Language and Literacy: Read, Sing, Talk, Play

A NEW campaign is helping improve speech and literacy in young children in the Greater Bendigo region.

Bendigo Health’s ‘Read, Sing, Talk, Play Together Everyday’ campaign is giving parents and carers tips to aid literacy and language development in zero to five-year-olds.

The hospital’s language and literacy project officer Gabby Barrett said those years could set children up for life.

“The more words kids hear in those early years, the more likely they are to succeed,” she said. “It’s the really basic passing on of information that can help.”

Read more: Early years literacy push in Bendigo as experts recommend parents and children read together

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 7.9 per cent of children in Greater Bendigo are vulnerable when it comes to language and cognitive skills. That is higher than the state average of 6.4 per cent.

By the time a child reaches the age of five, almost 90 per cent of their brain is developed. More than a million new connections form in a child’s brain every second during their first five years of life.

Mrs Barrett said it was as simple as reading books aloud to your child everyday.

Parents and carers could also sing songs and nursery rhymes, play with puppets and props, or even just talk to their child – ask them questions and encourage them to finish phrases.

“Reading with children is really about looking at pictures and commenting rather than focusing on words, especially in those younger years,” Mrs Barrett said.

“You can make the biggest change for them just by talking. Use as many words as you can to promote their vocabulary.”

Mrs Barrett said more information about the campaign would be coming out across social media and other platforms in the coming weeks.

Parents and carers could also find information at bendigoreads.com.au

CREDIT: Bendigo Advertiser May 2020 Words Tara Cosoleto Image Darren Howe