Using Books to Improve Speech

Books are great for learning new words but did you know they can also be great for practicing pronunciation and developing pre-reading skills?


Here are some easy tips for using books to work on pronunciation and speech sound awareness. Being aware of speech sounds means that a child can hear how a “B” sounds different than a “P” or a “G” sounds different than a “D”. This not only helps them to pronounce more clearly but also helps prepare them to become readers.


Remember with books, the goal isn’t to open the book and read every word. Sometimes you’ll only read a few lines as your child tugs on the next page because they’re feeling impatient to get to the end. TWO FUN minutes with a book are better than TEN TERRIBLE minutes with a book. What makes it fun? The silly factor!



A few tips to keep it silly


*Make silly voices like no one’s watching because no one is except your child and they think you’re weird anyway


*Act out the scenes in the book. If the elephant in the book is stomping, then you can stomp too.


*Ask LESS questions. If your child gets bombarded with questions, then they’re going to want to split. Make comments on what your child points at or finds interesting in the book.


Now, on to pronunciation.


When you're reading the sounds that your child’s speech therapist has recommended they work on, really emphasize those sounds. Overarticulate them. If you’re not working with a speech therapist, check out ASHA Speech Language Milestones online. Not all speech sounds develop at the same rate so you want to work on the sounds that are age appropriate for your child.


Do a sound hunt. Look for the sounds you’re working on and point them out to your child. Ask them to make that sound. Think of other words either in the book or of things around you that start with that sound. For example, if you’re reading the three pigs and working on “P” then overemphasize “Pig” and search for other “P” words- pink, pot, paper, pumpkin.


Play with rhymes. Many children’s books are created with the goal of playing with sounds, and so they have a lot of rhymes. Really enunciate the words that rhyme and then make up more words that rhyme. See if your child can make up some too. Going back to “Pig”. Is he wearing a WIG? Is he BIG? Does he want to eat a FIG?


When your child is no longer interested in the book or you’ve finished the book, give the book a soft pat on the cover, tell it Bye Bye and see if your child can follow through on directions to put the book away! Well done!


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