Tala's Tip: Read Books!
Books are so much more powerful than you think! Even before children can read or recognize letters, books help to teach preliteracy skills such as: attention, page turning, sharing, listening and holding books correctly. For younger children, reading targets a ton of language goals: labeling, pointing, following directions, understanding concepts, answering / asking questions, expanding utterance length, etc.
You aren’t tied down to just the words on the page, either. Children’s books are filled with beautiful, descriptive pictures. Talk about them! Discuss who is on each page, what they’re doing, what they look like, the sounds they make (e.g. choo choo!), how they move, their color, size, shape – I could go on forever. Ask your child to hold the book, “look here!” turn page, etc. In fact, you don’t even need to read the words on the page! Try it: take one of your child’s favorite books, and don’t even read the words on the page. You’ll be amazed at how much language you can derive just from the pictures!
For your older child: ask them their favorite character, their favorite part of the book, their favorite page, and why? How does the book relate to events or people in your child’s life? What can they remember from the book? What were the events that happened? Target sequencing, memory, story recall, inferencing, vocabulary, summarizing and descriptive language.
See? Books really are powerful!