

Reading With Your Child Creates a Secure Environment to Learn

Reading time with your child is more than just an incentive to develop proper speech. The time you spent together creates a warm loving environment where words are repeated progressively. Reading the same book multiple times provides a sense of security. Kids like to know what to expect and knowing the story and words gives them confidence. They’re encouraged to learn new words while repeating the ones they know and feel comfortable with.

Children Learn Best by Repetition - Science Has Proved It!

Every time a child repeats a word, new connections or synapses are formed between the neurons or brain cells. The faster the signals pass between the neurons, the better your child will learn a skill. Eventually, your baby will be able to recite the entire book from memory. As they practice, their pronunciation and diction improve. Parents can gently prod their child to speak clearly by asking them to repeat words correctly, and patiently allowing them to vocalize their thoughts. Nodding, smiling, and paying careful attention are great ways to encourage the child to speak.

Speech Therapy is Also About Understanding Concepts

Speech therapy is about teaching the child to communicate their thoughts and ideas. When reading aloud, you’ll ask questions to stimulate an understanding of the situation and thinking about what’s really happening. You'll help them envision the story in their minds. That's one of the reasons books have lots of illustrations with bright colors that appeal to young minds and attract and hold interest. Statements like, “Pat is eating an apple.” followed by “The apple is red.” helps the child make a connection between the statement and an activity they may have done. In just two sentences, you’ll teach multiple concepts like objects, color, and action.

Comparing Stories to Real-Life Situations

Books and reading help your child form a comprehension of the world around them. When you introduce a red apple and make the action of eating, the child will recognize the same situation as in the book. Don’t be surprised if your toddler runs off and gets the book and wants to read it again right away. As you continue to try new stories, the child will pick up new words, ideas, and thoughts. Be patient if your little one wants to read the same book almost a hundred times. That’s their way of committing the lesson to memory.

By Reading, You’ll Demonstrate How Words Are Spoken

As the speech therapist likely advised, when you read, you make practical demonstrations of how to speak. You’ll notice the child is watching your face, expression, lip movement, and facial contractions carefully. They’ll try to mimic the movement of your lips and imitate the sounds. These are great first steps for teaching speech. Point to each word as you say it aloud and if the child tries to repeat, give them time and encouragement. Clapping and applause provide positive reinforcement.

Reading to your child is an essential part of speech therapy sessions. You’ll develop a love for books while teaching them words, concepts, and an understanding of the world they live in.

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