There is an important connection between strong speech skills and reading. If a child can say the sounds, then he or she will also be able to read and write the sounds. A child that struggles with speech, will most likely also struggle with reading, writing and comprehension skills. Research suggests that the amount of interactive language a child is exposed to in the home correlates greatly with the development of verbal expressions and reading skills. On today’s post, I am going to share with you 6 easy ways to improve language skills at home.

Read Together Daily

Often parents stop reading to their children once the child learns to read independently. This is a big mistake. Parental reading skills are usually more advanced, so they can expose children to higher grammar, vocabulary, images, and ideas in speech. Be aware when reading to your child that they often may not ask what an unfamiliar word means. When coming across an unfamiliar word, you can ask your child to define it and if necessary, provide them with the definition, synonym, antonym or physical enactment of the meaning.

Don’t Interrupt or Fill in the Blanks

Patience is essential for encouraging speech and improving language skills in children. Give your child time to put their thoughts into words and opportunities to practice. If simply waiting doesn’t do the trick for a child with word retrieval problems, then prompt your child with a ridiculous alternative. For example, if your child says, I’m looking for the, uh… um… er…,” you can ask “rhinoceros… leprechaun?” Usually after a few giggles, the child will relax enough to find the right words.

Spend Time Each Day Describing Details and Events

You can spend each day having your child describe the details of their day or particular topics of interest or ideas. The dinner table tends to be a natural conversation venue for the family to talk and catch up on daily events. Also, before turning out the lights at bedtime is another great opportunity to let your child fill you in on the day’s events as well as create conversation and bonding time in a relaxed and comfortable environment. If your child speaks very little or has nothing to say, you can provoke them by taking a stance with which you know they will disagree.  For instance, if your child loves legos, you can say, “some people think that buying legos is a big waste of money. What do you think about that?” I guarantee you that will get them talking!

Make Sure Your Child’s Vocabulary is Constantly Challenged

Continue to build and challenge your child’s vocabulary. Introduce a new word and offer its definition or use it in context that is easily defined. For example, “I think I will drive you in the vehicle this morning instead of making you walk to school.”

Avoid Electronic Devices Whenever Possible

Try to avoid electronic devices and television whenever possible to encourage language and speech development.  Research has shown that the encounters that best improve language growth are interactive – back and forth, face-to-face exchanges conducted in a relatively quiet background.  Children that are receiving more noise stimulation than language stimulation will fail to improve language skills that they need to succeed in school or to communicate effectively with their parents, teachers and peers.

I hope you enjoyed this post today!

And while you are here… please check out the PRIDE Reading Program.  This is an Orton-Gillingham program that is heavily scripted, super easy to use, very affordable and used by homeschooling parents, tutors and teachers with great success.  Let me know what you think. Thank you for reading my post today!


Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridereadingprogram.com or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com

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