Support your child’s communication using books: OI FROG
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Support your child’s communication using books: OI FROG

Sonja's top recommendation: Oi Frog, written by Kes Gray and Jim Field. An exciting book for children to enhance their speech, language and communication.
Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Book corner with Oi Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field.

Books are an engaging way to support your child’s communication development. Even if your little one dislikes reading in the traditional sense. They will become immersed in this adventure, without realising they are taking in language and developing vital communication skills. This is one of my favourite series for children.

Increase fun and interaction

These books are made for fun and excitement! It may seem silly putting on different voices for different characters, but this is one way in which you can engage your child. Why not try to use different intonation patterns (e.g., you may use a deep voice for the dog, and a higher pitch for the cat)? Make your story interactive: you could ‘rawww’ like a lion and see who can make the loudest noise. Make noises to encourage interaction (e.g., when scratching his chin, make a squeaky sound!). You could also relate the experience back to your child (e.g., ‘can you scratch your chin?’).

Time to talk

Talk about what you can see on the front cover (e.g., There’s a frog on a log, how funny!) You could also ask your child to choose the rhyming words on a page in the book. Can your child tell you what rhymes with certain words (e.g., can you guess what a parrot sits on?)? Make use of every page. You could comment on your favourite frog and see if your child can talk about their favourite. You can support them by giving them an example (“my favourite frog is the one swimming backwards because he looks funny”). Then you could use this scaffold to support their answer. Your favourite is [________________] because [_________________]

If your child is reluctant to use language, the use of commenting can take the pressure of them (“look at all those frogs” or “he’s climbing up the stool”) is a powerful way in which you (as parents) can take the pressure off your child. A top tip I like to give is to make sure you pause regularly, which creates opportunities for your child to use language.

This book uses a subject-verb-object sentence structure (e.g., ‘hares sit on chairs’) which allows your child to hear a good model of a sentence. You could also talk about things in the book that belong in a certain category (e.g., animals, food) or begin with a specific sound. See if your child will name any more.

Reap the reward of repetitive language

Oi Frog uses repetitive rhyming language and puts emphasis on these words. This is important because the more your child hears a word, the more likely they are to remember, understand and use it in the correct context.

Emotions matter

Talk about how the animals feel and why they may feel this emotion (e.g., the cat’s feeling annoyed because…, Lions sit on irons, how does the lion feel?). Reasons can be difficult for children with communication difficulties. Support them by giving an example or by giving them an option (e.g., “does the lion feel happy or sad? I think the lion feels sad because he’s burnt his bottom on the iron! It’s too hot!”)

A collection of books
OI Books

Why not read similar stories? I highly recommend OI CAT, OI DOG and OI DUCK-BILLED PLATYPUS.

Need support for your child’s communication? Contact me here.


Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

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Book Corner: You Can’t Let An Elephant On The Bus

Book Corner: You Can’t Let An Elephant On The Bus

Book Corner: You Can’t Let An Elephant On The Bus
Book Corner: You Can’t Let An Elephant On The Bus

Let me introduce you to another one of my favourite books I have been using A LOT of late:

Written in RHYME – extra BONUS if you ask me, as we can use it for our speech delayed children as well and/or with our children who struggle to create grammatical sentences, or even just any old sentences will sometimes do, let’s be honest.

What’s it about:

An array of animals, starting with the Elephant who wants to get on a bus of course then onto some Monkeys rioting about in a supermarket, next a Tiger reading the paper on a train, a crazy Seal driving a tax round Buckingham Palace, a Camel on a boat, a Giraffe on a plane and numerous other mad ideas involving unsuitable passengers on the wrong vehicle (or any vehicle come to think of it) until finally on the last page a solution (of sorts) is found for them all…. I leave you to find out what happens

What I love about this book is the mad rhyming that goes on and the super funny illustrations which have even my most inattentive and “ants in pants’ kind of children spellbound and actually looking and listening to the story. Many of my little learners absolutely delight in the mad ideas in this book and I have had some pretty crazy story telling which made us fall about laughing (I always have to laugh when my kids laugh in the session it’s too cute). It’s a great read for thinking about problem solving and WHY something is not a good idea, and what could possibly go wrong – well quite a lot actually!

ENJOY!

Developmental age:

4– approximately 8 years.

Explore these themes:

  • Rhymes
  • Vehicles
  • Actions: poke / push / throw / snore / sleep / read / grasp / float / fly/ ride
  • Animals
  • Cause and Effect
  • Places – bus stop/on a train/in the supermarket

Develop Speech Sounds, particularly good for:

  • /f/- elephant. fuss, fat, flat, flipper, feet, roof, giraffe
  • /b/ – bus, bottom, bizarre, boots, boat, bony, bike, balloon, basket, bear
  • /m/ – monkey, camel, mistake
  • /p/ – pig, panic, pain, centipede, plane, pedal, hippo,
  • /k/g/ – can’t, tiger, monkey, camel, curve, sink, capsize,

Concepts:

  • Sizes
  • labelling
  • describing
  • predicting
  • prepositions (in/into/on/ inside/outside)

Emotions

  • feelings: determined/bored/scared/naughty/lonely

Published by:

Patricia Cleveland-Peck – From the illustrator of the Mr GUM books. ISBN: 978-1-4088-4982-8.


Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

Story Time

Story Time

Kids Speech Therapist London
Published by: Ladybird – ISBN: 978-0-72327-169-7

Here’s another great little find – I use this book a lot. Whether or not your little one is a Peppa fan, this is a delightful find for any toddler or younger child trying to get to grips with the clock and time in general. It is hard back, so nice and sturdy with extra thick pages so that repeated clock moving, as well as going back and forth figuring out at what time Peppa or George did what, is not going to ruin the day.

What’s it about:

Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig are taking you through their day from 7am in the morning to bed time at 8pm at night. Your little one can move the clock hands to the next hour and then see what is happening at 9am, 10am, 12noon, and through the afternoon until bedtime. Other characters of Peppa’s family and circle of friends come along too: Madame Gazelle invites the children to a picnic and Rebecca Rabbit makes an appearance in the park. At the end of the day, you can talk about toothbrushing and then snuggling up in bed. This might be a really nice book to have alongside an evening ‘bath-teeth-story-bed’ routine where you can go over the day’s events and move the clock hand as you go. (there is a satisfying clicking sound when you move the clock hands). It’s also really great for counting. All events are easy daily life routines that your little one will definitely know!

Peppa’s busy day is nicely written in the familiar Peppa-style, you can almost hear the ‘snort snort’ sound as you go!

Age group:

2-6 years

Explore these themes:

  • daily routines
  • food/drink – what’s a picnic
  • friendships
  • time of day
  • toys
  • daily activities
  • places – school, home, park

Develop Speech Sounds, particularly good for:

  • /p/ and /k/ – peppa, picnic, play, playground, pancakes
  • /b/ – busy, big, bed,
  • /f/- favourite, fun, fast
  • /br/ – brush

Concepts:

  • big and little
  • labelling
  • describing
  • predicting
  • prepositions (in/into/upstairs/downstairs/inside/outside)
  • time: now and next, morning, midday and evening

Emotions and Social concepts:

  • friendship
  • taking turns
  • feelings: sleepy, excited, happy, hungry

Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

Book Corner – Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler

Book Corner – Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler

Kids Speech Therapist London
Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler

One of my all time favourite book series, Pip and Posy, oh sooo good.

Before I tell you a bit about this book, just a few tips on reading aloud to children who are behind with their language and struggle to talk.

It is often assumed that “reading a book” means that we read the text exactly as it stands. We tend to read it quite quickly and, therefore, we also turn the pages quite quickly to match our reading. This may be too quick and not quite the right way of reading to your child, if she/he is struggling with speech and language development.

Instead, perhaps try this:

Sit opposite your child so that she can see you easily – check out my previous post – and start by letting your child open the book.

Now, instead of reading and pointing to everything you see, it can be really helpful to “hang back” and wait for your child to lead. S/he can point to what is interesting and then talk about freely what s/he can see. You can then respond and expand on what your child is pointing to or saying.

So, for example:

Child points to Posy looking out of the window and says: “Posy”.

You can then fill it and reply with : yes! there she is! – now give her some time to reply and take her turn.

If she is struggling to say anything more you might add: She is looking at the rain…. . – take another break and wait and let your child take her turn.

Letting your child take the lead and waiting, allowing your child to fill in and take a turn, is a great way to encourage a two-way conversation and it allows your child to lead the pace of what is being said.

So then, Pip and Posy – the scary Monster:

What’s it about:

Posy is bored indoors as it’s raining. She decides to bake some cupcakes and whilst waiting for her cakes to bake there is a knock at the door…..a big blue monster appears. Posy feels scared and starts to cry. Soon she realises that it’s her friend Pip dressed up in a monster costume and now she feels fine and both end up having fun trying on the monster costume. The sun has now come out and they go and play in the garden. It all finishes with a lovely picnic and those home made cupcakes. Happy end!

All Pip and Posy books are simple in that your child will discover every day situations and they are truly beautifully written and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Age group:

Around 1-6 years

Explore these themes:

  • animals
  • foods and drinks
  • friendships
  • household activities
  • toys and games
  • dress up and monsters
  • places – kitchen, garden
  • what’s a picnic

Develop Speech Sounds, particularly good for:

  • K – kitchen, cupcakes, cases, careful , costume, cry
  • M – monster, mixture, milk
  • P – Pip, Posy, paper, put, popped, open

Concepts:

  • matching
  • labelling
  • describing
  • predicting
  • prepositions (in/into/upstairs/downstairs/inside/outside)

Emotions and Social concepts

  • making friends
  • taking turns
  • feelings: bored/sad/scared/happy/delighted/hungry/ curious

Published by:

Nosy Crow Ltd in the UK in 2013 (ISBN: 9780857632432)

Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

Reading Recommendations

Reading Recommendations

Using a Core Vocabulary Board

What a lovely picture you are probably thinking, a dad reading to his child, perfect! hmmmm… yes and no! Let me expand.

It is of course lovely reading a book to your toddler and the more often you do, the better! If your child is speaking and listening well, if he/she is asking little questions and can hear dad talking from behind and pointing to things then all is fine, but then I don’t suppose you would be reading this or having any interest in my website or blog.

Since you are reading this, I suspect your little one is perhaps a little behind with their speech and or language; perhaps he does not ask questions or maybe she does not point to anything you say when you are sitting like this with her. Or perhaps you are finding that your toddler/child just flips the pages back and forth whilst you are trying your best to read the text nicely?

If a child is having difficulties attending, listening, understanding and speaking then this positioning as shown in the picture is not the best. The reason is that a child who is having difficulties attending to adult’s speaking, will find it even harder to listen when the speaker is behind the child or very high up so that he/she needs to really look up at their faces.

Often our children with a delay don’t do this: they find it hard to engage jointly with an adult and can often just be focusing on what they are interested in, to the exclusion of everything around them. If this sounds like your little one, then my recommendation is to try and make it as easy as possible for your child to look at your face whilst you are reading to them. It will really help if the adult is positioned opposite the child, or as near as, so that it is quite easy for the child to make eye contact and quickly look up at adult’s face and mouth to see what is being said.

Now that you have re-positioned yourself and you are at roughly the same height to your child and eye-levels are roughly even, you can begin and enjoy the book together.

And since we are talking about reading to your toddler, let me make a few suggestions for good books to get when speech and language is lagging behind a little .

Below is one of my favourite book suggestions as copying animal noises is one of the first and most fun things to be practising with babies and toddlers.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers in 2016 (ISBN: 9781460752234)

This book is great for :

  • copying animal sounds
  • prepositions
  • ‘what’ questions
  • Speech Sounds (see below)

The simple rhyming text, and cheerful illustrations will quickly draw toddlers in. After encountering each animal, the question ‘But what noise comes from a giraffe?’ is repeated.

  • The language in this book is simple but the illustrations are fun and there is lots to talk about and amuse your toddler
  • As the giraffe appears in a variety of locations we can easily weave in early prepositions (in/under/behind)

Which Speech Sounds can be practised:

  • Dj giraffe, joke
  • M moo, meow, tummy
  • N noise, neigh, near, funny, lion
  • R roar, giraffe
  • T cat, hoot
  • Z noise

Enjoy!


Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.