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Tips for Reading Books with Your Child

Blonde little girl with cochlear implant reading a book at homeReading with your child can be a great way to support their communication development. Books can help expose your child to a variety of new words, pictures, signs and sounds, expand their vocabulary, provide opportunities for responding to questions and posing their own, and spark their imagination for creating their own stories. Here are some tips for you to consider when reading with your child. Please also see the links below which provide additional information about reading with your child, as well as access to online read-aloud and stories that are signed using ASL.

  1. Look at the cover of the book and discuss what you see. Ask your child what they think the story will be about.
  2. Model and encourage your child to make predictions while reading and when the book is finished. E.g., “What do you think will happen next?”, “I think the …”, “Was your prediction right?”.
  3. Build and make connections between the story and your child’s life. For example, if reading a book about a trip to the doctor, you can discuss a recent visit your child had to the doctor’s office.
  4. Take time to look at the pictures and discuss them. Make it engaging and interactive by taking turns.
  5. Read with expression. Change your tone of voice, gestures and facial expressions or signing style to fit the character and scene. For example, when looking at a picture of a big elephant, you can outstretch your arms to indicate “big” while you discuss the “very big elephant".
  6. Highlight important words with your voice or sign/fingerspelling by slowing down and adding emphasis, while showing a picture that represents the word.
  7. Expandon your child’s message. For example, if he says/signs “dog” while looking at a picture of a dog having a bath, you could say/sign that the dog is having a bath. Adding on to your child’s idea shows your child how to produce longer sentences.
  8. Discuss the book after the story is read. For example, “How did you feel when the character did this?”
  9. Retell. Have your child retell the story to reinforce learning.
  10. Extend the book by looking-up vocabulary or related topics. For example, if the book you are reading contains geography, then locate these places on a map for the child to see.

Resources:

Read Alouds (English/Oral)

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