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.
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!”)
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