Words in Action and Guideability

Whether children are being read to, or their unit is doing the reading, here are some suggestions for material and methods suitable for pre-readers, struggling readers,children with developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and speech or language disbilities.

Book Walk

Allow the child to look through the book at their own pace. Guide them in holding the book properly. Strong picture books with few words, or books with textures, actions, or sturdy flaps, are good for this. When they are finished exploring the book, move on to Picture Reading.

Picture Reading

Choose books with strong pictures, rich in content. Read the pictures, and have a conversation about them. Let the child tell you the story she sees in the pictures. You can help them by asking question that refer to content in the pictures, such as:

“Where is Madeline?” (In the hospital.)

“She is sitting on a…” (Allow child to complete sentence.)

“Can you find the cat? Where is he?” (On the big boat.)

Read Aloud

Use a finger to follow the words to convey the idea that reading moves from left to right. Allow time to reflect on the pictures, and have a conversation about them. Ask the child to predict what might happen next. If the younger child is very off track, the experienced reader can simply say, “Let’s see what happens” and turn the page.

Shared Reading

If the child has some reading ability, allow her to read any words she knows, and the older girl can read the rest.

Wordless Picture Books

These give a child with low or no reading skills the opportunity to tell the story they see in the pictures. “Pancakes for Breakfast” by TomiedePaola is a classic and charming example. An experienced reader may need to help very young or delayed children if they don’t understand the pictures.

Rebus Books

Pictures are mixed into the text, taking the place of words. These books allow non-readers to share in the reading by saying what the pictures are. For very young or developmentally delayed children, previewing the pictures may be helpful.

For more information contact:

Brenda Newman

Educator Specializing in Language Intervention