The ABC’s of literacy

Literacy learning needs of children with hearing loss are addressed at CHC in NYC

Dana Selznick, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The back-to-school season is an ideal time to give literacy the attention it deserves! The ability to read and write is important for any child to succeed in school and in all aspects of life. But children with hearing loss require extra support from parents to ensure he or she develops age-appropriate literacy skills.

Parent-to-child reading – and later child-to-parent and independent reading – all play a big role in your child’s journey to communicating with spoken language. Reading with a parent is a uniquely meaningful experience for a child with hearing loss because it integrates listening, speech, language and thinking, along with reading.

At-home reading is an essential part of CHC’s family-centered, listening and spoken language program (LSL). The time that a child can spend with a CHC therapist is limited to several hours a week. CHC families learn to take an active role in continuing the intervention at home, and reading is a significant part of that. It’s one reason why children in our LSL program achieve their full speech, language and listening potential.

As a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I work closely with CHC parents (and teachers) to make sure their kids get the support they need to thrive academically. With the arrival of a new school year, please consider these tips and recommendations to create meaningful reading experiences and foster strong literacy skills – at home and in school.

Literacy learning tips for children with hearing loss

  • Nightly Reading – Encourage nightly reading at all age levels by establishing a reading routine and sticking to it. You’ll promote language skills while creating a special nightly experience. Be sure to discuss the book you’re reading to aid comprehension and point out words and images as you go along. Reading charts can keep track of your progress and help instill a love of reading.
  • New Vocabulary – Be sure to regularly introduce new stories so that your child encounters new sounds and vocabulary. Exposure to story lines encourages the use of new vocabulary that children may not encounter in their everyday language.
  • Book Recommendations – I recommend visiting the Scholastic website and searching titles by age group. For preschool and elementary students, I really like the “If You Give” series by Laura Numeroff and the “Little Old Lady” series by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. You can chose titles that focus on a letter sound that your child’s therapist is working on, such as “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” for the letter sound “p”. Having your child repeat back sentences and dialogue from the story fosters sequential memory.
  • Technology Considerations – It’s vitally important to make sure your child has maximum access to sound at home and in school. CHC’s Back-to-School Audiology Tips by pediatric audiologist Anita Stein-Meyers will help you and your child’s teacher identify and fix common problems that can occur with hearing technology.
  • Advocate at School – Reach out to teachers at the start of the school year to make sure they understand your child’s listening challenges in the classroom and take appropriate action. Below are links to letters and fact sheets that we suggest you share not only with teachers but coaches too. So important to educate the educators!

To use the letter templates, you’ll need to download the file first and use the “Save As” function. When you open the saved version of the file, the fill-in fields will appear. The description for each field is visible when you hover over each box.

Letter for Teacher of Student with Cochlear Implants »

Letter for Teacher of Student with Hearing Aids »

Tips for Teachers of Children with Hearing Loss fact sheet »

Tips for Teachers of Preschoolers with Hearing Loss fact sheet »

Tips for Coaches of Children with Hearing Loss fact sheet »

Educational support services

Dana Selznick of CHC in NYC is an education specialist with expertise in working with students with hearing loss and APD

Dana Selznick, MA, MEd
Deaf Education Specialist

CHC is here for you every step of the way in your child’s listening, language, social-emotional and educational development. That includes educational support services to help your child with hearing loss get the most out of his or her educational experience.

Educational support is a vitally important step in your child’s journey with hearing loss because it bridges the gap between center-based speech/language therapy and the academic environment.

Educational support services at CHC include:

  • Reading and writing support
  • Organization/classroom strategies
  • IEP support
  • Social pragmatic language groups
  • School observations
  • In-services
  • School placement consultations

Contact me at (917) 305-7855 or dselznick@chchearing.org to learn more about these and other educational support services that can help your child become a more confident and independent learner.

Happy reading and best wishes for a successful school year!