I use children's books during my speech therapy sessions all the time, and encourage parents to use them at home as well. Picture books and story books provide so many opportunities to encourage and enrich children's language skills.
Here are some ways to do this while reading with your children:
- To help your child learn new words, name objects and actions in the pictures. Ask your child simple questions about the pictures.
- Describe the pictures using phrases and complete sentences. Your child will learn new words and new sentence structures.
- Use descriptions, tell about the pictures. Then ask your child to describe the pictures to you.
- Help enhance your child's sequencing skills. Talk about what happened in the beginning of the story, the middle, and the end.
- Make predictions. Ask your child what he/she thinks will happen next.
- Story books provide many opportunities to ask and answer WH questions (who, what, where, when, why).
- Work on problem-solving skills. Talk about the problem in the story, and think of logical ways to solve the problem.
- Children's books are filled with early language concepts (location, time, quantity). Talk about where objects are (the moon is in the sky), when events happen (we see the moon at night), and how much or how many things there are (one apple, too much food).
Keep in mind, these tips are only suggestions. Share stories in a way that is enjoyable for both you and your child. Most importantly, have fun reading together!