Download these instructions for making your own flap book.
Reading aloud, sharing books and singing every day with your little one who is deaf or hard of hearing does wonders for their listening and spoken language development. Your child is becoming familiar with the sounds of speech, vocabulary words, spoken language, print and the value and joy of books. These are all important building blocks for early literacy and will help your child do well in school and later life. Plus it's lots of fun and provides a great social and emotional bonding time!
Reading aloud and sharing books introduces new and different vocabulary in addition to the day to day words they hear, triggers their imagination and takes them to new and different places to help them learn about the world.
Read to your little one as early as possible. Make it fun and model a love of reading and books. We have previously shared tips for reading aloud and sharing books as well as the importance of serve and return.
Sometimes little ones are busy bees and need more interactive and novel approaches to reading time. One strategy is to introduce “lift-the-flap" books. The pictures hidden behind flaps create an element of surprise that is highly interesting to young children. While there are many "lift-the-flap" books you can buy or check out from your library, you can easily turn any book into a "lift-the-flap" book with just a pad of Post-it® notes.
First, take a book and use Post-it® notes to cover several pictures on each page. The Post-it® note creates a flap the child can remove or peel off. And you don't have to worry about the flap getting torn off like you do in ready-made "lift-the-flap" books!
Second, talk about the object or picture that is covered. Name the object, make the Learning to Listen (LTL) Sound. Encourage the child to vocalize or attempt to imitate the LTL sound. As they get older, don't just stick to labels. Provide "clues" about what might be hidden behind the flap such as "this is an animal, it lives on the farm, it gives us eggs and it says "bak bak bak. Do you know what it is?" Expect and encourage a response from the child. Older children may reply "chicken?" While younger children may first reply with making the LTL sound. It all just depends upon your child's level.
Then have the child lift or peel off the Post-it® note. Talk more about the picture. Make comments or sing a fun made-up song together about what is on the page.
Such simple things are big time learning opportunities for your child with hearing loss.
- It uses the LSL strategy Audition First, to hear information before they see it. This strategy is important to grow your child's brain for understanding spoken language.
- It also uses the strategy Sabotage, which is capitalizing on the unexpected to keep your child's attention and interest as well as teaching them flexibility in their thinking and language skills.
- It provides opportunity for your child to follow familiar commands, "lift the flap." Babies are able to understand language many months before they begin saying their first words.
Familiar commands and phrases in routines that happen over and over help them to start making sense of the auditory information around them. Plus, it is a great diagnostic tool for parents and professionals to note when a child begins following familiar commands.
Research has shown that reading aloud and sharing books is one of the most important things adults can do early to make a significant difference for a child's later success in school. Creating your own "lift-the-flap books" is not only fun, but is also a great investment in your child's future.