Just like the famous theme song from Reading Rainbow indicated, “Just take a look. It’s in a book!” -books are the foundational tool for parents to use to help develop and strengthen their young child’s speech-language skills.
With life’s hectic schedules these days, reading a book or partaking in activities related to story reading as a family is one simple and effective way to include family time with learning. Reading to your children can be a whole family experience and does not take long- a mere 5-10 minutes is all you need.
To help you incorporate reading and associated activities into your daily routine, our Speech-Language Pathologists have decided to share their favorite tips for reading with the whole family:
Before you start or end each day
Set aside 5-10 minutes of reading time with the family as everyone gets ready for the day (i.e. during breakfast, brushing teeth, getting ready for bed etc.)
Carry a book
Be sure to always have a book with you. So much time is spent during the day waiting: car pool line, doctor’s office, McDonalds. Those five minutes of time add up.
Designate 10 minutes each day where all electronic devices are shut off (i.e. phones, iPad, tablet, computer, TV). Use this time to engage in reading a book together or individually.
Reading does not have to include books alone. While cooking have the child read out the recipe to you. This is a way for kids to practice their reading skills, introduces new vocabulary and concepts and creates a family bonding experience.
During dinner, have family members discuss what favorite story character they would invite to their dinner table.
Story time and reading are supposed to be fun experiences- so make it fun! Have family members act out, sing or dance favorite parts of the story. Be silly!
Have the children draw pictures of their favorite characters or events in the book.
There are some great things you can do while reading with your children to help improve language and comprehension. Brainstorm about the story based on the cover and the title of the book, ask simple questions, label the characters, etc.
Finally, consider what is expected at your child’s age level and modify your statements and questions accordingly. Using these techniques is really helpful when reading with children of different ages.
For younger listeners:
- The goal is to increase vocabulary.
- Use a variety of descriptors and prepositions (in, behind, under).
- Give insight about your own thoughts (i.e. “That makes me think/wonder/feel …”).
For more advanced listeners:
- Ask basic questions (i.e. “Who is in the story? Where are they going?”).
- Ask higher level/open-ended questions (i.e. “What do you think might happen next?”).
- Make connections: Compare and contrast characters or events. Make real-life connections when possible.
By incorporating a few of these suggestions into your daily routine, you can help your child expand her/his vocabulary and improve reading comprehension exponentially!
If you are interested in learning more about improving your child’s speech through daily activities, visit our Our Resources For Families page or our YouTube channel, which has tons of videos to help your family with speech and language development.
Blog written by Brianne Bunn, Speech-Language Pathologist for Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center