Lori Donovan, certified Speech Language Pathologist, is back to bring Boston Babies more education based learning. It is never too early to get started on reading, whether you talk with your belly before birth, or begin story time when your little one is a bouncing baby or tenacious toddler.
Read below, as Lori suggests how to get the Biggest Bang for Your Book and explains the importance of introducing literary skills, concepts and creativity to your children.
BOOKS are one of the best tools you can use as a parent. They can help ease the transition to bedtime, discussions about difficult topics, and introductions to new routines. Early exposure to books can help children learn to love their time between the pages, in addition to boosting their overall academic success.
There are literally thousands of great books available to you and your child. But before you buy a new book, wait! You probably have everything you need in the overflowing bookshelf in the corner.Here are a few ideas to help you and your family get the most out of your books:
Aim For 10 A Day
Okay, it may seem daunting, but we’re not talking chapter books, people. My kids have favorites, and yours probably do too. Try to cycle in a new book a few times a week to introduce new vocabulary, especially related to seasons or holidays. Take out books from the library, borrow books from friends, or create a rotation list to make sure you’re not bored.
Let Your Little Hold The Book
Reading is about more than words on the page. Reading to your little one helps them to develop readiness and pre-literacy skills. Important skills are honed in the first years, including turning the pages from left to right, identifying words on the page, and attaching meaning to pictures and later, to words.
Here’s a secret from a pro – I very, VERY rarely read the words that are written on the page. More often than not, I take the general jist of the book and adjust the language to fit my little. Feel free to rewrite the book to meet the needs of your child, and rewrite it again and again as they grow. In just one book you might be able to focus on labeling animals, counting to 5, learning about opposites, and actions.
Rhyming Is The Exception To The Rule
An important part of rhyming books and songs are the skills they develop. Feeling the rhythm of the words in rhyming books helps kids to learn to predict words that fit, also known as phonemic awareness. Building these skills when they are little creates a strong foundation for learning how to read and write.
Actions Speak Louder
Frequently parents focus on labeling items in the environment, which is a great place to start. But when you hear your little one telling you names of people, places and things, make sure to add on another descriptive word, such as an adjective or a verb. They don’t need a paragraph, but modeling one or two simple words can help them build their vocabulary as well as their utterances. Some of the best include everyday words, like eat, drink, sleep, sit and jump. Kids also love adjectives, like big, little, or more.
Find A Blast From The Past
Take a trip down memory lane and revisit all of those touch and feel books that your baby used to love. The sensory obsessions remain, but now you can use more sophisticated words to describe your toddler’s experiences. Instead of just “soft” try fluffy, scratchy, warm, or fuzzy. Don’t forget to use silly sounds like “squish squish.”
Take Your Time
Reading a book shouldn’t be about getting to the end. Sure, you can read the text on the page, but also look at the all of the pictures on the pages, and ask your child what they see. Sometimes they’ll surprise you by what they can find!
Let Them Read To You
By far, one of my all time favorite activities. Little ones are creative, and they love to be the adult for a while. This activity is especially fun with books that have been read over and over. You might hear the rhythm of the book, one or two key words, or a whole new story.
Make It Part Of Your Everyday
Including books into routines help children learn to appreciate books and helps them explore them on their own. Try introducing books at bedtime, and letting your little read the same books by themselves before lunch or dinner.
You Tell Me…
What are your favorite tips for reading to your toddler? Any tricks to entice toddlers? Please share!
Lori Donovan, MS, CCC-SLP is a certified Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in working with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She has recently started working with children and families through Early Intervention.
In her spare time, she loves playing card games and experimenting with pinterest projects. She also loves to travel, and has visited over 15 countries including Switzerland, Greece, and Thailand.