By Stefanaki Evgenia, SLP, OM, Prompt Trained
Reading books with the right way with your child may be part of your every day routine. If your child’s language is delayed, reading together the right way is critical. Optimizing the way you read to your typically developing child is important too. It is not a time for your child to sit on your lap and relax – it is the time for your child to think, discuss and engage!
The manner in which you read books with your child can help improve attention, vocabulary, conversation, grammar, critical thinking (inferencing, story structure, memory), knowledge of letters and sounds as well as phonological awareness skills.
First of all, begin with a discussion about the cover of the book.
Pose questions such as:
“Who do you think this story is about?”
“Where does this story takes place?”
“This looks like an exciting story, what do you think is going to happen?”
Also, talk about the title of the book too.
While you read a book together, ask factual questions you feel your child can answer. For example:
- Who is going to ride the bus?
- What color is Mama’s pocketbook?
- What is running next to the bus?
- When does this story start? When does it end?
- Where are some places the girl and her Mama visit?
- What is in the girl’s pocketbook?
- What did the dry cleaner give the girl?
Follow your child’s lead! If he makes a comment about a picture or something mentioned in the text, expand his thought.
Talk about vocabulary words as they come up in any book.
When your child is ready to make a jump to more involved questions, try:
- Setting: When and where the story takes place.
- Connections between the text and your child’s life. You can say: “Remember when you…” or “This reminds me of…”
- Discussion: Find meaningful details in the pictures, chat about favorite parts of the story, ask “What if?”
- Being confused: Why do you think…?
- Predictions: Can you make a prediction – what do you think will happen next?, What do you think will happen at the end?
- Inferencing: What clues do the pictures or words give us to figure out something the story doesn’t say?
- Feelings: How do you think (the character) feels? Why?
- Main Idea: What was the most important point of this story? What was the problem in the story?
- Character: Who was your favorite character and why? What might the character do? (inference)
- Actions: What do the characters in the story do to solve the problem?
- Summary: Have your child give you a simple summary of the story with details. Is a resolution included?
- Sequence: When your child shares a summary, are the details in a reasonable order?
- Memory: A child can try to recall all the animals have seen in the story.
- If you feel like you’re asking too many questions, try thinking out loud: “I was wondering how the boy was going to let Jeremy know the pie he was about to eat could be dangerous.” or “I am trying to figure out why Cynthia is being so good to the goldfish.”
It’s best to read face to face with your child, but allow your child to see the pictures and the text. Enjoy story time!
Evgenia Stefanaki, SLP, OM, has the private practice "All for Speech Center" and is a nationally certified and licensed Speech & Language Pathologist. She is also PROMPT© trained and holds specialization in orofacial myofunctional therapy. She writes on the blog about speech & language disorders and orofacial disorders.