Sometimes it can be hard to get some of our kiddos to sit through a book. Special needs or not, it takes interest, attention and great patience on both the child and the adults part!
Think about it. We could quickly watch the pages flip, which may be interesting enough on its own. Or we would see colors fly by as we flip the pages. There are so many other things to pay attention to that it can be hard to get your kiddo to slow down long enough to enjoy the pictures on a page.
So how do we start to get them interested in what’s on the page? Here are a few of the tips that I use on a regular basis:
- Pick a book that matches a topic of interest. If your child LOVES Thomas the train then get a Thomas the train book!
- Start with the Cover on day one. Look at the cover together while holding the book closed with one hand. Your child can hold it as well but make sure you keep that book closed. If they try to open it, you might say “wait” or “first look at cover, then open”
- Look at the pictures. This applies to the cover as well as once you open the book. First focus on the pictures in the book and don’t worry about the text. As you point to a picture, label it. For example, for a girl and boy going down a slide I might say “girl”, “boy”, “slide”, “go down” as my words paired with each object/action as I point to it.
- Point with your child, hand-over-hand. This may be for a different day (not the same day you introduce the book) but you can take your childs hand and point to the labeled items together. If they are willing you can try to get them to point on their own when you ask a question (e.g., “where’s the slide?”)
- Have your child to point on their own. You label the item and then have your child point to it on a page. Pick one thing per page and celebrate with a happy voice and positive encouragement (“yay! You pointed to the slide”) when your child points to it. Then encourage them to “turn the page” and do it again!
- Take a page-by-page approach to adding in reading of text. Rather than just trying to read the text from day 1. Work on the vocabulary first (as suggested in the steps above) and then when your child can sit with the book and point to pictures, it will be time to add in some reading of text. Start small. Start by only “reading” 2-3 word phrases to start. You may have to make up your own phrase about the picture on the page and that is okay! Start with 1-2 pages the first day and added 1-2 pages each day (or more) as your child tolerates it.
Note: Only encourage your child to turn the page when you are ready for them to do so. I often hold my hand on the page so it cannot be turned without the child asking me to move or communicating in some way, which allows me to ask them to wait if we are working on labeling or pointing to a named object on the page.
Before you know it, your child will be sitting with books “reading” on their own. They will want to flip through pages but will also stop to label what they see in the pictures or point to some of their favorite pictures. I am always so excited to see a kiddo doing this, especially as they speak their version of what they think the text reads on any given page.
Give this strategy a try and see if it helps your kiddo get through more of a book, rather than just flipping through pages real fast, over and over again!
Have a great week!