A kid learns to read with their ears.
According to this NPR story from Cory Turner, a Northwestern University study has developed an auditory test that can predict reading trouble in toddlers. The better a child is at processing speech in the midst of noise, the better they will do when learning how to read.
So, the more time you spend talking with your kid, even before they can answer or understand what you’re saying, the better.
But wait – it gets better… or worse, depending.
You remember that obnoxious “musical” toy or instrument you deliberately re-gifted to those folks you don’t like because the thought of your wee one marching around mercilessly blaring it in your face all day every day was just… too… much?
You’re gonna want that thing back.
The same neurobiologist, Dr Nina Kraus, carried the literacy studies to the Harmony Project in LA – an afterschool music program in low-income areas. She found that learning a musical instrument also boosts literacy. Not just listening to music, but actually playing it. Yes, if you want your kid to be a good reader (and we know you do), you might have to run the ol’ amateur violin gauntlet. Oh, joy.
Here’s that story. No way out of it: it’s science.