Supporting Language Growth Through Shared Reading

Why Shared Storybook Reading?

Many studies have reported the benefits of shared storybook reading on language development and literacy. Research has shown that reading with your child actively participating (rather than just listening) promotes better outcomes. Learning simple techniques to maximise your child’s interaction during shared storybook reading is an invaluable skill for supporting their learning.

Strategies to Maximise Learning

· Let your child choose the book they want to read. It is okay to read favourite books over and over again!

· When re-reading a favourite book, invite deeper thinking about the story/plot and characters e.g. “how do you think he feels?”, “What would you do?”, “What will happen next?”

· Encourage your child to “read you the book” (tell the story to you) for their favourite repeated reading books.

· Focus on what your child is looking at on the book, let them take the lead. Pause on a page for as long as you need to. Talk about the pictures.

· Balance the interaction, take turns when talking. Say a comment, or ask a question, then wait for the child to respond.

· Try to make more comments than questions, this promotes language development, and increases engagement. Pitch your comments just above the child’s language level. For example, if your child is using two word phrases, you can make comments using 3-4 words e.g. “He wants the cake”, “Open the door” “That’s a funny hat”. Be sure to use correct grammar, but put emphasis on the content words.

· At the end of each page, pause and wait for your child to say something about the page, if they don’t, you could make a comment yourself.

· Don’t be afraid to use some more advanced vocabulary. Be sure to emphasise the new word in a sentence, and talk about it to highlight the meaning e.g. “Look! He’s drenched! So wet. Uh oh, drenched in the rain!”

· Begin to highlight print concepts and letters/sounds in your reading. For example, point to the words as you read them. Talk about where you start reading on the page. Point out letters in selected words, and say their sounds “Look, this word has an M like in you name M for Monkey, and M for Maddison”.

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