• When should I start reading to my child, and how can I make it interesting?

    You can begin reading to your child as early as infancy. Incorporating reading into your child’s daily routine is not only a great source of stimulation but it will help develop your child’s language skills and interest in books. In the early years of development, you can help build your child’s vocabulary by labelling the items pictured on that page (e.g. elephant, bird). Once your child begins to recognize the items, you can expand by including descriptive words (e.g. big elephant, red bird). You can also help develop your child’s pre-literacy skills by talking about letters and sounds and by playing word games with a few selected words on that page. For example, “Does cat rhyme with hat? “or “How many words do you know that start with the sound “ssss”?”
    When reading stories to your child, you can monitor comprehension by making comments, asking questions about the characters and events, and by asking your child to retell the story in his/her own words. Just remember to have fun and make reading a positive and enjoyable experience for you and your child!

    • Will my child's language development be delayed if he is exposed to two languages at home?

    For a typically developing child, if the child receives the right amount of exposure in both languages, this shouldn't be the case.  Research shows that children raised in bilingual environments achieve the major language milestones at the same age as monolingual children, if they are given enough exposure in those languages. Ideally, children raised in bilingual environments should be exposed 50% of the time to one language and 50% of the time to the other language. However, if the exposure to one language is too limited, then they might show delayed development in that language. 

    • How common are language delays? Is my child the only one?

    Language delays vary in severity and affect many school aged children. Language delays are most commonly identified in children in the early elementary grades.  Reading difficulties are identified later. Estimates of prevalence range from 2-19% in school age children.

    • Why is phonological awareness so important for my child?

    Phonological awareness is important because it is a basis for learning to read. Children begin to read by listening to others read aloud, then they begin to recognize sounds in words, sound out words by themselves, and then begin to recognize familiar words.
    By playing word games, children learn to recognize patters among words and use this knowledge to read recognize new words.

    • Why is making the “R” sound so hard for some children?

    The “R” sound is hard for some children because it is difficult to see the tongue when you say it and it is hard to explain to a child how to make it. Additionally, the “R” sound is difficult because other sounds in the word may influence the way the “R” sounds and the way you say it. Look in the mirror and try saying these words slowly: robin, horn, and cover. Notice how the “R” sound looks and feels different as you say each work. In horn and cover, the “R” sound is different because of the vowels next to it.