This is the most important research report I have read this summer, perhaps even this year.

Got it? The most important. Read it here: Study Sheds Light on Auditory Role in Dyslexia.

It’s extremely hard to find just one quote to highlight. The article is chock full of outstanding points. Here’s one though:

“Dr. Gabrieli said the findings underscored a critical problem for dyslexic children learning to read: the ability of a child hearing, say, a parent or teacher speak to connect the auditory bits that make up words, called phonemes, with the sight of written words. If a child has trouble grasping the sounds that make up language, he said, acquiring reading skills will be harder.”

Isn’t that just so cool? If you’re a children’s librarian, and especially if you are one that’s worked with Every Child Ready to Read over the years, you are jumping up and down just like I am.

They are talking about phonological awareness, that mouthful of a skill that we encourage every time we sing, say a rhyme, or do a fingerplay with kids. Every time we talk, sing, and play with language with kids, we help them develop the ability to hear individual sounds and pieces of words.

Just think about singing, “Down by the station, early in the morning.” The words “station,” “early,” and “morning” are broken apart and each part gets its own musical note. To sing the song, you have to hear each part. Sing it enough, and say enough rhymes with ending “ing’s,” and you can read it years later because you can connect those squiggles on the page with the sound the teacher says and the sound you have heard and know.

It’s the beginning of a new school year. Go forth with confidence, knowing the silliness you do has a tremendous influence on a child’s ability to learn to read later and therefore, his or her future.

Sing on,