Using Books to Encourage Language Development

 Reading daily to your child is one of the best ways to encourage language development. Books allow you to introduce your child to a wide range of vocabulary and situations that your child might not otherwise encounter in their typical day. They allow your child to think through challenging situations, understand the sequence of events, and examine situations from different perspectives. Reading to your child introduces early reading skills, such as page turning, word recognition, left to right reading, and so much more.

Reading alone is amazing, but here are some tips for providing more opportunities for language development in your child through shared reading time:

* For children 2 and under:

* Follow the text with your finger while you read

* Ask your child to find objects in the pictures (i.e. “Show me the bee”, “Where’s the puppy?”)

* Talk about the pictures – make animal/environment sounds that go along with the pictures

* Encourage your child to say “turn page” at the end of each page

* For children preschool age and under:

* Follow the text with your finger while you read

* Ask questions about what is happening in the pictures/text (i.e. “Where is the bear hiding?”, “Do you think that the little girl is sad?”)

* Encourage early prediction skills by asking “What do you think will happen next?” before turning the page
* For children preschool age and above:

* Ask questions about what is happening in the text (i.e. “Why do you think the boy broke his pencil?”, “Have you ever been embarrassed like John?”)

* Continue to encourage prediction skills by asking your child to predict upcoming events

* Encourage perspective taking skills by asking your child to put themselves in the place of the characters (i.e. “How would you feel if you lost your favorite toy?”, “How would you feel if your best friend moved away?”)

It’s never too late to start reading to your child AND it’s not about perfection! It only takes a few minutes of reading each day to make a big impact on your child’s language skills!

Author: Martha Davis, Speech-Language Pathologist

 

 

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