Speechie's TOP FOUR book reading tips for parents
Although I could rattle off a few dozen, the Speechie in me will hold off and share just my TOP FOUR shared reading tips. Reading aloud to your child is something you can start from birth - I know it sounds a little early, but it’s the best gift you can give your child (even all the way up until they are adolescents!). Before a child can truly understand all the words that are coming out of your mouth, they are watching and listening to everything we do - our expression, the tone of our voices, the gestures and the stream of sound that flows from our lips. Their later language skills start here. A book is the perfect shared experience that provides a rich platform for us as adults to perform all those wonderful acts. It becomes the first conversation in which you are both sharing enjoyment and attention on the same thing. A beautiful back and forth develops as your child learns to respond back (either with just a facial expression or a sound). This teaches them everything they need to know for their later lives; how to read, write, talk, think, listen and have a conversation.
TIP 1: Start reading to your children aloud from an early age and as frequently as possible
There is a huge mountain of evidence to support the benefits of reading aloud to children. Some evidence points to a minimum of 4 shared book reading experiences per week. No doubt daily would be ideal and I personally recommend at least before bed and perhaps a quick session in the morning to set the tone for the day. There really isn’t anything that can benefit your child more than this gift of special bonding time that sparks their little brains and wires them to be literate and intelligent little beings.
TIP 2: Let them lead
This is a tip I frequently give in a number of therapy settings. What it means is, put your ideas out the window (our adult ideas are rather boring anyway) and let them take initiative. Allow pauses so your child can take the lead in the conversation. Be responsive to these initiations and follow along. It’s very easy to want to steer the ship and take charge over every situation. It’s okay if they don’t follow the story exactly or comment about something irrelevant - see where this takes you. I can guarantee you will enjoy yourself more and they too will learn far more from the experience.
TIP 3: Have a conversation
As with no. 2, if you follow their lead, you will see your time develop into a beautiful conversation where a nice back and forth takes place with the flowing and sharing of ideas and thoughts. Conversations often lead to more thoughts and observations, this develops their curiosity and ability to openly share information. Take the time to stop and look at the pictures, make a comment, ask a question, PAUSE and respond to every little thing your child does.