Hearing Impairments

Hearing difficulties can affect language and reading skills, making it harder for children to connect sounds with written words. This then impacts on their language skills and educational development, often resulting in reluctant readers.

Common signs of hearing impairments include:

  • Speech Development Mispronouncing words and an inability to mimic sounds accurately.

  • Vocabulary – Limited range of vocabulary when compared to peers.

  • Reading Skills – Struggles to decode words, understand phonics, or written text.

  • Listening Skills – Difficulty understanding verbal instructions or missing parts of conversations.

  • Social Skills – Struggles to engage in conversations and misses social cues.

It’s important to note that if you associate any of these signs with your reluctant reader, the first step is to seek medical advice.

‘By creating a positive environment, you are nurturing the confidence of your reluctant reader.’

Pauline Tait

Once medical advice has been sought, there are strategies that can be put in place:

  • Multisensory Learning – Tactile materials and interactive activities to accompany reading strategies.

  • Visual Aids – Illustrated instructions, books, and videos aid comprehension and vocabulary development.

Depending on the severity of hearing impairment:

  • Technology – Screen readers, test-to-speech software, and captioned eBooks can be especially useful.

  • Sign Language Resources – A wealth of resources, including signed stories, videos, and dictionaries, supports reading and language development.  

  • Tailored Instruction - Collaborate with specialists to develop personalized learning approaches.

  • Positive reinforcement and encouragement – Celebrate every win, no matter how small.

Call to Action

This week’s call to action determines whether any of the above signs resonate with your reluctant reader. Seeking medical advice is the first port of call. In the meantime, focus on precise pronunciation when speaking to your reluctant reader and incorporate simpler visual aids, such as multisensory or illustrated books.

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