Reading books with your child

front pageI’ve been having lots of conversations about books with my patients this week – what age to introduce them, when and how.

Books are wonderful times to communicate with your child.  It also gives your child plenty of time to communicate with you too- books don’t disappear like speech and in fact the pictures supplement your words which reinforces their understanding. I picked up the above book at a recent book sale, it is perfect for 1-3 year olds who love everything about cars so I’m going to use it to explain my recommendations on how to use books to stimulate your child’s language.


What age: Straight away! Pick hard cover or vinyl books with your baby, point to the pictures and add lots of sounds. Quick and easy to match their attention levels.

middle plageThis book has lots of things for a child to do: touch and feel, move up and down etc. Interactive books are great for keeping your child involved.

When: When it suits you and your child, I am a big fan of a bed time routine so having a book after bath before bed is a nice time to cuddle and talk with your child. However don’t forget to sit down with them throughout the day, make it fun – we sit outside and have “book picnics”.


How: Book time is not question time so be careful not to get into the rhythm of asking lots of questions (e.g. “what’s this? “where is this?”), try the following:

– Name it (but keep your sentences short eg “car goes brmmmm”)

– Repeat and repeat it

– Add lots of sounds

– Add lots of actions (you can even launch into a tune!)

– Turn take with your child – pause several times on a page and look expectantly at them, they might start repeating you, adding new words or even singing!

– Don’t worry if you spend most of the time on one page or even skip pages or read the same book over and over again. Follow your child’s interest and add lots of repetitive language.

back pageI like this book because you can open the flaps to show a car/truck/helicopter etc. and then you and your child can name it, add the sound it makes and even make an action (e.g. hands moving beside you to copy train wheel movements)

Book time is such a special time with your child and with ipads becoming so easily accessible, rather than downloading a book, why not create your own using pictures about the latest adventure you had with your child – I bet they will love it!

Until next time!


This website and information on this blog post is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant or intended to replace Speech Pathology assessment and management nor medical or nutritional care for a child. It is recommended that you discuss any concerns or questions you might have with your Speech Pathologist and managing Doctor and develop an individualised team plan specifically for your child.


About the author of this blog post

Valerie is an Australian based Speech Pathologist with 10 years experience in Paediatric Feeding. She opened a private practice at the beginning of 2013 called ‘Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology’ that caters for Newcastle based babies and children with feeding difficulties and early intervention language delays. Valerie is passionate about working in the area of paediatric feeding and special needs and has been involved in the teaching and training of Australian Speech Pathology University students and allied health professionals. You can find out more about Valerie Gent and ‘Let’s Eat! Paediatric Speech Pathology’ via her website and Facebook page SpeechPathology or email her on