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Rock Your Reading

Strategies for Reading with Your Child.

Reading with your child can have many positive effects. Current research from The Ohio State University found that young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to. Now that’s a lot of words!!!

The more words a child knows the more he can understand the world around him, and the abler he is to communicate his wants, needs, and requests. While much of your child’s learning comes naturally through play and everyday life experiences, there are some skills, like reading, that must eventually be taught. That may feel a little scary, but if you’ve taught your child how to pick up his toys, put on his socks, or play ball… you CAN teach your child to read, too!

Believe it or not, those pre-reading skills begin early (2-5) and there is no need to be alarmed!!!

There are simple reading strategies that you can implement TODAY that will rock your co-reading skills (the goal is that you are reading with your child) and make your special time with books more interactive, impactful, and fun.

Interactive Book Reading is a technique that can be used with typically developing children as well as those who have language delays/disorders. (What we outline here is for 2-6-year-old children but much of the content can be expanded for older children who are being read to or simplified for those younger.)

Use books that INTEREST your child with LARGE PRINT, LIMITED WORDS per page, and LOTS OF PICTURES (note: words aren’t needed to implement some of these techniques). During this method, the adult actively engages the child in the book using various techniques before, during, and after reading.





Preview for vocabulary words the child may not know.

  • Ask your child if he understands two-three words through-out a story.

  • Sticking with a few words is best. It decreases the risk of information overload and increases the likelihood of learning.

  • Ask the child about the words.

  • When picking new words to teach, make it a point to remember them and look for opportunities to demonstrate their meaning in your daily lives. For example, when learning words separate, double or compacted you may watch the oil "separate" from the water and "separate" dough into two "halves"; give each other “doubles” by high fiving, and "compact" the trash before taking it out.

Once you hear your son or daughter use a new word in a sentence, without being prompted or cued, the word is truly learned.


Discussion Time…

Ask questions to help your child process the language he/she is learning in the book and make connections to the environment.

Discuss known vocabulary in the book and expand on their understanding (e.g., “she was eating a banana. A banana is a fruit. Can you name other fruits?).

  • Who were there characters in the book?

  • Do you like them? Why/Why not?

  • Where were they in this story?

  • Was there a problem with this story?

  • Did they solve the problem? How?

  • Can you retell the story?

  • Did you like the story? Why or why not?

  • Do you wish it ended differently? How?

  • Review vocabulary in the story for a deeper understanding.


Print awareness is a preliteracy skill.

Here are five signs that indicate that your child has print awareness.

  1. Your child knows how to hold a book correctly. If you hand your child a book upside down, he will turn it right side up before looking through it.

  2. Your child understands that books are read from front to back and from left to right and knows how to turn the pages in the correct direction.

  3. Your child pretends to write by scribbling or writing marks on paper. He understands that the “words” he is writing communicate meaning.

  4. Your child points to text and asks what it says. He has become curious about the meaning of the printed text he sees all around him.

  5. Your child picks up a familiar book and “reads” it aloud. He understands that printed words are connected to the story.

To increase your child’s awareness of print, give these a try-

  • Mention the parts of a book as you read.

  • Ask them to show you the front/back of the book.

  • Use your finger (or theirs!) to point to words as you read them to increase knowledge that we read from left to right.

  • Ask your child to point to the first word on the page.

  • Occasionally point out periods and exclamation points.

  • You might say things like, “Look at this cover! This book must be about dinosaurs!” or “The End…that’s the last page of the book.”

  • Have your child help you turn the pages.

  • See if he can show you a word on the first page.

  • Can he find an uppercase or lower-case letter?

  • The first letter or last letter?

I hope you enjoy a new story with your child today. Remember reading to your child can add more new words to their vocabulary EVERYDAY (on average 2-4-year-olds learn 10 words a day). That is nearly one new word for every hour they are awake!!

Discuss the world around you... The more words that your child has in their lexicon (that's the fancy word for vocabulary) the better they can express their wants, needs, feelings, and interests.

Happy Reading,

The Thankful SLP

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