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Targeting Speech and Language Skills with Books

Books are a great tool to use to target your child’s speech and language skills at home. There are countless ways to use books for educational and therapy purposes. Here are a few examples.

Speech Sound Production:

If your child is working on a specific speech sound or group of sounds in therapy, look for words and pictures containing this sound in books. Even if you are the one reading the book aloud, pause when you reach certain words and prompt your child to say them or to repeat them after you in order to produce the targeted sound/word. If your child is working on producing sounds in sentences or in conversation, have them describe what is going on in the story or what they see in pictures using these sounds/words.


Work on functional vocabulary such as toys, household items, foods, body parts, clothing, or animals that may be shown in picture books. You can ask your child to point to pictures of the items you name as you read, or have them name what they see. You can use carrier phrases such as “I see…” and prompt your child to finish the sentence.

Answering Questions:

Stop periodically while reading and ask your child questions about the story. Ask WHAT they see in the pictures, WHAT has happened so far, WHO the characters are, and WHERE and WHEN the story takes place. You can also ask them to make an inference about what is going on or how characters feel, and to predict what the story will be about or what will happen next. You can also ask comprehension questions to check understanding at the end of the story.


Ask your child to describe the events that happened in the story, sequencing them in the correct order. You can ask them to do this after reading the story or while turning through the pages and looking at the pictures.

For more ideas and individualized recommendations for your child and the skills they are working on, contact a speech-language pathologist. We love using books in our therapy at APT and are happy to help!

– Mary Hamilton, M.S. CCC-SLP