Talking about Books and Language

 This post requires a confession. At times I have read to my kids solely to get life back under control. That's right! Sometimes and especially when my kids were little, close in age, and loud and demanding, I would read to my children to calm things down and so I could have a break of sorts from the chaos. Perhaps because of this I also did not care so much for wordless picture books because they required thinking on my part dear friends, and I was looking to calm down, not think!  Really all good speech-language pathologists know that good language enhancing reading time includes thinking, and talking. Ahem, that just doesn't mean we do it every time right? 

Now that you know my secret, you can understand why I felt just a tad bit guilty immediately after hearing about recent research about the value of wordless picture books and their ability to naturally enhance parent-children book reading and discussion.  For just the same reasons that I occasionally didn't want to read a wordless picture book,  these books encourage much more language (and thinking) and discussion between children and parents. That may seem kind of obvious, but it was a good reminder to me. I love that in this article the researchers give credit to what parents already instinctively do when reading wordless picture books and recommend they extend these techniques to other activities.

The knowledge of this study (and my confession to myself) has really encouraged me to up the ante on my book reading interactions with my youngest son more often.  I find myself thinking about the study when I am reading to him before his nap and elaborating just a little more about what is going on in the story or pictures and encouraging him to do the same.  All this can enhance language development and bonding.  Do you know what else? It turns out that it calms things down and becomes a break from the chaos just the same, or perhaps even better.

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