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Reading for kids

Reading for kids

21 Jun 2011

“When should we start reading to our children?” is something many new parents ask.

Cathy Shorten, a speech pathologist based at Cooma in ADHC’s Southern Region, has the answer to that question as well as plenty of tips for new parents.

Cathy has been the local face of campaigns by Speech Pathology Australia and has been interviewed on radio about the role of speech therapists in helping children overcome speaking problems and educating parents in the role they can play.

“We recommend to all parents whose children are late in talking that they read to them every day and also recommend the right books for them.”

Cathy says it is very important for parents to read to their children at home from a very early age, in fact the earlier the better – even from when they are babies, because this helps them develop their language.

Reading to children also helps them to learn words, what words mean and to put sentences together.

“This gives them a good foundation for when they go to school.”

What makes a good book for kids? According to Cathy it must be lots of fun to read.

“It’s not just the children who enjoy having stories read to them, most parents get a great deal of joy reading books to their children.

”Good authors include Mem Fox and Pamela Allen, who have written  outstanding kids books for children which have won awards from Speech Pathology Australia.”

Cathy says that the Dr Seuss books are terrific for developing imagination and looking at rhymes and words that sound the same and books by Colin and Jenny Hawkins help make children aware of sounds in words such as ‘pat the cat.’

 “The ‘Spot the dog’ books and other lift the flap books are very popular with children and help get them involved in reading.

“A story that teaches rhyming is ‘The Terrible Plop’, a fun story for young children about an apple that falls from a tree makes a loud plop and scares all the animals in the forest.”

Cathy says that having stories read to them on a regular basis give them a good foundation for when they are able to learn more when they are at preschool, or school.

She suggests that parents should not wait for a cue from their child as the role of adult to introduce books – and to do that in a fun and enjoyable way.

“It is very import to make reading fun, especially for kids who struggle with learning to read,

“Reading to kids most days is the best thing parents can do to help get their son or daughter ready to learn to read and have a love of books.

Cathy says that as they get older, children pay attention to longer stories, which helps develop their attention span, their listening skills and even their memory, because they remember what’s happened in the story.

She has some advice for parents who might try to skip a couple of pages.

“Children remember the stories they hear and will notice if anything is missing in the story.”


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