Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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Where and How to Get Helpclick to print Print

Written by: Heather Sample Gosse, University of Oklahoma and Meredith Lovell, University of Alberta

The reading section of the Handbook to Language and Literacy Development 0 to 60 Months provides an introduction to children's reading development from birth to five years and an outline of the skills and proficiencies considered typical for children at specific ages. The reading development of individual children will, however, vary depending on a variety of factors, including his or her general language development and exposure to reading and writing models in daily life. If you have questions about your child's reading and writing development after reviewing the information on this website, contact a Public Health Nurse, Reading Specialist, or a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Public Health Nurses are professional nurses who work with families in the community and receive training for educating families about how to aid their children's development in many areas, including literacy. Public Health Nurses offer demonstrations of how to read with and interact with children to develop literacy abilities. They also provide valuable links to and contact with community resources for families, such as preschool programs, reading and language clinics, and many other services available in the community for parents with young children. Public Health Nurses are typically employed through public health authorities, departments of health, or community programs. To find your community's Public Health Nurse, contact your local public health authority.

Reading Specialists are professionals with specific training and experience in reading and writing development. Reading Specialists work directly with families or through schools to determine whether a child's reading and writing capabilities are typical for children of the same age, and whether delays exist. When delays exist, Reading Specialists refer children for testing or perform their own assessments to determine the specific nature of any possible delay and suggest options for helping children improve their reading abilities. Reading Specialists are employed throughout Canada in private clinics or through arrangements with local agencies, such as schools or public health authorities. To find a Reading Specialist in your area, contact your child's school or future school, or the public health authority. Local schools will have information on services available for school-age children.

Speech-Language Pathologists are professionals with specific training and experience in speech and language development. Many Speech-Language Pathologists who work with preschoolers have expertise and experience in promoting early reading and writing skills. The services of Speech-Language Pathologists are particularly important when delays in early reading and writing development may relate to speech and language difficulties. They work with children and their families and caregivers to determine whether a speech and language delay exists, and provide treatment and education if a problem is found. They are employed throughout Canada in private clinics and in public agencies such as child development centres, preschools, schools, hospitals, public health units, and rehabilitation centres. To find a Speech-Language Pathologist in your area, contact your local public health unit. Local schools will have information on services available for school-age children.

A great deal can be done to assist children who experience difficulty or show signs of possible difficulties in learning to read. To help children become more successful with these vital skills seek help. Early detection of any difficulty is critical. When in doubt, check it out!

Sample Gosse, H., & Lovell, M. (2008). When and How to Get Help for Children's Reading. In L.M. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of language and literacy development: A Roadmap from 0 - 60 Months. [online], pp. 1 - 2. London, ON: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Available at: Handbook of language and literacy development