Thursday, June 9, 2016

Therapy Tip: Using Books to Build Language

It's Therapy Thursday!

Thanks for dropping by to learn a tip based upon my experience as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and a mother of a child with special needs.

Today's tip is:

Using Books To Build Language

If you are a parent with a toddler and pre-school age child with language delays, books are an easy way to work on building language. There are numerous books for children available in stores. Some are better than others, but I do not feel that you necessarily have to buy special books for your child to work on language. Unless......

If you have a child with little to no interest in books, then I have found these type of books are more likely to hold their attention:
-Board books with touch and feel parts
-Lift that flap books
-Books with favorite characters like Thomas the train or Mickey Mouse

Ways to Use Books:
-Identification of objects: One of the first book skills tested in toddlers is identification. Open a page of the book and say, "Find the kitty." I start with easy, well known objects to the child and then move to less familiar ones.

-Identification of actions: Similar to the first one, have the child find certain actions. "Find the one who is sleeping." You might have to dig through some of your books to find pages that contain pictures of people or animals doing different things.

-Naming items: Have the child tell you what he sees on the page. I try to do only 1-3 items per page. It seems if you have the child point out too many items on a page, they get bored and frustrated. If your child isn't ready to name items yet, you can point at and name items for him until his vocabulary improves.

-Listening to a short story: Pick a short story from your collection and begin to read it to your child. This will help build the child's vocabulary and improve their attention to books.

-Answering questions: If your child has mastered the previous skills, it's time for this one. Ask your child questions while looking at the pages such as: Who is eating? Can you find something blue? Where is the dog at? When these become easy, ask harder questions related to the actual story like: How did she get hurt? How does the boy feel?

But my child hates books!
Some kids are not interested in books even after buying ones you feel would keep their attention. If this is the case, then here's my suggestions:
-Name a couple of items per page for the child making book time last less than a minute and build time on task.
-If your child is strapped in their stroller outside or in their high chair eating food, use this time to do book time. Read a short story or simply talk about the pictures on the page. They may not have all their attention on the books, but this can be a starting point. At first you may read to them while they are eating. Then you might change it to reading a book before getting out of the high chair when they are done.
-Keep books available to him or in his crib. See which books he gravitates towards and you can use these in book time.

Therapy Thursday is for educational purposes only and not intended as therapeutic advice.

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