As a Speech Therapist you know how important reading is to develop literacy and communication skills. This guide for speech therapy reading activities will help you come up with games and challenges your children can do at home, to get them reading more – which in turn, will help develop their language skills.
Speech Therapy Reading Activities Guide
- Join the local public library – It’s a great source of free materials and kids can have great fun exploring the shelves, knowing they can take home anything they want to.
- Be flexible about the type of book – Not all children love story books. Maybe they love joke books or fun facts? Or perhaps they’d prefer a factual book about something they’re passionate about, like space, animals or insects. It really does not matter what they read as long as they read as much as possible.
- Set a reading challenge – The traditional readathon or reading challenge is where a child must try to see how many books they can read over a period of time, such as a break from school. The key to making this fun for your child is to make sure they can reach the target. So a child who is reading Harry Potter novels should not have to read as many books as a younger child reading pre-school level books. Why not use a sticker chart to help you keep track of the number of books read?
- Story characters – Have the child dress up as their favourite character from a book,, and read the book to you. You do not need to spend money on fancy costumes. Get creative with old clothes and make masks from paper plates. After using the story to get themselves into the role, the child can spend the rest of the day as that character.
- Read TO your child – Reading to your child is one of the best language development activities you can engage in. Don’t be afraid of multi-syllable “big” words, even for toddlers. Children love long and intricate words. Hippopotamus, dinosaur, octagon and so many others are enriching for language development as well as creating a magical world of books for your youngster. You’ll be amazed at how much your child will absorb simply by having you read to them.
Tips For Speech Therapy Reading Activities with Younger Children
There is never a time when your child is too young for books. Help parents settle into a regular reading routine with these top tips:
- Pick a time every day to read with your child. This will help reading become a habit, and your child will begin to eagerly anticipate this time spent with you.
- Simple words books with bright pictures are great for young ones. As they grow into toddlers, move up to simple story books.
- Don’t be discouraged if your child wants to look at a different book than the one you are reading. This is normal as you child is actually mimicking your actions. Let your child hold onto their own book while you read the other. Take time to look at the pictures, point out colours and ask questions.
- If your preschooler wants to read the same book over and over and over, just go with it. Pretty soon, they’ll be reciting it back to you.
- Silly books packed full of rhymes are fantastic for preschoolers. Dr, Seuss and similar silly stories encourage your child’s imagination, as well as help developing a sense of speech rhythm and melody.
Speech Therapy Reading Activities – Fluency For Early Readers
Reading fluency games are for children who are able to break down words and make sense of them when reading but are slow to do so.
Some children are slow to break down words when they are reading and read with lots of hesitations and pauses. They may try to read a word several times, then give up and move onto the next word. Listening to these kids read can be hard for parents as they see the effort their child has to give.
If a parent comes to you asking for help with reading fluency, give them these tips:
- Check that your child is reading text at the right level for their reading age and stage. Trying to decode too many tricky words too early will cause stumbles over words that will knock their fragile reading confidence.
- Confidence is key when it comes to fluent reading. When a child can make a good guess at a tricky word and then move on, reading becomes more fluent and less of a labored effort. If they are fearful of criticism for getting a word wrong, they may become a hesitant reader.
Speech Therapy Reading Activities – Comprehension Games
Children who will benefit from reading comprehension games are those who need help in understanding what they just read. I give more information and suggestions for reading comprehension games here.