Reading to your child is a great way to stimulate language and to bond with your child. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their minds and expands their vocabulary. It will assist in developing expressive language skills, listening skills, attention skills and receptive language skills.
Children can benefit from book-reading even before they are speaking. For younger children, select books with minimal text and big, bright and vibrant pictures. By the age of 6-12 months, babies will enjoy books with reflective objects, shapes and colors. At this age, books should also contain meaningful age-appropriate words such as “mommy,” “daddy,” “bye-bye,” or “milk.”
As children get older and are ready for books with more language, you can look for books with predictable text or repeated lines. Books such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly are good examples of these.
Children ages 1 -2 years enjoy books with 1-2 simple sentences on each page and any type of animal or vehicle sounds. At this age, children can learn to point to pictures in books (e.g. “Where is the dog?,” “Where is baby’s nose?”). Parents can begin to ask simple questions to children while reading books (e.g. “What does a cow say?,” “What’s baby doing?”). Expand these activities by having the child imitate actions in the pictures, or by repeating what they say back to them, with another word or two added for language development.
It’s never too early to begin to read to your child! Grab a book and cuddle up with your little one.
Looking for some recommendations? Here are some favorite books from a speech-language pathologist’s tool bag:
- Moo, Baa, LaLaLa by Sandra Boynton
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
- In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
- Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
- Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
- Slide and Find –Trucks by Roger Priddy
- Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
- The Mitten by Jan Brett
- Go Way, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
- The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
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-Carrie Vermeer M.A., CCC-SLP, LifeScape