Let’s Make a Book!

If you give a therapist a book… she’s going to want to make one more. Here are some ideas for creating books in therapy to help develop children’s language and pre-literacy skills, as well as to encourage home carry-over of therapy objectives.

Part of every auditory-verbal therapy session for me includes sharing a book with parents and children as a way of promoting literacy and listening and spoken language development. Once the shared reading is complete, there is no better way to continue to learning objectives than to create a book that the family can take home.

WHY is this important?

  • For many families, the books you create in therapy may be among the few, if any, reading materials they have in their home.


  • Bookmaking helps parents with low literacy levels have a positive book-sharking experience with their child.  If the book and text are made in therapy, at a level that works for the parent and the child, it is more likely to be re-read at home.


  • If you are working with families who speak a language other than English at home, you might not have the original book in their home language (e.g. does your clinic have Green Eggs and Ham in Urdu?), but, with the help of adult family members and/or an interpreter, you can make a take-home book version in the language that works best for the family.


  • Books that tie into therapy activities show parents the importance of home practice and set the expectation that goals introduced in the week’s therapy session will be the subject of daily practice at home.


  • Making a child’s own version of the book you just read is highly motivating, and it takes the experience of shared reading to a more active, hands-on level. You may listen when a book is being read to you, but when you’re making your own book, you’re moving, cutting, gluing, requesting, coloring, and experiencing the book on many different levels.


  • Bookmaking encourages crucial pre-literacy skills, like understanding reading vocabulary (cover, author, title, page, word, sentence, illustration) and encourages families to read, read, read! For children with hearing loss, who we know are at great risk of poor literacy skills without proper intervention, this cannot be said enough.


  • Reading a book and then making your own promotes carryover through repetition.


  • Reading a book and then making your own promotes sustained attention to the same/similar task, an executive function skill that is essential for success in school.


  • Reading a book and then making your own provides increased exposure to new vocabulary and language structures, increasing the chance that a child will “pick up” on new concepts without having to be explicitly taught.



HOW do you do it?

  • Pick a book to read in therapy that is developmentally-appropriate for the child and conducive to practicing whatever therapy goal(s) you have in mind.


  • Make your blank book.  You can use printer paper, construction paper, notecards, or anything else you have lying around to recycle.  HERE are instructions on how to make a pop-book, a great “magic trick” sure to amaze children (and adults) of all ages.  You can also insert your pages into sandwich-sized baggies with the seal on the left, then connect all of the seals with staples to create a “laminated” book to protect pages from little hands.  HERE is another website with many child-friendly bookmaking ideas.


  • Googling “book title” + printables often yields sites that have coloring pages and flannel board printable templates that can be printed and cut out to create the “illustrations” for your book.


  • Add the child’s picture into the story — increase the personalization and motivation factors for your book.


  • Make it interesting!  Add texture (cotton balls, sandpaper, felt scraps,feathers, etc.), lift-the-flaps, use scissors to take a “bite” out of a page that talks about eating, add pictures from newspapers and magazines, or whatever else you can think of to make the book high-interest as well as high-language!


  • Use printed illustrations from the book to work on sequencing and auditory memory.


  • Write the text together, even with very young children, to work on a variety of pre-literacy skills (left to right orientation, grapheme-phoneme connections, basic book handling skills, etc.).  This can also help parents who do not read well get a mastery of the text instead of sending them home with something they have no idea how to read.  It can also help families who speak a language other than English in the home include words or phrases from their own language in the book.


  • Use the “inside cover” of your book to write bullet points of goals (with examples) for home carryover.


  • Underline target structures in the text to remind parents of goals for home practice.

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