Looking at books is such a fantastic way to help children with their speech and language development for lots of reasons, here are just a few:
- It is the perfect way to introduce lots of new words and vocabulary, especially words for things your child wouldn’t necessarily see or hear in day-to-day life (especially during lockdown when it is tricky to introduce them to lots of new experiences!).
- Children learn best when they are interested, and books with exciting pictures will usually draw them in, or you can find books which suit their interests.
- Books help children to match the news words they hear to the pictures they see - this can help children to learn the meaning of lots of new words. For example, the meaning of words such as ‘tall’, ‘grumpy’, ‘behind’ or ‘whisper’ can be clearly demonstrated in books in a fun, engaging way.
- Books can be a brilliant way of introducing or talking about different topics, for example emotions, starting at nursery/school, friendships or cultural diversity, as well as helping to stimulate imagination and play.
- If your little one is not too keen on reading books at first, try looking through books with real photos, or with flaps they can lift. You don’t have to read the full sentences at first, you could point to the pictures, or make sound effects (like animal noises for a book about animals for example).
There are so many brilliant children’s books out there, with a range to suit every child’s interest, but here are just a few of my current favourites:
Books with real photos:
These can be really eye catching for young children, and gives you an opportunity to look through and label lots of different things for your child. It can be tempting to ask your child ‘what’s this, what’s that’, but they will likely learn a lot and enjoy you pointing and telling them what the pictures are, and especially labelling pictures they are pointing to.
Lift the flap books
There are so many brilliant lift the flap books, some of my favourites include Dear Zoo, Where does Pig Live and Where’s Spot. These books are great because there is lots of great vocabulary, they are engaging, and children who are not yet using words can participate by opening the flaps while you name the animal. They are repetitive too, as the child becomes more familiar you can try leaving a word off the end of the sentence to see if your child wants to fill in the word.
Books based on songs
This can be another appealing way to encourage little ones to enjoy books, especially if they already enjoy a particular song.
Books for busy children
Any of the Eric Carle books are great but the book ‘From Head to Toe’, or any other books which encourage children to copy the actions in the book can be useful for engaging children who prefer to move around lots. Brown Bear is another lovely lift the flap book.
Finally, for slightly older children the ‘You Choose’ book (or any in that range) by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt is a wonderful, interactive book. It is helpful for a range of speech and language skills including promoting vocabulary, conversation, questions and decision making. Another very appealing book which I love for supporting interesting chat is called ‘Welcome to our World’, all about the different traditions, languages and ways people live around the world.
If you have any favourite books you would recommend let us know, we love to try new books!