How to Make Books Fun For KidsJul 13, 2022
We love using books in our sessions regardless of the child's age! Books provide exposure to pre-literacy & literacy skills, phonological awareness skills, themed vocabulary, inferencing skills, sequencing, speech sounds, pronouns, verbs, grammatical structures and more! The key to taking books beyond their pages is making them interactive, meaningful and motivating for the child to participate and learn from. Here are some tips we use in our sessions to make our book readings come to life and interactive for our students:
Tip #1: Use Play Props
You've heard us say this many times but it is truly the number one tip we use in therapy! Play-props can be anything from laminated pictures that symbolize and match the vocabulary you are targeting in the story to real play toys such as mini objects or themed toys that follow along with the story. Play-props provide opportunities for the child to follow along while reading and have a role in the story. For example, when you come across the bear for the first time in the story "Bear Wants More", pause the story and have the child find the bear! The child can take the bear and stick it to the page or place the toy bear on the grass mat before continuing on with the story. Use play-props for all the characters and things the bear eats and then reuse the same manipulatives in session activities that follow the story.
Tip #2: Use Flap-Books
Flap-books are naturally interactive for children without any extra prep on your part! Have the child make guesses or use core words each time they lift the flap and see what's hidden underneath! If you don't have flap books, make your own by using sticky notes and placing them on the pages throughout the story. Have the child lift the sticky note to see what is hidden - this allows you to customize your story for whatever goal you are targeting!
Tip #3: Be Expressive and Engaging
You are the most important part in making a book come to life! The child knows when we are having fun or excited about an activity as much as we do - so read with enthusiasm, use different voices, use dramatic pauses for the child to interact and fill in the blanks, or even act out parts of the story!
Tip #4: Use Movement
Incorporating movement to your story is a game changer if you have busy students in your sessions! Hide story pieces around the room for the child to find as they come up in the book (e.g., Hungry Caterpillar - find the foods hidden as he eats them in the story). Another way to incorporate movement is to use books that already have movement embedded in them (e.g., From Head to Toe by Eric Carle). Act out the actions of the characters as they come up in the story and get all those wiggles out before moving on to the next activity.
Tip #5: Use Books that Interactive Already
There are many books that are created for interactive reading making our lives a lot easier without needing extra prep! Such books include touch-and-feel books, dynamic books (e.g., 'plant a tiny seed' ; 'touch the brightest star' ; 'tap the magic tree'; 'stir, crack, whisk, bake' are all books that incorporate following directions that have the child do something to the page to make something new happen on the following page) or sing-song books!
We love sharing our top picks for therapy, ideas on how to use resources & materials to target a variety of goals in speech and language therapy, as well as therapy lesson plans for busy SLPs! For more examples and ideas on how to use a play in therapy check out our free webinar: https://www.playbasedspeechtherapycourse.com/free-play-based-speech-therapy-webinar and sign up for our email list: https://www.playbasedspeechtherapycourse.com/
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