September 6 is National Book Day! As speech language pathologists, we use books A LOT. Books are such an important part of language development from very early on, that we want to be sure we are not only using them, but also teaching parents how they can use books to stimulate early language development. While I could write out a list with numerous books for each age, I’m keeping it simple, and hopefully including some books that you may not have heard of.
Some favorites for our youngest set include:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Big Red Barn by Margaret Brown Wise
Moo, Baa, LaLaLa by Sandra Boynton
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
These are all great because they incorporate rhyming and repetition into the story. Hearing the repetitive phrasing can help kids predict what will come next and allow them to be prepared to fill in the phrase with a sound, gesture, or even word!
Some favorites for our 2-3 year olds include:
Go, Dog, Go by Dr. Seuss
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
These books incorporate early language concepts such as opposites (up/down, dirty/clean, asleep/awake), as well using familiar vocabulary and simple story lines for 2-3 year olds to follow along.
Some favorites for our 3-5 year olds include:
Who’s Next Door by Mayuko Kishira
Fish is Fish by Leo Leoni
Press Here by Herve Tullet
Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh
Windblown by Edouard Manceau
Journey by Aaron Becker
These books involve slightly more complex language and concepts, but keep children engaged with their pictures and engaging storylines. They are also fun to read as a precursor to completing a project. For example, Windblown is about tiny bits of paper in different shapes that have blown around to form different animals. One of my favorite activities is to then give the kids those same shapes and have them imagine and problem solve how to come up with their own animal.
To summarize, there are many excellent books out there. Reading to your child is important in so many more ways than just language development. I hope I’ve given some new suggestions or reminded you of some old favorites.
Happy National Book Day!