Episode 10: My Opinion about the Type of Book That will get Your Child with a Speech delay to Talk More

Do you know which type of book is better to make your child talk more?

I see a lot parents buying books I call, “first word books”. These books appear toddler friendly with their pictures and single words.These books are usually labelled, “First words”, “Baby’s first 50 words”, “Baby’s world” etc.

As a speech therapist, I don’t find these “first word books” ideal for helping a child with a speech delay grow their speech and language skills. 

These books contain only single words which in addition belong mostly to the group of nouns.  If your child is only exposed to books that have mostly and only noun words they learn to label things which is not necessarily a bad thing.  The problem is, your child is usually left without a sense of how language works.

The other problem with these types of books is that you the parent ends up asking your child the same “what is ?” question which really doesn’t do anything to grow their language.

The problem with “first word books”

I have encountered children who come to the clinic armed with these kinds of books. I remember a child who came with two books and I could tell how in love and attached he was with his books. 

He had two books which were typical to the books I have seen many parents buy their children. The first book had a lot of single nouns words, and the second was a numbers book. This child was a bit rigid with his language skills to the point of not being able to count in a separate book.

It was clear that the books this child was reading was perpetuating the rigidity in their language. 


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The type of book that will grow your child’s language

Books with stories are the best for growing your child’s language because they model how conversation or language takes place. Story books also have a lot more variety of vocabulary contained in them.

Such books provide you with the opportunity to label, ask different questions and describe things as opposed to “first word books”. 

Books with stories expose your child to a lot more language as well as helping them to understand how language works.

These are the types of books you should read to your child more often if you want them to grow their language. 

Check out our other posts related to reading: How to read to your child to build language and What to do if your child is struggling with reading


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Hi, I'm your teacher

Lorna Muthamia-Ochido

I run a family-centred speech-language therapy clinic, the largest in East and Central Africa. I’ve helped 15,000+ children optimise their communication outcomes (in other words, I make children smarter ☺).

Get your child talking in no time.

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