The first step is to select a good book. Be sure to pick a book that reflects the child’s interests.
Happily, children are often our best guide in making this decision. By letting children choose the book that will be read, we are sure to read a book that matches their interests. Sometimes children like to hear the same story over and over. It is important to provide opportunities for repeated readings of favorite books. It gives children a chance to take on new roles with each reading: to comment on their experiences with similar situations, to make “predictions” about what will happen next, and to ask and answer questions.
Children also enjoy listening to stories that are just a little bit of ahead of what they already know – they like to hear some new words, some new topics, and even some new language structures. Ideally the book contains some new information, but not so much new information that the child is overwhelmed.
Watch this video of Line reading a book with Braden, a little boy that has cerebral palsy. She knows that Braden is very interested in sports so she has chosen a book about a pig that tries out for a basketball team – Pig at Play. Watch how Line conveys her interest in the story while she reads and how she builds excitement about the story. She waits and provides Braden with opportunities to participate in the story telling as well. When she pauses, he uses speech or points to a picture to fill in some of the words in the story. He is obviously very engaged and is really enjoying the storybook reading!