Hi, I’m Michelle Sisto and I work for Achieve Beyond as a speech-language pathologist. Our focus today is to discuss how literacy can be used to promote speech and language development.
Books and literacy are a great avenue to target early language. With books, of variety of goals and targets can be focused on. Books target new vocabulary, verbs, concepts, and more. Many books are also repetitive, which allows children to anticipate what is coming next and can start to imitate and use those target words and phrases. The pictures also allow for support with the vocabulary, verbs, and concepts because it’s a visual representation of the words being targeted. There are several different strategies as well as different books that are great at promoting early language development using literacy.
Here are three strategies that can be used while reading with your child. First, use intermittent pausing while reading books with repetition. We all know those four favorite books that a child asks to read over and over again. When it’s a book with repetition, after reading it several times, pause during the predictable parts to encourage the child to fill in the pauses that are being presented.
Second, talk about the book beyond the words on the page. Although reading the story is awesome, pictures and illustration provide further materials to use to facilitate and promote speech and language development. Discuss and comment on the pictures while pointing to them. Follow the child’s lead and discuss pictures they’re pointing to, focused on, and asking questions about. The pictures will support the vocabulary and the language that is being modeled.
Last, engage in face-to-face interactions with the child. While reading the book, face the child and hold the book open for them to see it, this allows for the child to simultaneously focus on the book and your face, which helps when you’re modeling and looking for imitation. This also builds connection and reciprocal interactions such as facial expressions, body language, and eye contact.