Storytime is a common household favourite! Even if you’ve read the same Robert Munsch book over and over into oblivion, it’s always nice to snuggle up with your little one at the end of a long day. Storytime also serves as an incredible opportunity for learning and language development. While there’s no right or wrong way to read a book with your little one, incorporating these small strategies into storytime can make this interaction even more beneficial to their speech development. Happy reading!
1. Reposition Yourself
Non-verbal communication is key to speech development! While it’s nice to cuddle with your little one as you read a book during bed-time, it’s helpful for your child to watch you and your facial expressions as you proceed through the story. Position yourself and your child across from one another so that you’re able to make eye contact during story-time. Encourage your child to indicate when he/she wants the page to be turned to help them acknowledge when a passage is complete. Hold the book just below your chin to draw your child’s attention towards your face so they can visualize how you shape your mouth as you read specific words!
2. Take Your Time on the Page
Oftentimes we play the race game: how many words can I get through before my toddler tries to turn the page? If your child seems more intent on playing with the pages than hearing the story, try to focus their attention elsewhere on the page and increase the quality of the interaction. Try pointing to individual items within an illustration and naming them. Help your child focus their attention by placing your hand over his/hers and forming a point together. Slowly move your child’s finger from one item to another naming select items within the picture.
3. Stop Asking Questions
Does anybody else have a toddler whose favourite word is “no”? Just wait until the teenage years! In an attempt to engage, parents often start asking questions like “what colour is this?” or “what noise does this animal make?” while reading a story. Oftentimes, the answer is a simple ‘no’. Try to go through an entire storybook with your toddler without posing a question – it’s not easy! Instead, try to narrate the book using short statements. “I see a balloon” or “the airplane is flying high”. It may seem less engaging but your toddler will be processing far more information without the distraction of questions. When pointing out items on the page, try to make silly sounds that correspond with the illustrations such as a barking dog or a buzzing bee!