The following books are interactive, contain excellent speech targets, and have great stories!
Ten Shiny Snowflakes (by Russell Julian) – I found this rhyming book a couple of months ago. The snowflake pop-outs are motivating for little ones, especially those that love to count! As the snowflakes decrease in number, we learn where 10 winter animals live.
Speech targets: This book is full of /s/-blends (i.e. words that start with /s/ followed by another consonant). By three and half years, children should be using these sounds correctly. As you read, take note of the /s/-blends and emphasize both consonant sounds as you read the following words: snow, snowflakes, snowball, snowman, snuggled, sky, scarf, ski, skate, squirrels, squeals.
Dear Santa (by Rod Campbell) – Structured just like Dear Zoo, this is a lift-the-flap book. Santa wraps a different present on each page, then keeps deciding to send something else. By the end of the story he has thought of the perfect present!
Speech targets: You can target /s/ in this book in the repeating phrase “I’ll send something else” or in the target word ‘Santa’ but there are many other words that can be elicited or modelled on each page too: ‘what’, ‘open’, ‘look’, ‘too’, ‘gift/present’, etc.
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad (by Mercer Mayer) – I was at my Mom’s house a week ago and found this book that I was given Christmas Eve of 1993. I of course read through it, and it is back on my list of holiday favourites! Little Critter is trying to help his Mom and Dad with Christmas preparations, but of course, nothing quite goes as planned. This story is perfect for early reasoning and problem solving skills. Why can’t we bring the biggest Christmas tree home? Who can help you untangle the Christmas tree lights? What will happen if he eat all the Christmas cookies before Christmas?
Speech targets: ‘just for you’, ‘spider’ (hiding on every page), ‘too’, ‘I/he wanted’, ‘oh no’, etc.
The Jolly Christmas Postman (by Janet & Allan Ahlberg) – This a seasonal version of “The Jolly Postman”, another one of my favourite childhood story books. It is a longer story, so I recommend it for children that are at least three years of age. The Jolly Postman travels from location to location and the reader gets to help him deliver mail to familiar characters, for example, a Christmas card for baby bear, a puzzle for Humpty Dumpty, and a game from Mr. Wolf to R.R. Hood.
Speech targets: ‘mail’, ‘open’, ‘look’. This book is so much fun and so interactive that most kids are willing to practice any speech target (just using articulation cards) in order to move on to the next page.
Whether you’re working on specific speech targets or not, I hope you enjoy each of these books as much as I do. Please take time during this busy season to sit with your child and read so that they too can develop holiday favourites.