Teach Me to Talk: Building Verbal Imitation in ToddlersTeach Me to Talk - The Therapy Manual
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February 11, 2012 | Laura | Comments 5

Therapy Tip of the Week for 2.14.12

Here’s this week’s segment:



  2.14.12 - Make an “I Love” Book & Better Ways to Use Pictures or Flashcards with Toddlers

 “I Love” Book

I read this idea here at Nurture Store a few weeks ago and adapted it for my specific goals in speech therapy sessions over the last couple of weeks.

This is a fabulous way to “hook” kids who don’t usually like to look at books since you’ll be using pictures of their favorite people and things.

Watch the video for instructions for making the book. Since you’re working with young children, be sure to choose durable materials like cardstock for making your pages. I bound my book since I have access to that machine, but you could use a hole punch and book rings or ribbon to secure the pages.  

Don’t select too many pictures for your book. Sometimes less is more! I’d pick 5 or so pictures for most toddlers, and I’d never use more than 10 pictures for any young child! I only used 3 pictures for this little client since he has a super short attention span. Many toddlers with language delays struggle to maintain focus with this kind of task. 

Ways to work on receptive and expressive language goals with the your book were discussed in the video. Suggestions are:

1. To build interest, excitedly ask, “Where’s _____? Where’s ______” and shout “Boo!” as you lift the flap. 

2. For receptive language, rather than asking a child to “Point to ____” try FUN actions. Have him tickle, kiss, or pat the picture instead.

3. Rather than asking a child repeatedly, “Who is this? or What is this?” build a verbal routine. Read the book several times using the same carrier phrase such as, “I love ____. I love ____.”  Pause before you say the name of the picture. After several days of reading the book, pause to see if the child will fill in the name.

4. Practice answering yes/no questions with a gesture or the verbal response with the question “Is this ________?” Use LARGE gestures to model the correct answer and entice a child to answer correctly.


Better Ideas for Flashcards (IF you use them at all with toddlers!) 

Pick up a cute Valentine’s bucket with a hole in the top to use for placing flashcards in after you name them.

For receptive practice, place a few pictures (2-4 at the most for toddlers with delays) on the floor or table and have the toddler find the picture and then put it in the bucket.

I also like to place the pictures in first and have a toddler try to stick his hand in the hole to grab a card.

For kids who don’t like pictures, mix in a few objects to entice them to stay with the activity.  

You could also hide the pictures around the room and have a toddler place the pictures in the bucket as he finds them.


I hope you’re enjoying these tips every week! I’d love to hear from you if you’re successfully implementing these ideas!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!




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There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. Great Idea, thanks for sharing. Inspired me to make a “Who’s In The Barn?” flap book. Open the barn flap and say, “MOO” or “BAA”, etc. Also put page at the end with 5 animals and extra separate animal pictures for simple matching game.
    Love the tips, great addition.

  2. Thanks for sharing your great extension of this idea! Love it!! Laura

  3. THANK YOU for all the ideas and tips! These videos are great!

    Thank you so much!


  4. You’re so welcome Kristen! I so appreciate the positive feedback!! Thank you!!!!!!! Laura

  5. Thanks Laura for this wonderful website. I have a 2 year old at home who seems to be delayed with communication. She knows a lot of words like Dadda, Mumma, shoe, Car, bye bye, Hi, her favorite show name Caillou, hat, flower, mine, no, yeah etc…. she puts her own shoe, eats her meals with her spoon etc… But she is a lot lazy to try new things or say new stuff. I have tried a whole lot of ways to teach her but just wouldnt work. May be she is confused cause we (being from India) speak our mother tongue at home which is not English which is spoken here. But iam thinking of sticking to English alone. Iam going to use some of the techniques you provided here in this website to take a different approach with her. Planning to buy the “Teach me to Talk DVD” as well. What do you think? Iam so happy I came across this website today.

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