Why Our Cleveland Speech Therapists LOVE Repetitive Picture Books for Kids
Any speech-language pathologist will tell you that pretty much all books are amazing tools for encouraging language development in your child. But when it comes to younger kids, it’s the predictive, repetitive picture books that are best. This is especially true for kids who may be struggling with those speech and language skills. Why, though? As our Cleveland speech therapists can explain, the repetitive nature of these books helps reduce what we call the “cognitive load.” In other words, they don’t have to think so hard to figure out what’s being said and how to say it themselves.
With repetitive picture books, kids get the chance to engage by filling in the words, phrases, and character’s names as the content of the book becomes more familiar – which is easier when it’s simple and repetitive. Bonus points if it rhymes. Repetitive texts are predictable. Lots of kids enjoy predictability because knowing what to expect provides a sense of calm.
When we’re reading to children, it’s a form of engagement and they want to participate. Non-repetitive books can be great too, but studies have shown that with those, kids will try to participate by answering reader questions or imitating the reader’s words – skills that can be really tough for them early on, particularly if they have conditions like childhood apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorder, or speech-language delays. Repetitive picture books decrease their frustrations, which can boost participation, turn-taking, comprehension – and fun!
Pictures are a necessary component for children’s books because they help introduce new vocabulary in context, aiding comprehension.
Our Cleveland speech therapists use these types of books to target all types of goals, including the skills needed for receptive language (understanding what’s being said), expressive language (using language to express yourself), articulation (proper pronunciation of the words), and fluency (the continuity, smoothness, rate and effort in speech production). If a child has trouble producing certain sounds, the frequent practice provided by repetitive picture books can do wonders.
These books also help improve children’s vocabulary in a way that helps it “stick.” They’re going to be introduced to many new words, but they’re more likely to remember them because of the repetition and illustrations.
Repetitive picture books are also great for increasing attention span. For kids, repetitive does not necessarily mean boring. They want to know what happens next, to be a part of the “telling.”
Our Speech Therapists’ Favorite Repetitive Picture Books for Kids
There are so many awesome children’s books out there that fit the bill and are great for practice. These are just a few of our top favorites:
- Chika Chika Boom Boom. This is a classic, and it’s great for helping littles learn their letters. There are also SO many ways to incorporate cute crafts and other activities with this one, which is recommended for kids who are preschool and kindergarten age.
- Blue Hat, Green Hat. Actually, anything by Sandra Boynton is going to be excellent in this regard. They’re silly, fun, and incorporate masterful use of predictive text to help kids with key speech and language skills.
- Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. This is SUCH a fun, repetitive text picture book. We’ve even seen some preschools turn it into mini-plays. And bonus: It’s great for discussions about avoiding big reactions to small problems (a tough concept for lots of kids with certain conditions, like autism).
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear. This is another classic that helps kids with colors, identifying animals, new sounds, etc. Also TONS of fun activities and crafts that can go with this one.
For more suggestions, ask your child’s speech therapist – or simply a local librarian!