I absolutely love children's books! Everytime I go to the store, I find myself in the book aisle reading through the kids’ books that catch my eye. I enjoy thinking of ideas on how I can use these books for my Speech Therapy sessions. Books are extremely beneficial for supporting overall speech and language skills in a natural and fun way. Your child may not be able to sit and listen to the entire book, and that is ok. When reading to your child, you don’t have to read every word, each reading may look different. You may look at the pictures one time, read through just a few pages the next time, and even label items another time.
Let’s look at 5 benefits of using books to support speech and language skills:
Articulation Skills: When reading with your child, you can emphasize certain sounds, have your child listen for specific sounds, and even look through the book for words or pictured items containing the target sound.
Vocabulary: Books are extremely rich in vocabulary. Vocabulary might include object names, actions vocabulary, time concepts (eg. first/last, before/after), places and location concepts (eg. here/there, over/under), and varying descriptive vocabulary (eg. hot/cold, fast/slow).
Phrase Expansion: Books are amazing for modeling varying types of phrases and sentences. Children learn how to put words together in order to express more detailed information. For example, in a book about a bird, a child may first say “bird” everytime they see the bird in the book. As language develops, they learn to say “blue bird”. This then expands to “blue bird fly” and even “blue bird fly fast”.
Inferencing Skills: Kids learn to look for clues in the pictures and in what is being read in order to make predictions or assumptions about what is happening or will happen. You can encourage your child in learning to make inferences by saying things such as “I wonder what will happen” or “I wonder why he is sad”.
Social Skills: Reading books helps promote bonding between you and your child. Children learn to take conversational turns by responding to questions and asking questions about the book. You can use different types of children’s books to teach and reinforce a variety of social skills such as manners, empathy, consequences, and even safety.
I hope you have fun reading with your kids, and enjoy exploring different kinds of children’s books. Each month I will present a “Book of the Month” and provide ideas and activities for using these books to further promote speech and language skill development.