Sharing books to build sentences and vocabulary

Exploring books together is a fantastic way to support your child’s talking. When we look at books together in a playful way, all sorts of fun conversations can happen. I particularly like books with very few words, because this frees us to talk about the pictures, rather than getting stuck on decoding the words or telling the story ‘exactly so’.

In this video I share my top tips for sharing books together in a way that builds their sentence construction and their vocabulary.

Sharing books to build SENTENCES and VOCABULARY

First suggestion is to sit next to each other. It’s lovely to have that cosy lap time when you’re sharing books, but for speech and language development, it’s really useful to sit next to each other. It makes it easier for you to notice what your child is interested in and for them to watch your face when you’re modelling words and sounds.

Second suggestion: abandon your agenda! It’s easy for us to ask lots of questions and quiz a child when we’re looking at books. But, when we let the child be in charge of the book and how they want to share it, we create lots more opportunities to support language development.

Third suggestion: notice what they notice. Sometimes it’s surprising what children particularly enjoy in a book. When we slow down and follow what a child’s interested in, then it’s easier for us to give them a word or sound that they’re really motivated to learn.

Finally: reflect and expand. This is a really useful tip for supporting language in all sorts of situations. Whether your child is using single words or long sentences, we can build their learning by acknowledging what they’ve said and then adding in some useful details of our own.

Does your child love exploring books together? Then, you might like to try turning a favourite into a sensory story. Find out more here.

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