Eight Best Books To Help Preschoolers With Speech Delay

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Research continues to support the fact that reading makes a difference in a child’s education and overall success as a student.  A recent study found that reading every day exposes your child to nearly 1.4 million more words by kindergarten than children who are not read to. This means it’s pivotal that our preschoolers are exposed to books and reading, particularly before they enter school. And it’s especially important to expose your preschooler with speech delay to books.

Research also supports that reading to and with your children can be even more effective than talking with them when it comes to developing their vocabulary. Here’s our suggestion on what to look for when seeking the best books to help preschoolers with speech delay:

  • Make sure that it entertains and exposes them to more words
  • Make sure it helps build their receptive and expressive language skills.

And even though today’s curricular climate would have you believe that your child must read before they enter school or else, that’s simply not the case. In fact, forcing our children to read before they’re naturally ready seems to be having adverse effects. The books you choose for your preschooler with speech delays should be ones that focus on their speech and language and enjoyment of the book; not necessarily whether or not it’s teaching them to read. Educators believe too much of a push before children even develop appropriate speech and language can be detrimental, and we agree.

books for speech delay

What to Look For

When it comes to finding the best books for preschoolers with speech delay, you’ll want to pay attention to several things. Many preschoolers are proud of their blossoming pre-reading skills, which includes letter/sound/word recognition, even if they are speech delayed. They want to show you that they too can ‘read’ and while many can, as we’ve said, doing so before school is not necessarily an evidence-based recommendation.

Still, when looking for the best books to help preschoolers with speech delay, look for ones in which they can find success if they’re attempting sounds and words. Look for ones that have engaging illustrations! Preschoolers love picture books and a good story with excellent illustrations will hold their attention. Those illustrations will also allow them to make connections in their heads that can develop better speech and language skills. Books with repetition are also fabulous for exposure, engagement and practice. 

Preschoolers also love to learn! When looking for the best books to help preschoolers with speech delay, non-fiction books with basic vocabulary really entice them to practice what they learn and to share it.  

And, as preschoolers are growing up, their world is also getting bigger too. Engage them with books that share things they may not know. They’re not incapable of digesting books with bigger words, that is how they grow. Just be sure the accompanying art/illustrations give them resource for understanding what is being read. 

books toddler speech delay

Continue to find books for preschoolers with speech delay that build vocabulary, and allow you to make connections with them so they feel that reading is meaningful and don’t even realize you’re also working on speech and language. 

Our Favorite Books To Help Preschoolers With Speech Delay

The books that can help with your speech delayed preschooler are endless. Here are some of our favorites—mostly classics– but also one you might want to read for yourself to make helping develop your child’s speech and language fun.

1.The Speech Teacher’s Handbook: A Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language by Molly Dresner.

Dresner believes that speech and language building should be fun, and as a Speech-Language Therapist, she teaches parents tips for making it so with their children in this book. It’s a great book for parents who have a preschooler with speech delays as it gives suggestions for routine development of language. In addition, it provides helpful milestone information for your preschooler. Parents love this reference when they’re working with their speech delayed preschoolers.

2. Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

This classic book is great for children because it’s an opportunity to work with your child on receptive language as much as expressive. Receptive language skills are pivotal. This type of skill typically happens before expressive language blooms and are a good indicator of pre-reading skills. You can ask your child to point out the different characters or objects they find as they go bear hunting. You’ll find there’s lots of room for expressive language skill building as well in the directional words they learn.

3. Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus By Mo Willems.

Children (of all ages, including children at heart!) adore children’s author Mo Willems because he knows just how to entertain us without needing to use tons of words. But that’s why these are the best books for speech delayed preschoolers! They offer the opportunity for imagination with basic wording and engaging pictures. And, they’re perfect for working on inflection, emotions, emotion words and basic commands. Best? Your child will want to read them over and over again, and that repetition also encourages speech development.

4. Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Leoni

Award-winning author-illustrator Leo Leoni’s iconic book about best friends who can’t find each other is enthralling. It’s an engaging book that teaches social connection and empathy while also working on repetitive color education as well. Leoni tells a captivating story, again using few words. This encourages your child to use authentic language skills for both receptive and expressive purposes. It’s a beautiful story that children will find satisfying, and you’ll enjoy reading again and again with your child because they’ll pick up something new each time you reread.

5. Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry

Using the classic backdrop of renowned author and illustrator Richard Scarry’s BusyTown, children will have tons of words to learn and practice in this one. There are hundreds of objects from meaningful contextual situations children will be exposed to when reading. They’re all set in his intricately delightful artwork, which will consistently have children coming back to read more. It’s been a bestseller for over five decades and with good reason. Children and parents alike love the simplicity of concept and wording, with incredible and engaging artistry.

6. The Gingerbread Man Loose On The Fire Truck by Laura Murray

Laura Murray’s hilarious takes on the classic Gingerbread Man have kids rolling in laughter. And for preschoolers with speech delay, fun rhymes and illustrations will have them begging you to buy every book in the series! Not only do they help your children with repetitive and predictive speech, but they also teach character trait lessons as well.

7. Little First Book of Why by National Geographic

This is definitely a book you’ll need to read to your preschooler. But for preschoolers with speech delays, it’s a great resource for learning beyond basic vocabulary. It can help strengthen your child’s listening skills in that it’s non-fiction. We also love that the basic vocabulary words behind each ‘why’ are ones your preschooler can practice and build upon. As their speech and language skills grow, they’ll find confidence in being able to share what they’ve learned. And as anyone with a preschooler knows, they love to share their newly acquired knowledge!

8. A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka

Wordless books are wonderful for helping develop speech and language because they offer opportunities for preschoolers to use their imagination and their words. At the same time, they will also be learning from you and yours. We love Chris Raschka’s almost wordless book because it’s a story that every preschooler can relate to—when a special toy is destroyed. It’s an excellent book for character and empathy building, as well as growth mindset. We think you’ll agree that it gives parents and preschoolers the opportunity to create meaningful text of their own. The best thing is the text can be different each time it’s read, and that’s great for language development.

We hope we’ve given you some good ideas! There is nothing quite so cozy as sitting side by side with your preschooler enjoying a book. Have fun!