It’s never too early to introduce shared book reading to your child’s daily routine. Shared book reading is a fun and exciting way to engage with your child and enrich language development and exposure. It is widely believed that the more comfortable children are around books and literature, the more likely they are to enjoy reading and read more! Help non-readers participate in the book reading by turning the pages, pointing to pictures and acting out the story. Choosing a developmentally appropriate book will help keep the child’s interest, or let the child choose one themselves. Emphasize key words and keep language simple as you interact together with the story. For more advanced readers work language into your book experience by using themed books such as ‘farm’, ‘zoo’, ‘things that go’ to help your child build their vocabulary across categories and word types. In more complex stories we can challenge children to ask questions throughout the reading such as ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ to gauge comprehension. Discussing and identifying together the ‘parts’ of a story such as beginning, middle and end can help a child to understand the components of a story and help them to produce their own ideas and stories in a sequential and thoughtful way. Predicting what may happen next is another step in understanding the story and can help the child be engaged with the specific characters or themes of the story. There are endless ways that you can bring fun language learning into shared book reading. Taking a couple minutes at the beginning or end of a busy day to read together is a fun and engaging way to build a language rich activity into the family’s routine.
Stephanie Mathias, M.S-SLP