How to make talking fun by reading with your child

Posted by / Wednesday 07 December 2016 / Parenting Tips Baby Preschool Age Speech and Communication

As the golden days of autumn become the crisp days of winter, what better time to settle down with a good book? 

Well, ‘two’s a party’, so they say! Lots of evidence shows us that language and reading are closely linked. Sharing stories and books with young children really helps their language to develop well. So we thought we would do some sharing ourselves.

We can make talking fun by sharing books together.  By doing this children will want to join in and have conversations.


Let your child choose the book

A great starting point is to let your child choose the book they want to share (have just a few for them to choose from if they find choosing one tricky).

Don’t worry if it is often the same book they choose. Re-reading and sharing the same book can really help children to join in by telling you what happens next and maybe even why! Being able to anticipate and predict what happens next can really help children with their learning and makes them want to learn more.

"Re-reading and sharing the same book can really help children to join in"

How you sit together can make a big difference to how much you both get from sharing the book so try to get nice and cosy and comfortable. It’s really helpful to make sure you can both see the book at the same time.


Let your child be in charge of sharing the book

You can do this in lots of different ways:

  • Looking at the pictures together is a good way of encouraging your child to show you what interests them.
  • Encourage them to have a go at starting the conversation by not doing all the talking or story telling yourself.
  • Let your child show you what interests them and talk about that too. Depending on the stage they are at with their talking your child may point to pictures or be able to name them. Some children will ask lots of questions so you can have lots of interesting chats about the pictures and the story.
  • When your child points or names something, you can respond by telling them more about it. Referring to something they know about or have seen somewhere else can really help them to use their imagination more. For example, 'yes it's a cat. We saw a cat when we were walking'.
  • By taking your time and remembering to pause, you can really help your child to enjoy the experience at their own pace.
  • You can talk about the story later on after you have finished sharing the book to see how much you can remember about it together. This is a good way for children to practice recalling new words and experiences This will also support them to learn language and practice their conversation skills in a really fun, relaxed and rewarding way.

Find out more from I CAN's free factsheet. If you’d like more ideas, or are worried about the way your child is learning new words, why not have a free chat to one of I CAN’s speech and language therapists. The I CAN Help service can help with any questions you have about your child's language and communiciaton.