As those of you who have followed me for some time would know. The road of speech and articulation has been a rocky one for us.
Annabelle from a young age had issues with her health and hearing and subsequently had surgery to take her tonsils and adenoids out, and have grommets put in.
From about the age of three, we began speech therapy. But it took some time to find a therapist we all clicked with and only really began to see some improvement when she started kinder and saw a therapist she liked for an extended period of time.
Over those few years, it was extremely overwhelming for us as parents, to know that she had these issues to overcome, but not know what or how we could help her further.
It of course then impacted her development in other areas, not being able to articulate what it was she wanted or needed, and this was magnified when around other children.
Last year, we were asked to trial an educational tool called Sound School, a preschool book created by a speech, language and literacy clinician which teaches children the letters of the alphabet and their sounds.
As you can imagine, we were extremely eager to try out the program out and from a very early stage, formed a fast appreciation for such a tool, having experienced what we have!
Basically, Sound School helps children build their early literacy skills, and helps provide a foundation for their reading, writing and spelling skills.
It also provides parents with the support to assist their children along the way.
At first glance, the book appears to go through each letter and the corresponding sound it makes through its electronic keyboard that makes the sound for each letter. But once working through the book a little, it becomes evident there is so much more involved and this really is a clever little resource!
Each letter in the book has also been illustrated to represent something that begins with that letter! For example, Pancake Pete looks like a ‘P’ up the pole.
This is helping children not just make the sounds but also associate the letter visually and helping them identify it. I believe this is called ‘phonics’.
Once you’ve read the book, there are additional cards to continue with and work through other sounds.
We’ve been using the program now for over 4 months, with both Annabelle and Teddy! And have found it’s been a wonderful resource for both girls for their stages of development.
It’s also one of the few educational resources I’ve found that engages the girls for any length of time! Which is a big thing for us!
It also gives parents the confidence to help their kids make the correct sounds as it explains how the sounds should physically be made, the position of the tongue and where the sound should be coming from (ie. back of the mouth).
This was huge for me, as I had really struggled and felt completely helpless throughout Annabelle’s whole experience.
Through working with Sound School, I was also really shocked to learn that children who are not exposed to the right pre-literacy skills prior to entering school are at significant risk of reading failure.
A PISA study in 2015 revealed that 39% of Australian students do not achieve the basic standards in reading and that 44% of all Australian lack the basic literacy skills required for everyday living.
It’s scary when looking at these figures, and a huge motivator for myself as a parent to get as involved as I can in helping develop my girls’ early literacy skills.
You can check out more about the Sound School Learning Book and Cards, as well as the background behind the program all on their website here.
They also delve a lot deeper into the research behind the book and why it’s so important to help children in developing these skills as early as possible.
To purchase the book and cards kit, visit their website here.