Speech Pathologists are frequent library browsers and we know a thing or two about what to look for when you pick up a book. In fact, some of us are so book savvy that we can flip through a few pages and decide if it goes in the library bag or back on the shelves.
So as parents, why do you need to be choosing specific books? The research has shown that reading to babies as early as eight months of age has a significant impact on the way that their early language skills develop.
Here’s what to look for:
Books that have engaging pictures – here’s a tip: You don’t have to read books! You can simply look at the pictures and talk about what’s going on. Younger children might prefer brighter and bolder lines and less things going on in the page, while older children can handle books with busy illustrations.
Books that have a range of words – Books are critical for expanding your child’s vocabulary and grammatical skills and let’s face it; your child cannot be exposed to all the words out there simply by playing and watching TV. So keep your eye out for books that use lots of actions words (splashing, hiding and chasing), describing words (fuzzy, freezing and spotty) and location words (behind, in front and over). Choose a book that is from another country or set in a strange location like Antarctica or outer space so that your child is coming across words they wouldn’t otherwise.
Books that tell a story – There is an art to telling a story and quite simply, it has a beginning – a middle – and an end. It’s a formula that will help your child as they start to develop their own speaking skills and want to tell you stories. So limit those alphabet and counting books and choose books with a story line so that your child gets use to this formula.
Books that are fun to read – Do you ever wonder why Dr Seuss books are so popular? They have great rhythm and rhyme and when read with enthusiasm are so engaging to kids ears. Lift the flap books are equally as exciting and great for asking your child to guess what might be underneath. And there is a recent abundance of books that really encourage child participation to touch things on the page and answer questions before they are allowed to turn to the page. So look for those ‘out of the norm’ books that increase curiosity and conversation. Some of our favourites are: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems, This is a Ball by Beck & Matt Stanton and Press Here by Herve Tullet.
Want more helpful tips from our Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists? Head to the Contact Us page here and scroll down to subscribe to our monthly newsletter! Give us a call if you have any questions about speech pathology or occupational therapy for your child – we’d love to work alongside your family to help give your child’s development a “boost”!