We have Julie back with us from Wide World of Speech Therapy and Open Wide the World. We have loved having Julie write us a mini-series on The Importance of Reading to Your Toddler!! (This woman is so intelligent and such a talented writer!!)
Today I’d like to share some of my favorite books to read with children from birth through preschool. These are books I appreciate both as a mother and as a Speech-Language Pathologist. These books have proven themselves worthy, both in my home and in the clinic setting, and are great for promoting and eliciting language development.
Although I am indifferent to the Spot series as a whole, the lift-the-flaps board book version of Where’s Spot? would be first on my list of books for the under-one set, and fun for little ones older than a year, too! Repetitive sentence structure, basic and familiar vocabulary, simple images, and the excitement of discovering what is hiding beneath the flaps… what more could a 6-12 month old want in a book?!
There is not a Speech
Pathologist on the planet who can’t recite this book by heart. It is an
absolute must-have for eliciting pre-speech sounds and early speech!
Each page has only one simple image and a single sentence with a
repetitive format that quickly becomes familiar to the youngest listeners. In the scores of mini clients I have read this book
with, I have yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t voluntarily sit through at least 5
pages of this book. I have even had breakthrough first speech attempts
with several children, using this book. Love it!
This recommendation probably needs no explanation. It has withstood the test of time, continuing to be a childhood favorite for generations, despite its otherwise-out-of-date look. Goodnight Moon offers a relaxing rhythm, rhymed phrases, a repetitive structure, and familiar vocabulary, not to mention the almost-real moonlight glow that captivates little ones. Who doesn’t have fond memories of this book?
Open any Sandra Boynton book, and you almost want to sing it, rather than read it! The Going to Bed Book is no exception. Besides the rhyme, rhythm, and musical nature of this book, it also introduces a first look at humor, with animals in the wrong pajamas, or all squeezed into one bathtub, etc. This is one of those books that can be read from day one for its exposure to rhythm, and still be read years later, and appreciated for its endearing animals and humor. (Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy is another family fave, with all the above features, plus a touching message of family love.)
While those 4 board books are my all-time therapist-slash-mommy faves, I cannot end my recommendation list without mentioning three other books from my days working with children in the birth to 3 range. They are:
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss This is another book that, in my work, has elicited first speech attempts from several previously non-verbal children. There is something about imitating animal sounds that kids just can’t resist. Love it!
- Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins Get out a toy drum and be amazed as even non-verbal and pre-verbal children join in “drum-reading” this book! Think they’re not interested? Start out doing the drumming yourself, and you’re sure to pique some curiosity.
- And finally, Bears in the Night, by Stan & Jan Berenstain If you want to introduce or bolster exposure to prepositions (“in, to, at, out” etc), this is your book. Of course, children won’t know you’re teaching them something. They’ll just be entranced by the suspense of the bears’ nighttime escapade.
So there you have it, Moms: seven of my most favorite books to read with children under 3.
But the party’s not over yet!
Then head over to my therapy blog, Wide World of Speech Therapy, where I’ll be sharing some kid-approved, pre-literacy extension activities from my therapy store. You’ll have the chance to buy the activity packet at a DISCOUNT this week… or just check out my ideas and let them inspire your own creativity in story times.
And that concludes this 3-part series on The Importance of Reading to your Toddler. Thanks for coming on this journey into early literacy with me, Moms! I’ve had a fun time with this series, and I hope you have, too.
All my best in your family reading endeavors!
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