Whether they love them or hate them, books are a fantastic way to develop language with our children.
If your children are anything like my nieces and nephews they want the same books read night after night whilst often avoiding their slightly trickier and less familiar school reading books.
Do not despair! Whether it’s reading a loved classic or sounding out phonics for school, books will always support new language and new vocabulary.
Just grab a book and you can’t go wrong!
Although phonics, sight reading and independent reading is important… for speech and language enjoyment and engagement it is the most key! So whether it’s purley pictures, a superhero comic, a space encyclopedia or a classic fairy tale, all books create a fantastic tool for talking.
Although you can simply read them from front to back, there are other ways we can use books to create conversation and learn some new language.
Below I’ve outlined 10 top tips for making the best of books!
Before you open a book with your child have a look at the cover. Here are some questions you could ask and discuss…
Before reading the book read the last page / pages and ask and discuss…
Stop in the middle of the book / at a cliff hanger moment and ask/ discuss…
Read the book and help your child answer these three questions…
Who was in the story?
Where was it set?
(it can be fun to write these down / mind map out the details using key words and pictures)
Read half the book and then stop. Write / draw / discuss / play out the rest of the book. Help your child complete the narrative themselves in a fun and creative way.
Start 14-day FREE #StayAtHome offer!
Look through the book and find new vocabulary they don’t know. This can be in either the written text or names of the objects in the pictures.
Discuss and teach the word to your child. It can help to pop it on a post-it note so you can come back and revise it later.
Read the book together. After reading, ask your child to retell you the story to see what they have listened to, understood and remembered. It can help talking about beginning, middle and end. Ask the child if they liked the book and why and rate it out of 10.
Choose a page and describe an item you can see on that page for your child to look and find (similar to a “what’s in the bag” game). Use vocabulary to describe its category, function, position. e.g. its a type of furniture, it’s made of metal, it’s next to the table. Your child can also have a go at describing something for you to find.
When reading a book you could role play the different characters and events using actions, voices and props either by acting yourselves or using your child’s own toys.
Cover up the words in the book with your hand or piece of paper. Retell the story together by using the pictures and describe what’s happening. This is a great way to get language flowing with a child who is a reluctant reader.
They include ideas our children will never face in real life such as chasing dragons, finding treasure, flying dogs and princess fairies. Experiencing stories allows them to lose themselves in wonderful adventures whilst hearing and learning new and exciting vocabulary. Grab a book, have a go, make a start and have fun!
Leave them in the comments or send them to