Let books help teach the Language of Feelings.

Build a toolbox full of favorite board and picture books.

Reading books about emotions with your child is a captivating teaching tool. Babies love seeing and copying other babies’ faces! Books make it possible for children to visit new pictures and concepts again and again.

Dialoguing about characters’ faces, feelings, and experiences in any book you read gives young DHH children the Language of Feelings while teaching them about empathy, kindness, and friendship. Keep these books reachable.

  • I can learn a lot about my feelings and those of others by curling into your lap with a picture book. Adapt book choices to my developmental level.
  • My brain loves seeing the same book again and again, because I can only take in a limited number of details at once. This is why I’ll want to see my favorite books more times than you can even count!
  • When we read together, use these strategies to keep my attention and make the most of our shared reading experiences: 
    • Make sure I am positioned in a way that allows me to look smoothly between you and the book as you add language, either signed or spoken.
    • Use the pictures to help create meaning for me.
    • Add props: stuffed animals, figurines, dishes, other objects to match the pictures. Props cement meaning, allow me to use many senses, and make reading fun.
    • As I grow, give me opportunities to show you how I can “read” the book.
      • Allow me to point at what I notice, to copy facial expressions in the pictures, and to “become” the characters with my body movements. 
      • Combining play into our book time is my favorite because I am actively engaged with the book and with you!
  • If you are signing with me:
    • Try making your signs in a novel place, such as on the book or on my body. This builds my curiosity and increases my brain’s flexibility.
    • Add visual variety! Make some of your signs LARGE for emphasis. Hold them in place for a moment extra. Repeat the movements a few times.
    • Mix in some ASL rhythms and rhymes to tap into other areas of my brain.
    • Exaggerate your facial expressions. Feel free to get silly! Silliness makes me want more, more, MORE!
    • Adjust your read-aloud pace to give me time to shift my eye gaze between the book and you.
  • If you are using a Listening and Spoken Language approach with me:
    • Use lots of “wait time” to allow my brain to make meaningful connections between spoken words and pictures I see.
    • Emphasize the most important words/phrases you want me to listen for.
    • Repeat new vocabulary a few times to let it sink deeply into my brain.
    • Change the intonation of your voice to keep my attention. Feel free to play and get silly!
    • Play with rhythms, rhyme, and singing to increase my interest and tap into several parts of my brain.

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