Friday, March 29, 2024

Shared Reading at Any Age

Boost your child’s language skills with shared reading! Take a look at the strategies below to assist your child with reading at any age!


Infants

  • Position yourself in front of your baby with your face clearly visible

  • Pick books with simple pictures 

  • Model saying 1 to 2 words to describe each page

    • For example, “dog” “hi, dog” “dog run” etc.

  • Use facial expressions as you read 

  • Great books for infants…

    • Where’s Spot?

    • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?

    • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? 

    • Little Blue Truck


Toddlers

  • Position yourself near you child

  • Be flexible! 

  • Follow your child’s lead

    • Toddlers often like to ask questions about the book and pictures

  • Shared book reading with your toddler might NOT be reading the words on the page

  • Instead, you might spend the time answering your child’s questions

    • For example, your toddler might point to pictures in the book and ask, “what’s that?”

    • You should name the picture or action, i.e. “dog” then add another word(s) to describe the picture or action, i.e. “dog run” “big dog” “hi, dog” etc. 

  • You might also ask your child to identify and find things on each page

    • For example, you might say, “where is the cat?” “what does the cat say?”

  • Let your toddler practice turning pages

    • You might say, “next page” then wait for your child to turn the page

  • Great books for toddlers…

    • Llama Llama Red Pajama

    • The Little Engine that Could

    • Corduroy

    • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

    • Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site


Preschoolers

  • Position yourself near the child

  • Like toddlers, preschool readers may also want to ask many questions about the book and pictures

  • Follow your child’s lead

  • If your preschooler points to a picture and asks, “what’s that?” then you should name the picture or action and add 2+ descriptor words

    • For example, your child points to a dog in the picture book and asks, “what’s that?” 

    • Then, you might say, “Dog. Dog is big and black. Dog runs fast!” 

  • The number of descriptor words you model will depend on your child’s language level

    • For example, if your child typically uses 3 words to communicate wants and needs, then you should model 4-5 words in a sentence to describe a picture scene

  • Alternately, some preschoolers may be ready to answer open-ended questions about pictures 

    • For example, you might ask, “who is in the picture?” “where are they?” “what is the man doing?” “what color is the house?” 

  • At this age, children may also be able to answer questions to make predictions

    • For example, you might ask, “what do you think will happen next?”

  • Great books for preschoolers…

    • I Can Read Biscuit

    • Pete the Cat books

    • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

    • Madeline

    • Are You My Mother?


School-aged children

  • Position yourself near the child

  • At this age, your child will likely be able to enjoy longer stories with more words per page and/or pictures with more details 

  • Similarly to preschoolers, school-aged children will benefit from answering questions about the book or pictures

    • For example, “what are they doing?” “who is in the tree?” “where are the kids?”

  • In addition to these simple questions, you might start to ask questions about motivation or emotion

    • For example, “why are the kids running?” “why is the boy crying?” “why does she feel happy?”

  • This is also a great age to start asking questions about the main idea

    • For example, at the end of the story, you might ask, “what was the story about?” 

    • If this is still too difficult for your child, then ask questions about the events of the story in order, i.e. “what happened first?” “what happened next?” “how did the story end?”

  • You might also ask your child to retell the story from their own memory

    • For example, at the end of the book, you might say, “now you tell me the story back with as many details as you can remember. What happened in the book?”

  • Great books for school-age children…

    • Good Dog book series

    • The Rainbow Fish

    • Curious George books

    • There was an Old Lady Who book series



What’s the role of the Speech Therapist in reading?


At Building Blocks Therapy Services, each of our Speech Therapists is equipped with the skills and knowledge to help you and your child learn language through shared reading! We care about your child’s ability to communicate at home, school and in the community. Please, visit www.buildingblocksgr.com or call (616) 570-925 to learn more about supporting your child’s language development through shared reading. We look forward to building a relationship with you and your child!





Source:

Reading Milestones (2022), Cynthia M. Zettler-Greeley, PhD

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/milestones.html


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Purpose of Play

 Play (verb) to engage in an activity for enjoyment.



Why play with your child? 

Through play, children learn to communicate their thoughts & ideas and develop skills of social & emotional regulation. 


Play should vary based on your child’s age or developmental level. 


For the earliest language learners and for children with difficulty learning language, start by simply being with the child. Sit at the child’s level. Observe what toys or objects the child is interested in, then join in. Show the child that you’re interested in their ideas! 


Sensory-motor play is another way to engage with early language learners and children with language difficulties. Engage a variety of senses as you play with the child. For example, rub the child’s back, tickle the child, push the child on a swing, blow bubbles, sing, clap out a rhythm to a favorite song. Notice what the child likes! Which type of play gets the child’s attention? 


When playing, vary the play after you have done the same pattern a few times in a row. For example, some examples of varying play while opening and closing a door might be opening and closing with a song, playing peek-a-boo, pretending to hit your head then fall down “ouch.” Variations in play often get the child’s attention and they will likely ask for “more”!



As a child moves into the higher developmental levels, he should show a good awareness of intentional and 2-way communication. The child should also start using first words! Now the child is ready to engage in play to expand their language. When speaking TO the child, do NOT use baby talk! When speaking FOR the child, use words to express the child’s perspective. For example, if the child says “up” then you model “pick me up.” 


Children also learn feelings and empathy during play. Label the child’s feelings in the moment, “you’re mad that your sister took your snack!” Your child will also learn as others model identifying their own feelings “I feel happy that you played with me!”


As the child begins simple pretend play, you can model silliness and imagination! Pretend a towel is a puppet and say “what a mess! Let me clean you up.” Any objects that are part of your child’s routine can be included in pretend play (clothes, shoes, toothbrush, utensils, etc.). Use big gestures and silly voices!


What’s the role of the Speech Therapist in play?


At Building Blocks Therapy Services, each of our Speech Therapists is equipped with the skills and knowledge to help your child learn language through play! We care about your child’s ability to communicate at home, school and in the community. Please, visit www.buildingblocksgr.com or call (616) 570-925 to learn more about supporting your child’s language development through play. We look forward to building a relationship with you and your child!


Sources:


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