Using Children’s Books to Enhance Language Skills

Using Children’s Books to Enhance Language Skills

Reading to children beginning at a very young age is a great way to introduce them to language.  However, enhancing their language can go far beyond reading the book.  Here are some fun, simple ways to use children’s books for more than just reading the words on the page.

  • Select books that are repetitive and have child “fill in the blanks”
    • Example: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See” By Eric Carle.   Repetition is a great way for children to learn language.  After multiple times reading this book with your child, start pausing in the reading and see if your child can fill in the blanks.
  • Use picture books that don’t have any words.
    • Using picture books you and your child can make up your own story. Take turns adding to the story with each turn of the page.
    • Instead of making up your own story, describe what you see on each page. This can start at the word level with just naming items on the page and eventually expand to sentences describing items on the page.
    • Play a game of “I Spy.” Describe something on the page and see if your child can identify it, then switch roles where he/she describes then you guess.
      • Example: “I Spy something that’s red, is a fruit, crunchy, and grows on trees.”
  • Use traditional nursery rhymes or fairy tales.
    • Nursery rhymes have rhythm to them just like songs….after multiple repetitions start pausing during the rhyme and see if your child can finish the rhyme. You can also act out nursery rhymes using yourself or “characters” that you have in your toy box!!!  Imaginary play and acting them out is a great way to develop underlying skills that will be needed in the future for comprehension!
    • Fairy tales have many hidden meanings. Discuss the meanings with your child.  These are also fun to act out. Switch it up a bit by changing the ending or adding/changing characters.
  • “I Spy” by Jean Marzollo or “Look and Find” by Pikids (just to name a couple)
    • These books are great to work on describing! Instead of just searching for the item listed or pictured, take turns describing items and your child has to find that item on the page.
    • You can also develop your own picture scenes at home by using stickers, drawing pictures, or cutting pictures from magazines. Have your child make a list of clues for you!
  • Other ideas for all books!
    • Ask your child basic “wh” questions (who, what, when, where, why) about the story. e. “Who kicked the ball?”, “Where was the boy going?”
    • Make up your own ending to the story!
    • Work on predicting by pausing after a few pages and asking “What do you think will happen next?” “Why do you think that?”  Then discuss how your child’s prediction was the same/different than what actually happened.


Reading with your child can be tons of fun, especially when you change up

the routine a little bit!  Reading goes far beyond the words

on the page!  Happy reading!!


For additional ideas contact Kari Crow, M.Ed., CCC/SLP

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