Teachers on Call

Archive for June, 2016

The Connection Between Speaking and Literacy

Featuring: Haley Libman, S-LP(C), Speech StarsSpeech-Language Pathologist

Early verbal skills are linked to reading, spelling and academic achievement.  Children with weaker verbal abilities are more likely to experience difficulties learning to read and write. There are many ways you can stimulate your child’s verbal skills at home.

Strategies to Stimulate Early Literacy Skills:

(1)     Play with Words

  • Rhyming
    • Identify words that “sound the same at the end”
    • Sing nursery rhymes and talk about the words that rhyme
    • Create lists of words that rhyme for example, “let’s think of words that rhyme with hat….bat, mat, pat.”
  • Clap/ stomp/ hop out syllables in words
  • Blend sounds into words.  For example, “/b/, /a/, /t/ make bat”
  • Identifying first sounds in words and last sounds in words
    • For example, “mouse starts with the /m/ sound”
    • Play I spy and focus on words that begin with different sounds. For example, “I spy something that starts with the /m/ sound”
    • Talk about the sounds at the beginning of words.  For example, “teddy starts with the t-t-t sound, let’s think of other words that start with the /t/ sound, “tummy, tall, tail, team….”

(2)     Alphabet Knowledge

  • Sing the alphabet song
  • Talk about the letters in your child’s name, and look for the letters in your environment

(3)     Expose your child to print:

  • Play with alphabet magnets on your fridge, talk about the letters and their sounds
  • Read books (not just your I-phone) in front of your child
  • Read with your child, and track the words with your finger
  • Create shopping lists with your child, and let your child hold the list when you shop together
  • Point out street signs
  • Point out familiar signs like Starbucks and McDonalds
  • Visit your library

You Can Do These Activities Anywhere:

  • Many of these activities are talking games – they can be done anywhere!
  • You can play rhyming games in the car, or on the way to soccer practice.  You can talk about your shopping list as you are shopping with your child.  You can point out signs as you walk to the park.

Make it fun and enjoy.


About Haley Libman, S-LP(C), Founder of Speech Stars

Haley is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist who received her Master of Clinical Sciences Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Western Ontario.  She is registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO) as well as Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC). Haley has worked at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids), The Speech and Stuttering Institute and within various schools.  Clients range in age from infancy to adulthood. Haley is an enthusiastic clinical educator for students in the profession and has lectured about stuttering to speech-language pathology students at The University of Toronto.

Follow Speech Stars on Facebook


Reference: Anderson,N., and Shames, G. Human Communication Disorders. An Introduction. Seventh Edition. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. Print.

Posted in: Special Education Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

Five Ways To Learn And Play Over The Summer Holidays

Preventing the “summer slide”, a loss of learning over the summer, may be on your mind as you plan summer holidays and camps, along with a healthy dose of down time. We have five ways you can easily incorporate learning into summer activities to maximize the fun and the learning!

Play Games

Traditional board games such as Scrabble are great for family fun while developing new vocabulary.  Practice math skills with a new hit, Moby, described by some as the number version of Scrabble. We also enjoy these math board games. You can also make your own version of ‘Go Fish’ by writing number facts or spelling words onto index cards and playing a few rounds a week!

Visit The Library

Many libraries have summer reading programs which encourage children to read throughout the summer with fun incentives like stickers and tracking their reading in notebooks or online. These programs are a wonderful way to introduce new genres and authors to your child especially reluctant tweens and teens readers since they are free from school book lists. Once your child signs up for a library card they can even borrow books digitally!

Make Math Matter

Put your child(ren) in charge of some summer meal planning and give them a budget to spend. Depending on their age, encourage them to take charge from the recipe planning through meal preparation. This will help your child learn valuable life skills while growing their independence and financial literacy.

Road Trip Fun

Increase the fun in the car while driving to your holiday destination by planning some playful learning opportunities. We love the traditional, I Spy Games or spotting License Plates. Read this list to find eight more road trip games to add to your repertoire. Don’t forget to pack a bag of books at your child’s reading level or if they’re not reading yet, choose books you’ve previously read together. If your child gets carsick, download some audiobooks that they whole family will enjoy (Harry Potter, anyone?!)

Learn To Geocache

Geocaching is an adventurous way to have fun as a family wherever you go. Explore new places while using GPS coordinates to find a treasure. Your child will learn navigational skills and feel like a detective as they follow search high and low for the hidden cache. Bring along some simple trinkets to replace the treasure you chose as a memento of your adventure.

Looking for more ways to keep young minds active over the summer holidays? Read our suggestions on Help! We’ve Got Kids.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

Leave a Comment (0) →