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Learning to Read Using Oral Communication

In oral programs, your child speaks and listens to learn to read. No sign language is used.

There are different types of oral communication

Auditory-oral teaches your child to learn how to speak and read using whatever hearing that he has. Your child is also taught how to lipread and speechread.

  • Don't cover or hide your mouth when you read to your child.
  • Sit face-to-face so he can see your mouth when you read to him.
  • If you want to help your child with reading out loud, ask your child to sound out the words as you read together.
  • After you read a book with your child, ask him questions about the book. Have him say the answers.

Auditory-verbal teaches your child to speak and read by listening. Your child listens by using hearing aids or cochlear implants.

  • When you read to your child, speak clearly.
  • In this approach, you might cover your mouth when you read to your child. This will help him listen.
  • Have your child read out loud. This will help his speech.
  • Read the words to songs. As you read the song, sing out loud.
  • Show your child new words that will be in a story. Have him read and repeat these words out loud. Then read the story together.

Ways to teach reading using oral communication
Programs that teach oral communication do different things when they teach children to read:


  • Text appears at the bottom of the TV. This text shows what is being said on the TV program.
  • Captioning helps your child listen to the words on TV.
  • Captioning is good read-along practice for your child.

Sound and Frequency Levels

Visual Clues

  • Highlighting: You can change the color of different words in a sentence or paragraph. This helps show important information.
  • Cued Speech(CS): CS helps children understand the difference between words that sound the same when they are reading:
    • In American English, CS uses eight different handshapes in four different places near the mouth.
    • CS is not a language. It is a tool to learn language.
    • Using CS while speaking makes it easier to lipread.
    • It can help your child say words that he sees on paper.
    • When you read with your child, sign at the same time you say the words.

Total Communication
Your child may learn to read using speech and sign. The name for this is Total Communication. Total Communication uses both sign language and oral communication.

  • Many reading programs use Total Communication.
  • You can decide how your child learns to read best.
  • Your child can decide how he wants to communicate.

Learn more about Oral and Total Communication

Next: Reading with Your Child

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