I can’t believe it’s September! For those of us in public schools, that means re-organizing and replenishing our bag of tricks. Books of course, are an easy and engaging way to expand language.
If parents are looking for some ideas on stocking up their bookshelves (or yours) this list may help.
I also rely upon my librarian colleagues for other ideas. If I can find the board book version of anything, I usually opt for that version; board books are durable and allow you to do things like add pictures with a little bit of Velcro for matching, like this:
For very young children, or children with language delays, I generally use a couple (or five) quick pointers when perusing the bookstore:
- Engaging pictures that aren’t too visually complicated but have a clear character and setting.
- Targets: Who, what, where, when questions, descriptive language.
- Books with repetitive words and phrases.
- Targets: Oral/expressive language and literacy skills through predictable text patterns and repetitive lines.
- Books that aren’t too long, maybe 10-12 pages.
- Target: Maximize engagement for short attention spans.
- Books that can allow the adult to target core language concepts, either through text or illustrations.
- Target: Syntax, vocabulary.
- Books that enable the adult to expand beyond the text.
- Targets: Commenting, labeling how a character feels or what they are thinking.
There are many books from which to choose, but here are some good starters for your collection:
- Good Night Gorilla: Peggy Rathmann
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Eric Carle
- Have You Seen My Cat?: Eric Carle
- Good Night Moon: Margaret Wise Brown
- Blue Hat, Green Hat: Sandra Boynton
- Where’s Spot?: Eric Hill
- Go Away Big Green Monster: Ed Emberley
- Big Red Barn: Margaret Wise Brown
- Good Dog, Carl: Alexandra Day
Not every book on this list follows every guideline perfectly, but all allow for a positive learning experience that supports child language and preliteracy development.
Have an inspired school year colleagues!
Kerry Davis EdD, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist in the Boston area, working with children who have significant communication challenges. She conducts trainings and workshops, and serves as a volunteer speech-language pathologist and consultant for Step by Step Guyana, a school for children with autism in South America. The opinions expressed in this post are her own, and not those of her employer.