Book sharing is different to simply ‘reading’ books. Book sharing is more than just reading the words in the book – it is an interaction between you and your child. When you book share with your child, you build language and support your child’s understanding (of new words, stories and language) and their talking (using new words, sentences, and telling stories).
Some strategies for book sharing:
Make comments: This means saying something about the book. You can comment on the pictures (e.g. “That is a huge brown spider!”), new words (e.g. “terrified… that means really scared!”) and thinking aloud (e.g. “I think the 3 little pigs feel worried because the wolf might eat them…” OR “I wonder what will happen next…”)
Ask questions: You can ask questions about something your child has heard or can see (e.g. “Who can you see in this picture?”), or questions that require your child to link information (e.g. “How do you think the bear feels now? Why do you think so?”)
Pause: Waiting for a few seconds gives your child time to process information and take a turn during book sharing. You can pause before or after turning a page, when something exciting is happening, or after asking a question. You can pause by waiting for a few seconds, look expectant, and watch your child to see what they are interested in.
Follow your child’s interest: Focus on what your child is interested. You can do this by watching to see what they are looking at, pointing at or talking about, and then make a comment or ask a question. (e.g. *child looking at a spider* “Look, a big brown spider! I wonder what the spider will do next?”).
There are two new parent sessions on our West Coast LDC Youtube channel focused on reading and spelling. The two sessions (Part 1 and Part 2) each cover a different skill which are essential for reading and spelling development. The sessions are 20 – 30 minutes long and can be viewed by clicking on the links below.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please talk to your child’s teacher or class speech pathologist.
The term ‘thinkalouds’ refers to expressing your thoughts aloud (literally ‘thinking out loud’). Expressing your thoughts out loud provides your child with a model of your reasoning and how you understand what is happening. Research has shown that think alouds are very effective at supporting comprehension development, including inferential comprehension (linking information).
You can use think alouds by saying “I wonder what/if/how/why……” or “I think ….”.
Book sharing – Using think alouds during book sharing can be a powerful tool for getting your child to think about different aspects of a story
(e.g. “I wonder what the dog will do next”; “I thinkthat the dog is going to jump over the fence because he wants to get the ball!”)
Explain what you are doing and why (e.g. “I think we need to put washing detergent in the sink so we get rid of the dirt and germs. Germs can make us sick”).
Engage your child in discussions involving reasoning (e.g. on a day with dark clouds, “I wonder what will happen if we put the washing out today”).
If your child does not respond you can model your thinking and reasoning using another think aloud (e.g. “I think the washing will get rained on today because the clouds are big and dark”).
It is important to encourage your child’s vocabulary development. The adults in a child’s life play an important role in helping a child learn new words. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using new vocabulary with your child.
Follow your child’s lead – emphasise words that come up in everyday conversations and interactions with your child.
Use the word several times – children need to hear a word several times before they start to use it.
Don’t bombard your child with words – aim for a balanced conversation between you and your child. It is important to wait after you say something to give your child a chance to respond.
Explain new words – this will help your child understand what new words mean (e.g. “Bear felt frightened, that means he was really scared”).
Use actions – accompany your words with actions, gestures, or facial expressions, to help your child understand the meaning of words (e.g. if the new word is yawn, show your child what yawning looks like).
The bottom line… it’s not just how much you say, but also what you say and how you say it that makes a difference for your child’s vocabulary growth.
Good social skills help children to interact effectively with others. It is important for children to develop good social skills so they are able to make friends, play appropriately with other children, solve social problems, and have positive self-esteem. Conflict resolution or problem-solving is an important social skill that often requires complex language.
Identify what the problem is – ask your child to tell you what has happened and what the problem is. You may need to ask questions and support them to understand the cause of the problem.
Acknowledge and explain feelings – this is really important for children’s socio-emotional development as it allows them to develop an understanding of their own and others’ feelings. It is also important to talk about how other people might see the problem and react differently (e.g. “I can see you are feeling angry because your brother broke your toy”).
Find a solution – Ask your child how they can solve the problem. If they are unable to think of an appropriate solution, you can support them by asking questions and giving them options (e.g. “What should you do now? Should you snatch from your brother or ask if you can take turns?”).