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Communicating First

A recent survey of headteachers found that concerns about lack of school readiness have increased, with 97% of respondents identifying speech, language and communication needs as their greatest concern. Nearly three three quarters of health visitors also report that they have seen a significant growth in numbers of children with speech and communication delay over the past two years.

Why are we concerned? There have been a number of key reports published recently, for example the Communication Trust's Talking about a Generation and the Early Intervention Foundation's Language as a Wellbeing Indicator that have highlighted the importance of children's early language development for their life chances. While most children develop language easily, a significant minority will have difficulties.

Let's Talk About Food!

It's Healthy Eating Week so let's talk about food!

Children learn new words best in their context. Shopping for, preparing, cooking and eating food are all great activities for introducing vocabulary. They provide lots of opportunities to reinforce the learning of new words.

Here's some ideas to get you started:

Make a fruit saladapples

Making a fruit salad is an excellent language activity. You can name the fruit, name the colour and describe the size, shape and texture. Talk about all the actions like peeling, chopping, cutting and slicing. Peeling a banana or an orange, cutting an apple into slices or grapes in half.

Then when you eat the delicious fruit salad you can talk about all the individual ingredients again - how you prepared them, their same and different colours, how they feel in your mouth and what they taste like. Talk about it as you do it!

BakerJakeBaking and cooking

Cooking and baking are lovely activities for naming ingredients but also for all the action words you can introduce. Mixing, stirring, pouring, cutting and many more.

Action words are easier for a child to learn if they can participate – ‘mixing’ ingredients in a bowl or ‘pouring’ water from a jug. Don’t forget to name the spoons, bowls and jugs. It gives these words a contextual meaning which makes them easier to remember.

Bercow: 10 Years On

e Bercow: 10 Years On

10 years ago I was delighted to work with Professor Sue Roulstone gathering evidence for the Bercow Review. We engaged with and listened to parents, children and practitioners across England about their experiences of speech and language therapy services. We gathered our findings into this report as a key part of the evidence that informed the Bercow Report.

The Bercow Review found services to be highly variable and often inadequate. The final report highlighted 40 recommendations and the Government accepted all of these. There followed the National Year of Speech Language and Communication led by Jean Gross which provided many exciting opportunities for raising awareness of speech language and communication needs.

Top Tips for Sharing Stories

NL May 172National Share-a-Story Month gives us a great excuse to spend time celebrating and having fun with books. However, reading stories and looking at picture books together is one of the best ways in which you can support children's spoken and written language development. 

Here are some Clickety Top Tips for sharing Early Soundplay stories:

Hands up who wants to talk school

The State of Education 2016 survey found that in a third of primary schools more than half of new pupils are below the expected level of school readiness. Delayed speech was identified by 78% of school leaders as one of the most common reasons for this, alongside social skills and lack of resilience. You can read the report here.

Childrenanimals2At Clickety we believe effective communication skills are crucial, especially when a child is starting school. Anne Ayre, Speech and Language Therapist, was invited to write a guest article for PACEY's 'School Ready' feature in their Summer 2015 Childcare Professional magazine. 'Hands up who wants to talk school' is full of tips and ideas to help you boost children's speech and language skills to prepare them for school. You can read the article here.