Helping your child to transition to school life 

Is your child starting school?  

Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in their child's speech, language and early literacy development and in helping them get a great start. 

With 23% of Australian children entering school behind in language and literacy development there can never be enough emphasis on the significance of communication and literacy. These foundational skills form the groundwork for academic success, social interaction, and overall well-being.

How to support children's language development at home

Literacy, which involves reading, writing, and spelling, is a gateway to an individual's participation in society across their life.

Literacy learning begins in the preschool period before children start school. So nurturing early language and literacy skills from the earliest stages is vital.

Shared book reading

One way to help children get the best start at school is to start the reading journey at home. Shared book reading is important in supporting oral language and early literacy development.

Best books for language and literacy development

But what should you read to your child and what are the best books for children's language and literacy development?

Speech Pathology Australia 2023 Book of The Year Awards feature some of the best shortlisted books that parents and caregivers can use to help children grasp the nuances of language, sound patterns, and expand their vocabulary.

Communication and speech sound development resources

If you are wondering about your child's communication and speech sound development, you can view the Association's resources and find out more about finding a speech pathologist who can help.

The National Early Language and Literacy strategy emphasises that families are key in children's early language and literacy development. Additionally, it underscores the significance of early childhood education and care environments in shaping these foundational skills.

The role of speech pathologists in education settings

The specialised knowledge of certified practising speech pathologists (CPSP) in language and literacy is instrumental in supporting the development of children's communication from an early age. Speech pathologists focus on optimising communication and swallowing across the lifespan.

A (CPSP) can assess speech, language and communication skills and collaborate with families, preschools, and schools to implement effective strategies for children's ongoing support. Children may experience significant consequences should these needs not be identified and responded to in a timely manner.

Therefore, access to speech pathologists in educational settings is essential in addressing the barriers related to speech, language, communication and swallowing/mealtime needs.

Speech Pathology Australia continues to advocate for all children to have the right access and support for their language, literacy, and swallowing development.

As we usher in another school year, let us recognise the pivotal role that communication and literacy play in shaping a child's educational journey. By understanding the importance of these skills, actively engaging in practices that support language development, and seeking timely intervention when needed, parents and caregivers can contribute significantly to their child's transition. 

Find out more about:

Communication milestones

Helping your baby to talk

Supporting multilingual children

Speech sound development 0 to 3

Speech sound development 4+