Reading to your child is essential for their language and cognitive development! Sharing books with them should begin as early as possible, and it can take many on different forms.
It is important to remember to incorporate specific reading styles for different ages and developmental stages. If you are sharing a book with a younger child with limited to no vocabulary, you might focus on pictures, patterns, gestures, and reinforcing eye contact. If your child is older with a more developed vocabulary, you might actually read the words, ask questions about main ideas, identify rhyming words, and help them decode some words.
No matter their age, the following tips are sure to engage and entertain your child during book time!
Stress important words.
“Punch” bigger words that push the story forward. This skill will keep your child engaged with you and the story! Changing your voice or adding emphasis will let your child know that it is an important word.
Utilize intonation and emotion with your voice.
Changing the way you read a sentence will change how your child will interpret its meaning!
If you are reading to a child who may not understand every word in the book, it might be helpful for them to understand the feelings the story wants to convey by expressing them with your voice.
Examples: Interrogative sentences should end with rising intonation (a questioning voice), and scary situations should be read in a frightened way.
Use different voices!
This will also keep your child engaged! Using different voices not only notes that a different character is speaking, but also models and encourages turn taking in conversation!
Act out the story/plan corresponding activities.
This generalizes what is learned from books to real life applications and connections!
Examples: If your story is about foods = make those foods and talk about the sequence of the story/significant characters and descriptions as well as rhyming words. If your story about bedtime = put stuffed animals to “bed” and talk about their routine.
Remember: reading to your child is a great way to help them acquire language! Why not make it a fun activity?
This article was written by Gracie Lee. Gracie is a rising Junior at the University of Alabama studying Communicative Disorders with a minor in Business. She plans to become a Speech-Language Pathologist and specialize in aural rehabilitation. In her spare time, Gracie likes to read, bake, and go to concerts with her friends.