Have you noticed that many toddlers with receptive language delays don’t enjoy reading books with another person?
This can break a mom’s heart, particularly if she likes reading or if she feels unsuccessful trying to “teach” her child.
This may also frustrate a therapist who thinks, “How am I ever going to get this kid to sit through an entire book?”
Disinterest may occur because the words aren’t meaningful to the child yet. All the toddler with difficulty understanding words hears when someone reads to him is “blah blah blah.”
So what does a very young child in this predicament do?
She moves on to something that makes more sense to her.
Or he might try to grab the book himself to quickly flip the pages and a wrestling match ensues as the adult fights for control.
Here’s a better way to capture a young child’s attention and promote initial interest in books.
Use props to make the story come to life.
For example, when reading a book like Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, grab yourself a stuffed monkey and act out the words to the story. Read the story while sitting beside the bed and make the monkey jump as you enthusiastically read, or better yet, sing, “One little monkey jumping on the bed…” Make the monkey fall to the floor as you chant, “He fell off and bumped his head.”
If you don’t have a stuffed monkey, no problem. Raid your stash of toy zoo animals and use a plastic monkey.
Still no luck? Find a monkey puzzle piece. Any representation of a monkey will work to make the word “monkey” meaningful for a young child.
I discussed TONS of other ideas to make books better for toddlers with language delays in a 3 part podcast series last year.
Like every project I tackle, the ideas are arranged in a hierarchy, or by skill level, from simple to more complex. Ideas for younger toddlers or those with significant delays are provided in Part 1. This show also includes ideas for adapting and modifying books for young children with motor challenges. Recommendations increase in difficulty with higher developmental skills through Parts 2 and 3. I shared my favorite books for toddlers and CUTE therapy ideas I’ve used effectively in therapy sessions with very young children.
Grab a pen before you listen so you can jot down notes as you plan super FUN therapy sessions for your little friends or your own baby this year!