Reading or looking at picture books with your children will encourage natural language learning. Reading a book together gives your child practice sharing joint attention or a common focus with you, which is precursor to language development.
Reading with young children also helps them to develop pre-reading skills (holding a book right side up, turning the pages sequentially), which gives them a strong foundation to become readers themselves.
Below are 3 tips to maximize your child’s language learning through reading.
- Talk about pictures.
While the text in many books may be simple enough to read as written, you may choose to “read” with your child by simply commenting on the pictures as you turn the pages. Use language that is age-appropriate for your child, modeling single words or short phrases to describe illustrations. Focus on giving her language for the pictures she sees rather than asking questions.
- Follow your child’s lead.
Take notice of the pictures that catch your child’s attention. Label the illustrations that your child points to, acknowledging her interest. Provide your child with the words to help her express herself. Take cues from your child to know when she is finished reading a particular book or done participating in the activity.
- Use repetition.
Although you may get bored of reading the same book over and over again, repetition is key to learning language. Given frequent opportunities to read the same book, your child may begin to show you what she’s learned by pointing to pictures that you name or by labeling them herself!
Source – My Baby and Me: A Book About Teaching Your Child to Talk (Betsy Moog Brooks)