Shannon takes books off the bookshelf in the family room every night, travels over to the couch and says, "Book, book, book, book, book," until I pick her up nestle her in my lap, then read 3-4 pages of the book. Then, she wriggles out of the grip back to the bookshelf, grabs a book says, "book, book, book until I pick her up to read yet another book.
Right now she loves the "My First" books. These books have pictures and labels underneath them. And, I believe these books encourage vocabulary development. Shannon is learning animals, food, numbers, even family members! We read these books a few different ways.
One way is I point to a picture, and try to get Shannon to say the word.
"Look, Shannon, there's a cow!" (and I point as I say it.) Then, I ask her to point to the cow too. We build on this with animals because then we discuss animal sounds. "Shannon a cow says Moo." Then Shannon says, "Mooo." Then, I might point to another animal and say "What is this?" Or, "What animal says neigh?"
Another way we read a My First Words Book is by me asking Shanon to find a picture. Toddlers tend to have better receptive language than expressive language. To strengthen the receptive language "Find me a..." is a fun game to play with them.
I've also learned many of Shannon's words by watching her point and say on her own. Of course, at this age, one of the most popular words is BABY, which is clear as a bell. Is this true for your child? Both of my kids went through/are going through a phase where any child, (from birth - 10 years old) is a BABY. They point at the child, then scream Baby, which leads me to explain to the parent and child about this phase. Anyway, back to figuring out words...Shannon points and says a word. For example, she will point to a car and say, "A car." Then, she might point to a truck and say, "A car." This is the beginning of learning broad categories. Anything with wheels is a car. With Patrick, all fruit was an apple. I find it fascinating to watch and learn as my children continue to expand their vocabulary by reading books and experiencing words firsthand.
Once all the words are mastered in the picture books, it is ok to go back and revisit them. In a previous post I wrote about the town book, it's a fisher price book. This continues to be one of Pat's favorites. Instead of pointing and saying words, Pat now names the characters in the story, and describes what the character is doing. For example, he points to a little girl who is painting a picture of a flower and he says, "Look Mommy it's big Shannon. She is painting." Then I might say, "Oh really? What is she painting?" Pat: "A big pink flower." Pat's language continues to develop, and I know it all began with the solid foundation of reading the picture books, pointing and learning new words.
Here is a link to some of the books we use.
Flower pot Press
So, we will continue to foster a love of reading in each of our kids, and watch in amazement as their language grows!