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How to boost your child’s development through reading

Reading with your child can provide you with a wonderful opportunity to support their language development and for you both to bond over a shared interest.

The traditional method of reading aloud to your child while they listen has its benefits. However, we recommend a method which involves integrating interaction into book reading. Not only is this fun for you and your child, it’s a great way to improve their language and communication skills.

Integrating interaction into book reading

Children aged 1-3

For younger children who are not yet speaking and understanding sentences (or for children who are experiencing language or speech delays) turning book reading into an interaction can provide them with opportunities to learn new words and to practice conversational skills.

In a picture-book about planes this could look like:

Child: “Plane”

Adult: (while pointing to picture of the plane) “Yes, the plane is flying!”

Child: “Plane fly”

Adult: (while pointing to the picture of the plane or acting out a plane flying in the sky with arms) “Yes, the plane is flying.”

Children aged 3 to 5

For a child who is speaking in and understanding sentences (we usually see this from age three), turning book reading into an interaction can provide them with opportunities to expand their language and to practice the back and forth skills required for effective conversations. You can do this by encouraging them to make comments about the pictures or text that has interested them and then acknowledging and expanding on these comments.

In a picture-book about planes this could look like:

Child: “The plane is flying”

Adult: (while pointing to picture of the plane) “Yes, the plane is flying, high up in the sky.”

Child: “Grandma flyed in a plane”

Adult: “Yes, Grandma flew up here on a plane from Sydney. Grandma loves to visit you and our family!”

If you have any concerns about your child’s communication development, including their ability to engage with books, then please contact a registered speech pathologist for further information and assistance.

Click here to learn more about how speech pathology can help your child’s development.