Reading to your child from an early age promotes several skills beneficial for Speech, Language and Communication development. You’ll probably notice that you are doing a lot of these things already when reading with your child without even realising it:
- Joint attention – the ability to share a focus on an object or event with another person
- Anticipation – Pause before you turn the page or reveal a hidden picture and look to see if your child responds – in the picture above my little one was kicking his feet in anticipation of the animals being revealed.
- Building their vocabulary – you may have noticed that a lot of books aimed at young children have a lot of repetition in. It is through repetition that children learn, not only physical skills but also communication skills
- Intonation – intonation is used to convey the meaning and emotions behind what is being said. It’s very hard to read a child a story without using different voices for the characters and to demonstrate emotions.
For older children books can also be used to develop:
- Phonological Awareness – with books with pictures in, can they find a picture beginning with a certain sound. Can they clap out the syllables in words.
- Understanding of Wh questions – who/what/where/when/why – read the page/story and then ask your child a question about what they have heard.
- Sequencing skills – once you’ve told the story, ask your child what happened and see if they can re tell the story in the right order.
- Inferencing skills– the wh question ‘why’ works on this skill. Can they think about why something is happening. This skill usually begins to emerge around the age of 6. e.g. ‘those children are putting on their hats and gloves – why are they doing that?’ – it is cold outside.
- Prediction skills – before turning the page in a story pause and see if your child can guess what they are doing next.