Let’s talk about books! (Part 1)
One of the most common activities that all parents and children enjoy is reading books together. It strengthens their bond and introduces children to whole new worlds they’ve never experienced before. A book is THE LANGUAGE ASSET of all times. It helps boost a child’s vocabulary and diversify it. It widens his/her imagination. How and why we choose a book has a big effect on how much learning children will acquire from this activity. Why not make it fun and beneficial at the same time?
How to choose the right book for your child?
In this blog and the upcoming ones, we will discuss choosing books by age and language level of the child.
It is never too early to introduce books, so for babies (0-12 months), choose board or plastic books because they’ll probably consider them as a toy. Even though, they do not understand pictures/words at this age, they will still be attracted to bright colors, intonation of your voice and face-to-face interaction they get from their parents. Step by step, they will start linking sounds that you make to pictures in the book, e.g. “moooo” for cow. Therefore, choose clear colorful picture books of familiar objects/people/actions/animals. Interactive books with sounds, flaps to lift and different textures capture their attention too. Most of books for this age tend to be repetitive as well to help children learn the words: they repeat rhymes, words and simple sentences.
How to introduce books?
At this stage, it is advisable to adapt the text for your baby. Make sounds and link them to pictures/words, e.g. “shhhhh” for sleeping. Explore mini books that have mirrors and look at them together by pointing to him/her and yourself. Always read books while going down to your child’s level and facing him/her. It helps to look at your face and copy your reactions and sounds. Take turns in interaction with your children, make a sound, wait for their reaction, then copy their gestures, vocalizations and babbles. You could also use books as a peek-a-boo game. Babies love that! The most important thing is to choose a book they like. You could tell if they like it or not by analyzing their body expressions: the way they look/smile at you, if they babble/vocalize when you make a sound, if they flap their hands and move their legs excitingly.
Remember every stage lays the foundation for the next one. Explore, experiment with your child and always keep it fun and interactive.
Stay tuned to find out what books to choose for your 12-24 months children!
Learn more about speech and language pathology here.
- Jan Pepper and Elaine Weitzman, It Takes Two To Talk (5 th edition), (2017), The Hanen Centre, Ontario, Canada.
- Cindy Conklin, Elaine Weitzman, Jan Pepper, Anne McDade & Tamara Stein, Making Hanen Happen ITTT, Leaders Guide for Hanen Certified Speech-Language Pathologists/Therapists, (May 2018), The Hanen Centre, Ontario, Canada.