The Importance of a Parent Reading to a Child With a Speech Delay

By Alison LaFortune
Children with speech delays can get practice hearing word sounds when their parents read aloud to them.
Children with speech delays can get practice hearing word sounds when their parents read aloud to them.

A speech delay in a child means that he has difficulty with the articulation of words. If a parent is concerned that her child has a speech delay, she should talk to her pediatrician or a speech therapist about the appropriate developmental milestones. In addition to working with a therapist, parents can read out loud to their child to help with the speech delay.

Age-Appropriate Books

Parents should pick books that will keep their child's interest and be at her level of understanding. At a young age, children may be intrigued by books with textures and lots of materials to touch. If the child is struggling with words, the tactile appeal of these books may heighten her interest in reading and listening to her parents read aloud.

Practicality of Picture Books

Books that have plenty of pictures in them may interest a child who struggles with using words. The visual aspect of the book will engage the child, and he can begin to match the picture to the words as his parent reads to him. Once the child becomes more familiar with the book, the parent can ask the child to identify the pictures. This is good practice for becoming more proficient at naming objects.

Repetition is Key

Hearing a book read aloud is helpful to a child with a speech delay because she gets the chance to hear words pronounced properly. To make the most of this activity, parents can do repetitive readings of the same group of books. The more the child hears particular words read aloud, the more likely she is to learn how to say them and use them appropriately in context.

Choose Rhyming Books

Rhyming books, in particular, are helpful for reading out loud to children with speech delays. They have a rhythmic appeal to children's ears, and are therefore more likely to keep their attention. Stories with a singsong tone may be easier for children to remember and repeat back to their parents. Plus, the rhyming helps children to understand word sounds, which is a key part of overcoming a speech delay.

About the Author

Alison LaFortune specializes in articles on education and parenting. She has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education, and taught seventh grade science and language arts for five years.