From an early age, we learn the importance of reading as a way to develop cognition and expand the way we see the world. If a child experiences speech and language delays, reading can help to develop these skills, as well as many other skills. Reading is also an excellent activity, since it can be done in any setting. Parents can spend time reading with their children at home, teachers can read with their students during storytime, and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can read with children during speech therapy sessions.
Modeling through reading
When a parent, teacher, or therapist reads aloud to children, they model effective language use and introduce new vocabulary for the child. One of the best ways for anyone to improve their vocabulary is through reading (often!). If adults are engaged in reading with children and they make it a fun activity, then children will learn to also enjoy reading. As children develop their language skills, you can also start taking turns reading aloud. If you choose books on a range of different topics, children are also exposed to new ideas and ways to view the world. Books on different topics will also expand vocabulary, which can lead to more opportunities for social interactions.
Questions: building receptive language skills
Getting children actively engaged in reading is very important! One great way to do this is to ask the child many questions throughout the book. This ensures that they are focused on the book and are following key concepts. If a child experiences delays in receptive language, answering questions about a book can be particularly difficult. If you continually practice this skill with your little one, they will begin to develop their receptive language. An easy place to start is with ‘WH’ questions: who?, what?, when?, where?, why?, and how? Whether or not we realize it, these questions are a pivotal component of any social interaction, so they are important to learn at an early age. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays may greatly benefit from practicing questions during reading, as they often experience delays in receptive language development.
Do you think your child could benefit from a therapeutic preschool program for their language development? Contact CST Academy by clicking the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to learn more about our ABA therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, and occupational therapy services for children in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.