Make Book Reading a Sensory Experience

Book Reading a Sensory Experience

Ways to Make Book Reading a Sensory Experience

Making book reading a sensory experience can be fun when you involve the kids. We all use our senses to engage with and understand the world around us. The way that people interact with the world is different from person to person, and it can be especially particular for those on the spectrum. When it comes to special needs children, sometimes one or more senses are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation. Understanding how your child operates, what they respond to, and what they like can help make learning much more tangible for them. Reading a picture book aloud can be an active and engaging activity for children. It can be even more effective with the use of some simple strategies. Here are some ways how you can make reading a book aloud to your child more of a sensory experience.

Texture

Many children’s books might already have this ingredient, especially baby books. However,  for children on the spectrum, the addition of texture, fabrics, materials other than paper, and even props can help them engage with the story. If you have picture books, you can add your own textures with materials from any arts and craft stores such as felt, cotton balls, fur etc. where appropriate. You can customize books to be more interactive and encourage your child to interact with the book and the story even more.

Book Reading a Sensory Experience

Props and Visual Aids

Props and visual aids can be useful in many ways. It can help kids understand the story and recreate scenes and retell the story on their own. Thus, helping them retain information and develop a closer understanding of the story. Items like stuffed animals, toys resembling characters, felt board sets, sequencing cards, miniature objects and more can all be helpful and enriching.

Sounds

Adding sounds while reading can do a lot for kids, too.  You can ask your child to imitate farm animal sounds or any other actions that are included in the story like trains and cars. For kids who are minimally verbal or non-verbal, you can consider augmentative and alternative communication in place of sounds. This can include actions, miming, or pointing to certain things as they happen in the story.

Smell and Taste

Creating a more engaging atmosphere can be fun for reading, too. Adding candle scents or going outside to recreate the setting of the story can help your child  with their imagination. They can get a better grip on the characters are and what they are doing. If food or candy is mentioned, having some of the same on hand can be fun, and tasty, too.

Moving Around

This is a great way to not only add some exercise to your day but can make reading a far more active experience. You can get up and engage in the same activities as the characters in the story. You can also reenact entire scenes straight from the book. This encourages children to think about what the characters would do or what the story is about.  By approaching stories in different ways, you may find the one that reaches and affects your child the most.

Big Kid Milestones to Celebrate

When it comes to milestones for children, many parents focus on things like first steps or first words. These are great accomplishments and are certainly worth celebrating, but there are other milestones that are also worth a huzzah. As children get older, they become more complex and independent individuals. Recognizing the steps they take towards becoming their own people are just as worthy of celebration as their first day of school. Not everything needs cake and a party, but letting your kids know that their growth is acknowledged in a special way can be incredibly beneficial to their personal growth.

Joining a Club or Sport

When your child engages in an activity, they are not only building a skill but they are also flexing their teamwork muscles, too. Whether they have joined a soccer league, the girl scouts, decided to participate in an after-school program for art and crafts or even decided to enter the science fair, it is a sign that your child is interested in learning more about their own interests, and exploring what opportunities for growth and friendship these activities might give them. Kids may not realize the weight of what they are doing, but even deciding to take up a sport or hobby simply because it looks fun is a big step towards making their own decisions and being their own person.

Stepping Up to the Self-Care Plate

When kids are younger, they need help getting dressed, brushing their teeth or getting a glass of water. There are many of these micro-activities that kids need guidance with when they are younger, but it should be noticed when they begin to do these things all by themselves. It not only shows initiative but it also shows that they are growing into their responsibilities as a person, too. These activities can become more meaningful as your kids age, and to them it may not seem like a big deal but many parents would jump for joy if they saw their child pour their own milk and cereal for breakfast or take it upon themselves to clean their room.

Reading A Chapter Book

Reading can be difficult, and depending on where your child fits on the reading spectrum different milestones may come with different feats. Kids who have difficulty reading or are slow learners, reading a chapter book on their own is a big deal. Plus, the confidence boost that comes with this milestone may help encourage them to practice and keep reading.

For kids who are natural readers and enjoy the activity, reading full chapter books may not be all that unusual. Trying something unique such as personalized chapter books, starring them as the main character can motivate them to read more. Also trying something above their skill level or out of their comfort zone should be applauded, too.

Riding a Bike

This is a classic, but it is a tradition that every parent should celebrate with their child. Whether your child is testing out their first training wheels or finally ready to take theirs off, learning to ride a bike is a big deal and it helps encourage kids to stay active.

Showing Some Sympathy

Sometimes parents need to coax their children into looking at situations a certain way and guide their behaviors to a certain degree. For instance, if you have multiple kids and they get into a fight, it may be your job as parent to be the mediator. But if you see your child apologizing, offering sympathy, or simply being nice to their sibling or someone else without needing any prompt to do so, it should certainly be celebrated. This is an expression of emotional growth that should be encouraged and can help kids grow into more understanding and empathetic people.

Activities to Improve Kids’ Writing Skills

Reading skills are essential, but they go hand-in-hand with writing skills. Boosting one skill can help improve the other, plus writing can help better your child’s overall communication skills as well. There are several activities you can encourage your children to partake in that can help them improve their writing and reading skills.

Start Simple and Get Reading

Kids who read books and varied materials such as magazines and word games tend to be better at writing as well. Reading can help kids get a feel for how language works, as well as a deeper understanding of the English language by reading a variety of different material. Not only do kids develop writing skills through reading, but also kids can develop skills like empathy and understanding when they read about different characters, which can contribute directly to their ability to communicate well with others.

Encourage Them to Document Their Lives

Journaling is lauded as a highly therapeutic activity for people of all ages, but it also gives kids an easy topic to write about. Getting them into the habit of writing about their day can help them form a habit of keeping a journal, which has also proven to improve memory and can help kids better understand their own feelings and emotions. Plus, having a journal from when they were young can be a really special memento for them to have when they’re older.

Make It Fun!

Word games like riddles, crossword puzzles and word jumbles can be both brain bending as well as fun. These sorts of games can also help to improve problem solving skills, vocabulary, and spelling too.

Write Letters

Writing letters is a bit antiquated, but they are still very much appreciated. Skills that come along with letter writing can be helpful as your kids get older, too. Writing letters to grandparents and friends make for great gifts and sweet surprises when they arrive in the mail. The art of writing a proper letter can still come in handy when it comes time for your kids to learn how to write essays in high school and college as well as resumes and other documents as an adult.

Make Some Space

Like any activity, it helps to make it special by designating a certain spot to write in. Create a fun, customized/customizable writing space that can encourage your kids to get in the zone. Supply it with notebooks, pencils and other gear – and to make it feel less like school work you can splurge on the colored pens, markers, and other supplies that may not be allowed on their back-to-school list but can still have plenty of fun with at home.

Give Them Some Ideas

Even professional writers use writing prompts now and then. You can give your child some ideas for poems, short stories, or even journal entries by giving them words to use, using a picture for inspiration, or asking them specific questions.