Our child speech therapists’ top tips for Shared Book Reading

Our Brisbane North Speech Pathologists frequently help parents to maximise their shared book reading time with their little ones.  Here are our 6 Top Tips to get the most out of reading books at home.

Shared Book Reading

Reading a book with your child is one of the most beneficial activities you can do to maximise your child’s skill development. Our speech pathologists at Cooee Speech Pathology recommend daily ‘Shared Book Reading’ for all our families, as it helps to develop your child’s vocabulary, spoken and listening language skills, literacy, problem-solving skills and flexible thinking!


Here are some simple tips to maximise your story-reading:


Be able to see each other’s faces!

Have your child sit next to you when reading, instead of in your lap. This allows you to see your child’s face, and for them to see your face while you read the story.


Face and Voice!

Use your facial expressions and voice to bring the story to life. Express the emotions and characteristics of the different story characters on your face and in your voice. Using fun and exciting tones and expressions can help your child stay engaged in the story for longer, and help them learn to anticipate what’s coming next.

Take Turns!

Take turns engaging with the story. Watch your child and listen to their input, allowing them to make comments and ask questions about the story. You can encourage turn-taking in your child by asking questions, relating the story to their own experiences and pointing/making gestures to pictures. For little ones who aren’t yet talking, they can take turns by looking, pointing/gesturing, smiling or making a sound.

Pictures vs Words!

Did you know that when you’re reading with your child, you don’t always have to read the words? Reading the book’s text is a great way to introduce new vocabulary. However, adding your own words to talk about the story pictures can be just as great! Comment on what you can see, and what you know about the items or people in the pictures.  You can also add your own sounds and dialogue to match the pictures, and repeat the sounds/words your child likes.  


Ask your child a variety of wh-questions (i.e. who, what, when, where, why and how) as you’re reading the story. You can model the correct answers to these questions to give your child the opportunity to learn how to respond. You can then build on this by using ‘Blank’s Levels of Questions’ within your story reading to further develop your child’s language skills. Our Speech Pathologists can guide you with where to access this resource!


Foster Guessing and Not Knowing!

Sometimes adults don’t always have the answer – and that’s okay! It’s important to model this for your child. Acknowledge that you don’t have a definite answer, and then encourage use of problem-solving skills by making guesses based on what you know about the story (“maybe….”, “sometimes…”, “perhaps…”). Encourage your child to make their own guess on what might happen, or ask if they can think of something different.

Don’t forget, the most important thing is to connect with your child, and have fun!  Sharing books is a wonderful way to learn about new ideas, and experiences together.

Thida Hantun

Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist