As a parent, you can use books to develop some of your child’s important social and language skills.
Here are five skills you can work on using books:
1. Joint Attention
You can use books to develop your child’s ability to attend to you and the object of their interest (in this case a book). Joint Attention is such an important skill to work on because it is necessary for any learning to happen.
How to do this: Sit face to face with your child and place a book in the middle, with the book upside down to you. To increase your child’s engagement, follow your child’s lead with the book, allow them to spend as much time as they like looking at pages of interest while you make comments on what they can see. Occasionally, raise the book to your eye-level to guide your child’s gaze towards you during the interaction.
2. Sustained Attention
Sustained Attention is another important skill you can work on with your child using books. To improv your child’s Sustained Attention, engage your child in activities involving books and gradually increase the length of these activities over time.
How to do this: You can start with reading one page of a book your child is interested in on Monday, increase it to two pages by the middle of the week, then three pages the following week, and continue to increase the number of pages over time.
3. Early Social Skills:
Books are great for teach in your child early social skills like turn-taking and sharing items.
How to do this: You can take turns with your child to hold the book, turn the pages, point to pictures, make comments on what you see and to read words.
4. Receptive Language (Understanding Language):
Books can be used to expand your child’s understanding of words, concepts and the world around them.
How to do this: As you look through a book with your child, describe / comment on what you see while pointing to the pictures. You can use emphasis and repetition to help your child understand new concepts. For example, if your child points to the picture of a dog inside a box, you can say “dog in the box... in”.
5. Expressive Language (Using Language):
You can use books to improve your child’s phrases and increase the length of what they say.
How to do this: While you look through a book with your child, model words which your child may not have yet, and expand on what your child says. For example, if your child points to the Humpty Dumpty in the book and says “fall”, you can expand on this with a longer phrase like, “Humpty Dumpty fell”.
Books can be very useful for teaching your child many social and language skills. In this post, I’ve included just a few of them.
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