One of my favorite times of the day is the time I get to spend reading with my daughter. I love how excited she is about reading, asking questions, answering questions and talking about books. Reading with your child at a young age is not only a great way to work on pre-literacy skills,
but it is a great way to address speech and language skills too!
While it is important to model reading the words on the page, your reading experiences with your child should incorporate so much more! Here are some suggestions to make your time spent reading more meaningful and incorporate speech and language skills too.
· Head to the library and check out some new books!
· Choose books together with your child
· Pick books that you want to read and books that your child wants to read
· Pick books about a variety of topics
· Talk about the title and look at the cover
· Make predictions about the story
· Choose topics your child has some background knowledge about so he/she can relate
· If you are going somewhere new in the near future, choose a book about it so your child can learn about it before you go
· If your child has difficulty saying certain speech sounds correctly, choose books that contain those speech sounds
· Sit next to or across from your child so he/she can see your face and watch how you say sounds
· Draw your child’s attention to words in the story that contain his/her target speech sounds
· Model target words and have him/her try to say them correctly
· Talk about the pictures in the book and make predictions before reading the actual words
· Label the picture or ask your child to label the pictures
· Use describing words to talk about the pictures you see (big/little, shiny, etc..)
· Ask your child to point to pictures throughout the book (“point to the doggy”)
· If there are new words that your child doesn’t know, point them out and provide a short definition of the word
· Ask a variety of wh- questions (“Where is the doggy? Who is in the tree?”)
· If your child can’t answer questions verbally, encourage him/her to point to the answer
· Pause to allow your child to fill in words that he/she may know
· Ask questions to see what your child remembers from the story
· Help your child to retell the story in sequence using his/her own words
· Ask your child what he/she liked or didn’t like about the story
· When you are reviewing the story, have your child recall all of the words that contain his/her target speech sounds and say them again for additional practice
· Break out some paper and crayons and have your child draw his/her own pictures for the story
· Read books with similar themes and talk about how they are alike and different
· Remember that repetition is the key to learning – it’s ok to read books over and over again!
I hope you incorporate some of these suggestions into your reading time to make it more meaningful for building speech and language skills!
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