Getting started reading together

Reading books together is one of the best thing parents can do to help their children develop their speech and communication skills. This is when the adult reads together with the child rather than for the child. There are several strategies that adults can use to encourage their children to become more active when reading.

How do you read books together?

Film "Getting started reading books together"

Set up a “communication triangle”

Position yourselves so that you, your child and the book form a triangle. It must be easy for your child to look at you and the book.

Capture your child’s attention

Use body language, facial expressions and sounds to capture your child’s attention.

Give your child time to respond.

You may often have to wait a while before young children take their turn at reading and respond to something you have said or done.

Interpret and confirm your child’s response

Children can respond in many ways. They can point, make gestures, look up or try to say something. Interpret everything your child does as communication and confirm it.

Imitate your child when he/she says or does something. This will show your child that you are listening. It also encourages your child to continue communicating with noises, words and body language. It is then by imitating you that your child will learn new words and actions.

Confirm what your child says or tries to say by expanding on it. For example, if your child says “vroom, vroom”, you can say “Yes, he’s driving his car.” Doing this shows that you have understood. At the same time, it helps your child develop his/her language.

Book tips

Involve your child in choosing books in order to increase his/her motivation. Choose a book where you can use body language, noises, signs and speech so your child can join in. Your local library can help you choose good books. Ask a librarian.


This page has been created by the Health and Rehabilitation Division of Uppsala County. The information is intended for everyone looking for hints about how to encourage children to engage in play and communication. 

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