Kids speech therapists on the importance of shared book reading

The benefits of shared book reading*

We all know reading is good for our children, but did you know you don’t always have to read the book word for word? Some children just want to flip the pages, but by spending time talking about the pictures you are helping your child develop their understanding of what is happening in the story. Our kids speech therapists recommend using this strategy to extend their language skills and help prepare them for narrative in the classroom.

Be curious about the book (pretend if you need to!) and ask questions like “What might happen next?”, “Why is the character feeling this?” and “Where has teddy been?”.

Understanding the sequence of events in stories can help children learn about events, and the emotions that connect with them. This helps develop their problem solving skills.

Blanks levels of Questions are a wonderful resource for parents to use with library books to develop children’s language skills. Your kids’ speech therapist can guide you with where to find these questions.

Model the correct answer to different types of WH questions (who, what, where, when, why and how), so your child has the opportunity to learn, and then over time, see if your child can answer some of these questions.

Don’t be afraid to read the same book over and over again. Talk to your child about the characters and where the book is set. Talk further about what problems the characters might face and how they might be feeling.

Help your child to create a picture in their mind while you read, and don’t be afraid to teach the ‘tricky’ vocabulary. Model to them what you are picturing in your mind when you read the story (“When I read those words, I imagine it might look like…”).

By spending quality time with your child reading, you are nurturing their love of books – not to mention their language and literacy development!

Our kids speech therapists are always happy to help parents help their kids, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more advice and tips about shared reading time with your child.

*Article originally written for the MASTER Institute on May 31 2017. See the original article here.