Marshall Speech and Hearing Center holds ‘Tiny Talkers’ program graduation ceremony


TinyTalkersClub_2015Marshall’s Speech and Hearing Center has created programs to facilitate speech therapy through the use of books and other activities. One of them, the Tiny Talkers Book Club, was established in 2013 and focuses on developing literacy for 4-5 year olds.

A new class was established this summer at St. John’s House through a literacy grant from Phi Kappa Phi to focus on the needs of children who come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds. Jen Baker, speech language pathologist in the MUSHC, said programs like these provide a solid foundation for youth with regard to language and literacy.

“Children with speech and language disorders are at risk for having difficulty learning to read. Our goal is to help strengthen their language foundation and provide exposure to emergent literacy activities,” Baker said. “When we begin teaching pre-literacy skills early in a child’s life, we are able to minimize the risk of future reading challenges.  We want these kids to have the best possible start when they go to kindergarten.”

TinyTalkers_Gavienandfriend_2015Baker said the program holds parent seminars once a month to provide strategies for families to continue teaching their children at home.

“We want to build a solid foundation for our clients,” Baker said. “While working with these children, we are also able to provide great training opportunities for our graduate students within Marshall’s College of Health Professions.”

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Photos: (Above) Marshall graduate students Malarie Chartier, Erin Frye and Lindsey Miller are shown reading to children during the Tiny Talkers Book Club, which encourages communication through activities like art, reading, singing and eating snacks. (Below) Gavien Gavien Webb, left, was born with a condition that prevented him from learning the rules for how sounds fit together to make words, which is called phonological processing disorder. Since beginning Tiny Talkers, Gavien has been able to practice his reading comprehension and make new friends with fellow Tiny Talker, Hunter Cremeans, at the Marshall Speech and Hearing Center.