The benefits of reading to your child are no secret. Its great for parent-child bonding, building attention skills, fostering social-emotional development, and of course excellent for language development.

When they are young, we read aloud. Several of us have probably already adapted our own reading habits with our children, whether it be a particular time of day, reading chair, or book selection method.

Book sharing is a great way to enhance speech and language development. Pictures within books foster the early knowledge that words have meaning. We can use picture books to build comprehension skills for objects, animals, and people. Have your find and point to those named objects on pages of a book.

But here is the real secret…

Book sharing is so much more meaningful, when it is dynamic. That means the same book can be read over and over again, but still be different. Here is what YOU can do to take reading with your baby or toddler to the next level.

1.) Use different voices and varying intonation when talking for or about certain characters. Dramatic pauses and exaggerations are good!

2.) Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. It is the #1 way children learn words. Repeat phrases and sentences within a page, and emphasize different parts.

3.) Ask questions… good questions. Not just “What will happen next? or What’s he doing?” Also ask critical thinking questions, like How or Why. If your child is too young to answer these, ask them anyway and give them the answer!

4.) Let your child turn the pages, and say “Turn the page” every time. Even if your kiddo is little, try hand-over-hand to get them to participate in book sharing more. It allows for good predictability and sustains attention longer.

5.) Reenact and talk about the story afterwards. Books that have repetition of action, like “The Napping House” and “The Very Busy Spider,” are great choices.

Check out The Speechies Recommended Book list for books that have great vocabulary for nouns and verbs. All recommended books make these five methods a breeze to take book reading to the next level.

What’s your little one’s favorite book? Tell us below.

About Erika: Erika is a speech-language pathologist and talking expert behind the insightful blog, THe Speechies (http://thespeechies.com/). Feel free to contact regarding any specific questions you may have about speech and language development in your child.