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Summer Vacation May Set Back Kids' Language Skills

Poor kids in bilingual families need extra support, study says

FRIDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Bilingual children in poor families are at increased risk for falling behind in reading and language skills during the summer holidays, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Parents should provide these children with language-rich activities over the summer, says the ASHA, which offers the following tips:

  • Talk to your child in the language you're most comfortable using, even if it's not the language used at school. For example, have more conversations with your child about what he or she did during the day, play board games together, work on a home project.
  • Set aside time every day to read with your child.
  • Enroll your child in summer camps and activities (some city- or YMCA-run camps are more affordable or offer sliding-scale fees for low-income families). This will help their language skills continue to grow.
  • If your child enjoys spending time on the computer, direct him or her to Web sites that have fun, interactive language-based games that build vocabulary and reinforce topics learned at school.

More information

The ASHA lists activities that encourage speech and language development.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, June 15, 2010, news release

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