Children with speech and language delays can have difficulties expressing their feelings in words or actions.   They can even have a rough time explaining things plainly and understanding spoken or written text. Talking to your child and making them identify items in a book or speaking aloud will improve their expressive and receptive language skills.

When interacting with infants and toddlers there are many benefits to reading with them. Any time you read to your child, you ‘re helping their little brains develop and grow. Read to your child every day. Pick books that you feel your child will love and enjoy reading together with you. Younger children have shorter attention spans and have a hard time attending for long periods of time. Read and look at books that are short and simple such as picture books with vivid colorful pictures.  Start reading at first for a few minutes and build on the time that you learn together with your child. Your child will quickly see reading time as a pleasant and enjoyable activity!

If you read to your child regularly and mix reading time with cuddling and playing time, your child can associate books with special bonding moments.  When it comes to preschoolers and school-aged youngsters, pick books that are at your child’s language level and books they will enjoy.  You can read the books with your child at their own learning rate.

Here are some helpful tips when reading to a child with speech and language delays:

  1. Keep it simple

As you’re reading a story together have your child point to and label pictures.  You can also ask them simple questions about the pictures they see and model simple sentences for them to repeat back to you.  This will help your child to develop and increase their vocabulary and language skills.

2. Incorporate interaction in your reading sessions

Infants and toddlers prefer durable books that can be held, dropped, chewed, and gazed at many times. With very young children, the story in the book may not be as relevant as pointing out all the interesting colors, shapes, forms and images they will see.  Allow your child to be interactive by acting out pictures with gestures and body movements.  Your child will enjoy imitating character and object actions from the story with you.

Read books with open flaps or pull tabs to facilitate contact and an element of surprise.  Look at books that promote noises or movements and that give babies optimal opportunities to communicate and interact with you.  Babies want to imitate what they see and hear, so they’re going to enjoy hearing you talking about vivid colorful and enticing pictures you see together.  They wilk enjoy books about the world around them including animals, common objects, household items, people, shapes, colors and so much more.

3. Other reminders

Select books containing colorful and vivid illustrations and images of children performing common activities within the home (like sleeping, eating, or playing). Having durable books accessible within the reach of your child will certainly be beneficial.  Place books on low shelves, coffee tables, or in child friendly bins to allow your child the ability to read anytime during the day.

Explain to your child that books are valuable and need to be taken care of.  Read stories that have repetition and allow your child to comment and expand on important elements within the story. Use nursery rhymes and fingerplay songs to act out theme related vocabulary words.  Enjoy reading and creating special bonding moments together with your child.

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