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What Are First-Grade Reading Skills?

Reading skills are defined for each grade by the Department of Education. Examples of first-grade reading skills include: 

  • Knowing the difference between letters, words, and sentences 
  • Figuring out what a word is by sounding out the letters (decoding) 
  • Blending two to four sounds into a word 
  • Changing the sound in a word to make a new or rhyming word 

Note: All these skills rely on careful listening. 

Can Hearing Loss Affect These Reading Skills?

YES! There is a direct connection between listening to speech and learning to read. 

The first skill in reading is learning to apply a sound (i.e., the B in Book) to a particular letter. This skill is called sound-letter association. 

Why Start Now? 

A child needs consistent auditory input for 5–6 years before the brain is ready to make the connection between letters of the alphabet and the sound associated with them. 

When children do not have that consistent input for 5–6 years, they are less ready to read and learn with their peers. To learn more about the connection between hearing and first-grade reading, “Find an Audiologist” and make an appointment with an audiologist in your area. 

Six Things Parents Can Do to Promote Reading Readiness 

  1. Help your child hear speech all day with consistent amplification (hearing aids, implants, and FM systems). 
  2. Help your child develop “text awareness” by pointing to words as well as pictures as you read books to your child. 
  3. Talk about sounds in words. Change a letter in a word to create a word that rhymes. 
  4. List words that start with the same sound as your child’s name (phonemic awareness). 
  5. Talk about synonyms and antonyms. 
  6. Help your child hear speech all day with consistent amplification. 

For More Information About Reading Standards in Your State “Your State Standards and Testing” 

Since Web sites can change, parents can use a search engine with this phrase: 

  • [State] Department of Education Reading Standards 

On websites, look for keywords: Reading, Literacy, Communication Arts, English, Language Arts 

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