Hey there! So in trying to get a better grip on my life and this crazy blog, I’ve decided to bring back a monthly Early Intervention / Toddler Strategy! This month’s strategy is Read to a Friend. You may remember a few from last year Using Signs (Road Signs), or Language Development on the Go. As a Developmental Specialist / Early Childhood Special Educator, which are both fancy terms for a teacher that works with the Birth to Three population, I’ve learned a few cool strategies over the years that are great for all ages and stages!
These monthly strategies will be fun activities to try with your little ones. I plan to give you a few different ideas on how to implement them for a variety of ages and stages, so that hopefully you can find one that fits the little one in your life the best.
Read to a Friend
The concept is so simple right… read to a friend! This activity is seriously the easiest to plan for and can be so extremely beneficial.
Reading to a friend can look like a number of things depending on the age and ability level of your little one. They could be retelling the story, actually reading, or just looking and turning pages. The friend in this activity can be a favorite doll, the family pet, or a family member that is free to listen!
What to do:
Have your little one choose a favorite book. Then, have them cozy up with a “friend” and read. As mentioned above the “friend” can be their favorite doll, a stuffed animal, the family pet, or a family member.
What it looks like:
For Little Littles (9 months – 2 years old)
At this age, reading may be them just babbling and turning pages. It may be them pointing to specific objects on the page and labeling them. Some may make up their own story as they are reading through or try to retell it if they’ve heard the story enough.
For Preschoolers (Ages 3-4)
At this age, reading a familiar book may involve them actually retelling the story. They may be able to include specific lines if they have read it enough. Some may be able to actually “read” the entire story word for word. Kids may still use the pictures to guide their reading and just describe what they see and others may use their imagination to create their very own version of the story complete with elaborate details!
For School-Aged Readers (Kindergarten and Up)
Programs such as Tail Waggin’ Tutors and Paws for People are being used to provide struggling readers with a comfortable and safe environment to practice reading. There is something very calming about reading to a dog. At this age reading out loud is a great skill for them to practice and what better way to work on that skill than cozying up to an adorable furry friend. If one of these programs or one like it is not available you can still use a family pet or maybe a neighbors pet.
As simple and fun as this activity is, it’s also super beneficial. First and most importantly, reading to a friend encourages reading! This activity makes reading fun! It’s also a great language development activity and enhances reading skills such as appropriately handling a book, sequencing (if they are retelling the story), reading comprehension, and so much more.
Try it! Let me know what you think! Do your little ones enjoy reading to their dolls, animals, or pets?
Until next time,