Even babies enjoy hearing the rhythmic sounds of a caregiver’s voice as he or she reads aloud to them. As children get older, they may not be able to read all of the words in the bedtime book you share, but there are plenty of ways for them to be actively involved as they listen!
- Turn the pages. Gently hold your infant or toddler’s hand as you flip the pages in a book together. Add simple language, like the phrase, “turn page” to help him or her understand the meaning of those words. As your children gets older and experiences storytime more frequently, phase out the physical assistance you give him or her. Simply ask him or her to turn the pages as you read.
- Fill in the blanks. The more you read the same set of books, the more your child will become familiar with the words. Start leaving out the last line of the page and looking expectantly at your child for him or her to finish the sentence. Use a visual cue like pointing to a picture, or an auditory cue (say the first sound in the word) if your child needs help. At age 5 and above, children may start to learn rhyming words. Try leaving off the second word in a rhyming pair and seeing if your child can fill in those blanks!
- Point to pictures. Help increase your child’s receptive vocabulary by asking him or her to point to different pictures you name as you read.
- Label pictures and characters. Ask your child to imitate the names of familiar pictures or characters in a book. As he or she gets older, see if they can do this independently and without imitating you!
- Act out actions. Get your child moving and having fun as he or she acts out some of the actions in a book!
- Imitate emotions. By imitating some of the facial expressions and labeling the emotions that match them, your child can start to learn empathy skills. It’ll also help your child understand emotions and hopefully label them to you during daily situations.
- Answer WH- questions. Try asking your child Wh- questions throughout the story (who, what, where, when, why, and how). This helps check your child’s understanding of different concepts AND keeps them engaged in the story. Remember not to overload your child with questions, and to balance them by making comments about what you notice in the book.
- Predict what will happen next. Develop your child’s inferencing and predicting skills by asking him or her to guess what’ll happen next during various parts of the story. If he or she has trouble coming up with a prediction, help out by providing a choice of example answers.
- Retell parts of the story. Encourage auditory comprehension skills by pausing throughout the story, or after a page, and asking your child to tell that part back to you.
- Relate story events to personal experience. Help your child make personal connections to the stories you read by relating the events to their own personal experiences. For example, if the child in the book is going to the beach with his or her family, say to your child, “just like we went to the beach last weekend!”
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family