Children learn to love the sound of language before they notice the printed words on a page. Reading aloud to little ones stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world around them. It helps with the development of expressive language and listening skills, and can prepare children to understand the written word.
If children grow up around books and being read to, the greater an interest they’ll have in finding stories and books to read on their own.
This is important, as reading independently gives children the skills they need to build literacy.
As a speech language pathologist, I am constantly on the look out for great books and always try to incorporate reading, in some form or another, in my therapy sessions.
The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Raising a reader is fun, rewarding and can be relatively easy.
Here are a speech language pathologist’s TOP 10 tips to make the most out of reading with your child!
- Sit face to face so your pre-schooler can see the book and your face. It’s helpful for your child to be able to see facial expressions while we read, and our mouths as we produce new words. This will make comprehension and imitation a lot easier for your child.
- Make voices to differentiate characters and change the expression of your voice to help build emotional awareness.
- Take some time to talk about the pictures that go with the stories you’re reading. Don’t just name the objects in the pictures, but use action words, to describe what is happening in the pictures.
- Find ways to help your child connect things that happen to characters in a book, to their own life. Relate new vocabulary to what your child already knows. Building these understandings make reading more fun and interesting.
- Certain words are more important than others in understanding the meaning of a book or story. Stress important words by changing the pitch, volume or speed of your voice so they are highlighted as something to pay attention to.
- Break stories into smaller units and ask questions about what is going on.
- Encourage your child to use deductive reasoning to guess what happens next, or to compare what’s happening in the book to situations they’ve faced in real life. This can help develop your child’s problem-solving skills and imagination.
- Provide pauses or “wait time” to allow your child to formulate their own thoughts and ideas and to ask their own questions.
- Have your child handle the book before, during or after reading. Have them identify different parts of the book, such as the front and back covers, the spine, and pages in the book.
- Most importantly, create a fun, inviting reading experience so your child comes back for more! You can do this by venturing out to the library to pick out engaging books together or by finding a comfy nook in your home for reading.
I hope this was helpful and that it inspired you and your family to read each day!
If you live in the Austin area and have concerns about your child’s speech and/or language and would like to seek additional help beyond what your school based speech language pathologist may be able to provide, click here for more information on our evaluation and/or therapy services for children of all ages.
6448 E Hwy 290 Suite E-106,
Austin, TX 78723
Sol Speech & Language Therapy
555 Round Rock W Dr E-221,
Round Rock, TX 78681
Sol Speech & Language Therapy offers personalized skilled intervention to those struggling with their speech and language skills. Services offered include screening, consultation, and comprehensive evaluation. We also provide one-on-one and/or group therapy for speech sound disorders, receptive/expressive language delay/disorder, stuttering/cluttering, accent reduction, and much more.