I have had a love of reading and books since I was a child, so it only makes sense that they have easily become my favorite therapy activity! There’s so much fun to be had with books at any age! March is National Reading Month, and I can’t think of a better time to share my love of books with you! Below are some of my favorite reading activities and books to incorporate with children of any age! Happy reading!
It’s never too young to start to introduce books to young children! For the youngest of readers, you can’t go wrong with the classics! Below are just a few of my favorites!
- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? By Dr. Seuss
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?
For my little readers with little hands, I choose board books. They are easier for this age group to turn the page and there is no need to worry about pages ripping! When reading with little ones, don’t feel like you have to stick to the words on the page- play in the book! The character in the book is swimming? Make splashing noises! The characters are jumping? Use your fingers to ‘jump-jump-jump’ off the page! A sweet puppy, pet the puppy! You get the idea!
Another way to get little ones excited about books is to describe the pictures. Talk about what’s going on and use repetitive words. As the caterpillar in The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats his way through various foods, use this action word repetitively (‘eat, eat, eat’) and add sound effects (e.g. yum!). Labeling and describing pictures in books is an excellent way to help grow your child’s vocabulary within context.
This is a great time to begin to start discussing details of what makes up a story. I use story maps to identify story components such as characters, setting and problem and solution. There are so many different story maps and visuals available for free on the Internet! Working on key story components helps strength reading comprehension for later on. Another way to have fun with books at this age is to pair a related craft project. Reading about fish? Make a fish craft. Pinterest © and I also like to match my books up seasonally to help children learn about what’s going on around them!
I love finding books that align with my client’s interests once they reach chapter books. While variety is a good thing, your child is going to be more willing to read if they’re reading something they enjoy! Take trips to the library with your child and explore their interests. Find books that they are excited to read! I like finding books that are part of a series. Series help kids find a pattern to the story, develop a stronger understanding of the characters and get them excited to read the next book. At this age, I continue to work on identifying key components of the story.
Another idea to increase reading comprehension in chapter books is to have the child identify the main idea (what the story is about) and two-three supporting details. I also use books at this age to talk about feelings/emotions (e.g. ‘How is the character feeling?’) and cause/effect (e.g. ‘Why was the character feeling that way?’) and character perspective.
Written By: Sadie Bognar, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist