Speech Development Blog

Top 16 Speech Development Benefits of Reading to Your Child

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Many new parents ask me what is the best way to prepare their child for speech development. As a first time parent, sometimes you can be at a loss of what should be done with your children to ensure that they reach developmental milestones of speech, language, motor skills, feeding, etc. Reading and using books is a great way to help your child develop in more ways than just one. Reading can help your child not only expand their vocabulary and prepare them for a school environment, but is also a great bonding time for young children. Surprisingly most parents don’t have books for their children or read to them because “they can’t read yet”. Below is a list of benefits and things children can learn through even before they learn to actually read and some of them are learned even before they are able to speak:

  1. Visually attending to 2 dimensional pictures as opposed to 3 dimensional objects.

  2. Isolated pointing with a finger as they touch pictures that are interesting to them or that are named.

  3. Social time with parent as they spend time with a book.

  4. Increasing length of attention to an activity.

  5. Learning labels for pictures which increases receptive vocabulary.

  6. Learning about things that they can not experience and gaining vocabulary.

  7. Fine motor skills of opening flaps or turning pages.

  8. Cognitive skill development as concepts are labeled. For example: "Big dog."

  9. Develops book orientation, learning how pictures should face and left to right page turning.

  10. Increased listening skills.

  11. Ability to make noises and words that correspond with pictures.

  12. Imitates actions seen in pictures.

  13. Labels pictures or retells words heard in story.

  14. Begins to pretend to read orally.

  15. Begins to anticipate pages or parts of stories.

  16. Following directions such as "Turn the page." of "Point to ___."

This list is only beneficial if the books are being read with a parent. If you make books available to your child without a parent to model the words or use the books properly, your child will not get any of these benefits. Babies rely on the parent to teach them what to do with a book and do not learn this skill naturally. It is also a great speech therapy tool that you can utilize in a home setting.

Using books with a child doesn’t always have to mean reading stories to them. All children are at different levels of understanding and with different attention spans. Young children will do well with large print, colorful pictures with only a few pictures per page. This will make it easy for you to label them and also make it easier for babies to start imitating and pointing to objects. As children get older, you can start introducing books with one sentence per page in addition to a picture.

Try reading with your child every day and show excitement for reading. Be animated. Be a great storyteller to keep your child’s attention. Be creative and remember that they will always remember this special time with you.

Visit me at SpeechTails.com and submit any speech development, speech delay, or speech therapy questions and I will gladly answer them!

Have a great day!
Amy Reno -Speech Pathologist

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