The Importance of Reading for Early Language Development and Expressive Speech

Family-ReadingExposing children to early developing speech sounds is a great way to encourage a child to pronounce those sounds correctly.

  • Before a child can even read, parents can introduce “story time” to children.
  • Research suggests that children with greater language exposure, and families who read to them, often experience richer language skills.
  • Auditory bombardment also increases a child’s ability to hear incorrect sounds in their own speech.
  • Providing a good speech model by over-emphasizing the target sounds can help increase a child’s spontaneous and correct production of those sounds.
  • Integrating books into therapy sessions and at home is a great way to make a fun activity a learning task.

It is easy to embed goals in reading and may be enriching for children on so many levels. Some goals that may be targeted include:

  • “WH” Questions
  • Predictions (early inferencing skills)
  • Object naming/labeling (increases a child’s lexical repertoire)
  • Letter/sound recognition


Some great books by phoneme (in developmentally-appropriate order) include:

  • /b/
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle
    The Baby BeeBee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie
    Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault The Wheels on the Bus by Paul D. Zelinsky
    How Many Bugs in a Box by David A. Carter
  • /p/
    It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall
    A Pair of Socks by Stuart J. Murphy
    Pizza Pat by Rita Goldman Gelman Purple Sock, Pink Sock by Jonathan Allen Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
    Ten Apples Up On Top! By Dr. Seuss
  • /m/
    City Mouse-Country Mouse by John Wallner
    Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff
    Mouse Mess by Linnea Asplind Riley
    The Gum on the Drum by Barbara Gregorich
  • /d/
    The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
    Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton
    My Dad by Anthony Brown
    No, David! by David Shannon
    Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
  • /t/
    In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming Tails by Matthew Van Fleet
    Teeny Tiny by Jill Bennett and Tomie dePaola The Fat Cat Sat on a Mat by Nurit Karlin Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
  • /v/
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? by Eric Carle Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse
    I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
  • /f/
    Fall Leaves Fall! By Zoe Hall
    The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
    Fuzzy Yellow Ducks by Matthew Van Fleet
    Touch and Feel Farm by Dorling Kindersley Publishing The Dog Who Cried Woof by Bob Barkly
  • /g/
    Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman
    Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann My Gum is Gone by Richard Yurcheshen The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
    Big Pig on a Dig by Jenny Tyler
  • /k/
    Counting on Calico by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes Cows Can’t Fly by David Milgrim
    From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
    Kiss the Cow by Phyllis Root
    Two Cool Cows by Toby Speed
    Five Little Ducks by Penny Ives
  • /h/
    Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
    Happy Hiding Hippos by Bobette McCarthy
    A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? By Eric Carle
  • /n/
    Know Your Noses by June A. English
    The Mitten by Jan Brett
    No, David! by David Shannon
    Two Eyes, A Nose, and a Mouth by Roberta Grobel Intrater Nine Men Chase a hen by Barbara Gregorich
  • /z/
    Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
    If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
    Zip, Whiz, Zoom! by Stephanie Calmenson
    Whose Nose? by Jeannette Rowe
    Two Eyes, a Nose, and a Mouth by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • /s/
    Can You See What I See? by Walter Wick
    Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
    Sid and Sam by Nola Buck
    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff Town Mouse Country Mouse by Jan Brett
  • “sh”
    Sheep in a Shop by Nancy Shaw Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw
    I Love My Shadow by Hans Wilhelm Splish, Splash! by Sarah Weeks
  • /l/
    5 Little Lady Bugs by Karyn Henley
    Big, Small, Little Red Ball by Emma Dodd Look Book by Tana Hoban
    Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus Smile Lily by Candace Fleming
  • /r/
    The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
    Roling Rose by James Stevenson
    Rosie’s Roses by Pamela Duncan Edwards
    Harriet’s Horrible Hair Day by Dawn Lesley Stewart
    Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers by Merle Peek
    Stars! Stars! Stars! By Bob Barner
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • /s/ Blends
    The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani
    Sledding by Elizabeth Winthrop
    White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt
    Stop that Pickle! by Peter Armour
    Snake Supper by Alan Durant and Ant Parker
    Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
    “There are Rocks in My Socks!” Said the Ox to the Fox by Patricia Thomas
    Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
  • /l/ Blends
    Cows Can’t Fly by David Milgrim
    I Love Planes! by Philemon Sturges Slip! Slide! Skate! by Gail Herman Flip-Flops by Nancy Cote
    Sledding by Elizabeth Winthrop
  • /r/ Blends
    Big Frank’s Fire Truck by Leslie McGuire
    A Crack in the Track by W. Rev Audry and Jane Gerver Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Priscilla Burris Little Green Truck by Ken Wilson-Max
    Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
  • /dg/ or “j” as in “jump”
    The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
    Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan
    Making Plum Jam by John Warren Stewig and Karen O’Malley The Animal Hedge by Paul Fleischman
  • “ch”
    Ah-Choo! by Margery Cuyler
    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault Say Cheese, Please! by Leslie McGuirk
    Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox by Grace MacCarone
  • “th”
    The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss One, Two, Three! by Sandra Boynton Cousin Ruth’s Tooth by Amy MacDonald Mouths and Teeth by Elizabeth Miles
  • /w/ and “y”
    Big Wheels by Anne Rockwell
    I Went Walking by Sue Williams
    The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinski Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka

Ashley DiGregorio MA CF SLP TSSLD


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