Did you know that there is a direct correlation between listening to speech and reading? Recognizing a sound and connecting it to a specific letter is an early skill in learning to read. For a child with hearing loss, this can be a challenge.
Early identification of hearing loss and early intervention can make a significant difference in a child’s ability to develop listening and language skills. Matching a sound to a letter, (e.g. D in Dog), is an early literacy skill called sound-letter association. Early and consistent exposure to speech sound helps a child’s brain learn to distinguish differences and make associations between letters and the sounds that they make.
Research has shown that a child needs at least five to six years of consistent auditory exposure before the brain is developed enough to make the connection needed between letters and their sounds. Delays in reading occur when a child’s developing brain does not have this consistent and early exposure.
Parents and caregivers of children with hearing loss can help foster the basic listening skills needed for reading by making sure their child’s amplification is worn consistently. Read to your child daily and allow them to see your face and the pictures in the book you have selected. Books that rhyme and repeat are terrific first books for infants and toddlers.
Visit the Kalamazoo Public Library website at www.kpl.gov for age appropriate book selections.
By Kate Hamann, Senior Audiologist