4 Interactive Storybook Reading Tips to Improve Vocabulary in Young Children

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) have significant language deficits compared to their peers in the absence of an obvious causal factor. These deficits affect the development of vocabulary, grammar, and discourse skills, with evidence that certain morphemes may be especially difficult to acquire. Furthermore, children with SLI seem to need two to three times as many exposures as their peers to learn a new word.

Considering spoken language and vocabulary are strong predictors of later academic success, it is imperative that these children receive effective intervention. One strategy parents can easily implement is interactive storybook reading using the P.E.E.R. acronym.

P: Prompt your child with a question about the story. Prompting your child focuses attention, engages the child in the story, and helps the child understand the book.

Point to something in the picture, for example, a balloon. “What is that?”

E: Evaluate your child\’s response.

“That’s right! That’s a balloon.”

E: Expand on what your child said.

“That’s a big, red balloon! We saw one of those in the grocery store yesterday.”

R: Repeat or revisit the prompt you started with, encouraging your child to use the new information you’ve provided.

“Can you say big, red balloon?” Each time the book is reread, the expanded vocabulary words are verbalized again.

The video below models the strategies mentioned above with relatively simple, rhythmic and engaging storybooks.

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