I am very passionate about reducing "screen time" for kids, and promoting real life experiences! I know there are some very amazing and educational apps, TV shows, and movies out there, and I use a lot of apps in speech or language therapy with my students or clients. I am not opposed to screen time at all! But I think it should be more like dessert: a special treat every once in awhile (unless a child is under 2, and then I say they should very rarely be exposed to any screen time, if at all).
I'm not writing all of this because I think I'm some huge expert because I have a 7-month-old baby. I really am still a total newb at this whole parenting thing. However, I am 6 months from graduating with my master's in speech-language pathology, and I already have my bachelor's in early childhood education. Therefore, I do feel like I have some valuable information to share.
One of the best ways to promote language is through literature! So I'm going to be sharing some of my (and Scarlett's) favorite books, and how to use them to promote language. This will be sort of a casual series that I'll post whenever I feel like I have some good books to share.
Today I'm going to share a couple of Scarlett's favorite books that I think are great at promoting vocabulary acquisition. A major cause of language delays is simple lack of exposure to language. You would be surprised at the preschoolers I've worked with who can't name simple household objects or animals, simply because they haven't been interacted with enough as babies/toddlers. If they've never heard the vocabulary, how can they learn it?
I have a couple of books today that are great for babies or toddlers. They are both lift-a-flap books. Interactive books of any kind are great for babies or young children.
The first book is "Toes, Ears, and Nose" illustrated by Karen Katz.
We love this book! I have used it in therapy, as well as daily around this house. Each page shows a clothing item that you lift to reveal a body part:
I love Karen Katz's books. They are bright and colorful, so Scarlett is content to sit and look at them over and over again. Karen Katz has a bunch of other books like this, too. HERE is a link to her website, where she has 4 or 5 pages of other books like this! She has a lot of seasonal stuff, which I of course love. Scarlett has the "Where is Baby's Pumpkin?" book too, and we read it every day leading up to Halloween.
Another book that's really big with Scarlett right now is "100 First Animals." It is another lift-a-flap book.
One of the reasons I love this book so much is that each page is a different category of animals. Like farm, sea, rivers and lakes, etc.
How to use it: With Scarlett, I go through and read all the animals on a page. Then I let her lift the flaps, and just name the animal every time she lifts a flap. I also like to make the animal noises and sometimes say what color it is.
For older children, this book would be good for categorizing, which is a really important language skill. When Scarlett is preschool age, I may just scan and copy the pages and cut out the animals. then I'll have her sort them. I could also show her a group of 3 animals cards and have her tell me how they are alike. Or have her tell me which one doesn't belong in a group. As a side note, this is a good activity to do with stuffed animals or other toys.