Shared book reading between parent/caregiver and child is a wonderful, fun, and interactive way to help with speech, language, and literacy development. Children with typical language development and those with disabilities, such as language delay, all benefit greatly from shared book reading.

There are many techniques that you can use to help with enjoyment as well as promote language development. 

For example:

  • Create a print-rich environment from birth – the library is a wonderful way to include books at all times in the home.
  • The quantity of the book may not be as important as the quality of the book. Look for books that interest your child, especially those with wonderful illustrations.
  • Younger children may initially be drawn to the pictures. You can carefully draw their attention to the text by pointing at individual words and letters. Depending on the child’s ability, ask questions e.g. “Where is the name of the book?” and “Which letter is the letter B?”
  • Repetition is valuable! Read favorite stories and books over and over again. Hearing familiar words again and again and seeing what they look like will help develop later reading and writing skills.
  • Also choose books with repeated rhymes, words, and phrases. While reading, see if you can stop and let them finish a sentence or word if you have read the book often.
  • Talk together while reading. For instance, ask “wh” questions – who, when, what, why. As their story knowledge develops, ask more difficult questions, e.g. “what do you think will happen next?”
  • Read and write when doing other activities e.g reading recipes together with older children. Practice reading menus when going out to eat.
  • Most of all, have fun! 

Jeanette Podolsky

Clinical Director, Speech-Language Pathologist (Reg CASLPO)