By: Elyse Schultz MS, CCC-SLP and Kyle Mutch, MS, CCC-SLP
Language skills are a multifaceted mix of comprehension and verbal output. An area in which speech-language pathologists often work on is auditory comprehension or understanding speech that is presented verbally. A great way to work on auditory comprehension is reading books. Many children love books no matter what age they are! But if you ask a question to your child during reading and they do not know the answer, what do you do next? Give up? No way!
Scaffolding and fading cues are key to working on auditory comprehension with your child. Here are some ways you can help your child understand all the stories your library has to offer by scaffolding!
Instead of giving the child the answer right away, give them two answer choices. To make it easier, make one choice silly/ illogical and make the other rational. To make the task more challenging, give two rational choices.
Pictures in the book are a great aid to help understand the language alongside it. Make sure to limit the child’s visual field to one page at a time so they are not looking ahead to the next picture that does not match the story. An easy way to do this is to cover parts of the page with your hand or a blank piece of paper.
MEET THEM AT THEIR LEVEL
We always want to meet our child at their developmental level and build up from there. In a book, there may be a few sentences or paragraphs per page but that may be too much to start with, depending on your child’s skill level. You can break down the text into 1 sentence at a time and then ask questions to ensure comprehension. You can build gradually from there, sentence by sentence.
If there are no pictures, try creating a picture in your mind! This can strengthen the connections of auditory information and comprehension. Draw pictures as you read to improve visualization and have fun.
SLOW IT DOWN
We can often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of fast-paced New York City, but when reading to children, we have to remember to slow it down. Read slowly and change your tone to highlight key information in the text. Get silly and make character voices to help understand dialogue as well.
For more information about speech-language therapy and the techniques we use, get in touch with us today!