Many of your children will be experiencing a variety of ‘firsts’ this holiday season. Your cameras will be busy as they help bake and decorate cookies or open gifts. As celebrations come to a close, you can continue to use these documented memories as ways to reinforce your child’s receptive (understanding of) and expressive (use of) language. For those with older children, reviewing events will help to develop their sense of time as they sequence what happened at the beginning, middle, and end. Here are some ideas for how use those photos and videos. 

Experience Books

What are they? Experience books are a wonderful way to document every day (e.g., getting dressed, taking a bath) or special events (e.g., birthdays, holidays) so that your child has the opportunity to be re-exposed to the vocabulary and language. Experience books can be as simple or elaborate as you want. For example, if you have just finished a baking project with your child, you can print and tape pictures to a piece of paper along with any wrappers that were involved. You can use inexpensive photo albums or even order your own board books (www.barebooks.com).

How do you use them? After you have created an experience book, read it with your child. Label the objects, describe how they look or smell, and talk about how they were used. For example, “Bowl. I see a bowl. Look, it is shiny! A shiny bowl. We poured in the batter and used a spoon to mix, mix, mix.” For older children, talk about what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the experience. Encourage them to tell the story or ‘read’ the book. 

Videos

Children love to watch videos of themselves! This is a great way to motivate them to talk about what they see and label their actions and emotions. Turn down the volume to narrate the video, that way your child will hear your voice as you input new vocabulary and language. 

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