“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax- all you need is a book!” – Dr. Suess
In the world of speech therapy, I find a good book to be invaluable. They are portable, inexpensive, adaptable, and interactive! I’ve been known to create a whole session around one book. I am always hunting for good books to stock our shelves here at the office, and I love hearing recommendations from other clinicians, as well as other parents! Here is a short list of my 15 favorite “speech and language” rich books:
As an SLP, I cannot say enough good things about these darling board books. As a parent, I can personally attest to how great these are for encouraging language in even the tiniest of toddlers! These pages are filled with simplistic, appealing pictures, and it is easy to pair one sound or word with each page. Perfect for imitation!
Peek-a-WHO? by Nina Laden
This pocket sized board book is perfect for little hands. Each page starts the same way- “Peek…a……”, but ends with a different sound! The train says “Peek-a- CHOO CHOO”, and the cow says “Peek-a-MOO”. I love using this to target consonant-vowel combinations, as well as tackling lip rounding.
Dada by Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon should have been a speech therapist! This book is fantastic for reduplicated syllables, consonant-vowel combinations, alveolar sounds, and vowels. I hear he is coming out with a sequel called “Mama”. Can’t wait to check out that one too.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
This book with very few words tells the tale of a sneaky gorilla who escapes from the zoo. In addition to targeting some nice velar to alveolar movement (i.e. “goodnight!”), little readers learn to make inferences based on the pictures they see! A great book to introduce perspective taking.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
A classic! This sing-song rhyming tale is so great for pairing gross motor movements with sounds and words. I also love the repetition, which I use for sentence completion, WH questions, targeting specific sounds, and even auditory processing.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
This book is new in my repertoire, and I can’t stop reading it! The irresistible rhymes are so fun to read, and kids will love filling in the ends of sentences. This book also carries an important message about kindness and helping others.
No, David! by David Shannon
The author created this book based on his own childhood artwork. “No, David!” is hilarious, and perfect for targeting “No”, as well as perspective taking and problem solving. Kids think this one is a hoot!
Flora the Flamingo by Molly Idle
A story without text! I love using this book for inferring emotions, reading social cues, perspective taking, and narrating a sequence. The beautiful pictures capture a range of emotions, and you can interpret the story a few different ways.
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
This is another fantastic picture book with no text. Perfect for predicting and for problem solving, kids will love telling the story themselves. I also love using this book to work on past tense verbs!
Beautiful Oops By Barney Salzberg
I adore the message of this book. It is great to use with kids who tend to have big reactions to small problems, or for those perfectionists who need to work on more flexible thinking. I tend to use this book a lot in social groups with an art project as an expansion activity.
Oh No George! by Chris Haughton
If you are working with a child who struggles with impulsivity, this is the book for you! George is a well-meaning dog who can’t seem to stop himself from being naughty. With a little will-power and positive reinforcement, he succeeds in resisting temptation! Silly pictures and simple text make this a fun read for kids of all ages.
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
This creative book is another great book for social groups. It challenges kids to be flexible, and learn to take a different perspective. It also really lends itself to some great expansion activities- the possibilities of a cardboard box are endless!
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
An oldie but a goodie! This exciting tale of some mischievous monkeys is perfect for working on “WH” questions, predicting, and perspective taking. This book is a classic for a reason!
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andraeae
As therapists (and parents!), we often need to encourage our children to celebrate differences and embrace their own individuality. I love using this sweet story to help boost confidence, understand bullying, as well as to encourage empathy. Great to read to a child who marches to the beat of his own drum!
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This story teaches us that it is ok to make mistakes, as well as the importance of perseverance. I also LOVE reading this book with kids who have a limited vocabulary or word finding issues, because the author uses such a rich variety of action words. The pictures are suggestive and thought-provoking, and the main character reminds me of many children that I have worked with!
Of course, this list is just a starting point. There are so many fabulous books out there! What are some of your favorites? We want to hear ’em!
-Elizabeth Clark McKenzie, MS, CCC-SLP