Children spend plenty of time in virtual worlds with apps and television, but how about walking them into a real world of stories and imagination- your local public library! Public libraries create sections dedicated to children, tweens, and teens. Media specialists bring books to life with displays and special reading days. Books will always be a source for developing and expanding language. Many of the goals that we target in therapy can be directly related to reading: phonological and phonemic awareness, letter sound correspondence, letter identification, rhyming, and vocabulary, just to list a few! Head over to the section of books that interest your child. Allow your child to explore the books by picking them up, looking at the cover and opening to the pictures. Tell your child to pick out a book- or three! As you sit with your child, hold up a book. Let your child touch the book and turn the pages. Talk about the cover of the book. With young children use phrases like “Turn the Page, Look, See the bear, Touch the bear’s nose.” With elementary school-aged children ask “What do you think this book will be about? Why do you think this will be a good story? What made you choose this book?”
Read the story with animation and make the book fun! You can use different voices and facial expressions that will help your child stay engaged with the story. As you go through the story, expand on the pictures by naming, talking about colors and other attributes of the pictures, and use this opportunity to introduce new vocabulary words. Ask your child to guess what might happen next in the story. After you read the story, talk about your favorite part of the book and encourage your child to do the same. Ask questions about the story. When you get home, have your child retell the story to a family member.
Go on your local public library website and check out all of the recommended books, fun activities, and dedicated events for kids. Here in Knoxville, there are story times for each age group such as “Baby Bookworms, Toddler Storytime, and Preschool Storytime.” There is a section on the library website dedicated to teenagers including homework help, Game Nights, and “Teens Talk Books” which is a book club that meets for 13-17 year olds. Summer programs are available which encourage reading by giving prizes to kids for reading books. Your local library is a perfect place to introduce your child to countless stories of every interest, art, science, math, history, imagination, new vocabulary, engaging in a group reading situation, and social interaction with other kids. Our libraries teach, enrich, and build language! Check out of the screens and into a book!
Margie Busby, M.S., CCC-SLP