Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Reading aloud to children helps with language development and literacy, as well as listening skills.  This can be especially important for kids with various developmental disabilities, including ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), because understanding and using language can be very difficult for them.

Dr. Monica Ultmann has created a "Developmental Disabilities Literacy Promotion Guide", that can be obtained here at ReachOutAndRead.org. This guide (specific to seven different disabilities) includes handouts, activities and reading tips, suggested books, and lists of resources for parents.

CLICK HERE for the "Doctor Recommended Book List" for children who live with developmental disabilities...the seven that are addressed include: Speech and Language Problems; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Intellectual Disabilities (mental retardation); Inattention and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Cerebral Palsy; and Vision and Hearing Impairments.

As a follow-up to my post on Library Story Time for Autistic Readers, I want to highlight some specifics about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how books can help.  ASD  impacts the way children react to situations and people.  Children with Autism often have trouble making eye contact and sharing their thoughts with words or gestures. Non-verbal communication is especially difficult for a child on the autistic spectrum.   Body language, gesture and facial expressions are not understood as clues to communication.

 Borrow books from the library that have photos and drawings of babies and people’s faces. This can help your child recognize emotions.
 Read the same story again and again. The repetition will help her learn language.
 Read aloud. Talk about the pictures and read the text.
 Find books that have lots of repetition of phrases. Also find books with rhymes. Softly clap your hands and help your baby clap along to the rhythm.
 Find books that have buttons your child can press that have sounds.

"Predictable books play an important role in developing early language and literacy skills for infants and toddlers (Miller, 2000). Books that allow children to guess what will happen next in the story, books that provide repetitive catch phrases (e.g., Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Martin/Carle, 1996),Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: 40th Anniversary Edition (Brown Bear and Friends)
and books with a predictable rhyme pattern (e.g., Fox in Sox by Seuss/ Geisel, 1965)Fox in Socks (Beginner Books) contribute to language and literacy growth. Cumulative patterns also contribute to predictability, with new events being added with each episode, as in the book I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Westcott, 2003).I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly 
All books become somewhat predictable with repeated readings and children enjoy hearing them over and over again. Books with familiar sequences and those in which pictures exactly match the text are usually predictable for children. Predictable books provide the emergent reader with a satisfying and enjoyable first experience."  -from the article Birth to Three: Building a Foundation for LiteracySpeechPathology.com

Even MORE book recommendations...from AbilityPath.org

Leave a comment to let me know your favorites!

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