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Social Skills

Helping Children With Autism Foster A Love Of Reading

Leaning On the Library

One of the best ways to help get children interested in reading is to surround them with books! Local libraries are the perfect place to start for parents who don’t have a collection of age-appropriate books for their children. Exploring libraries’ vast selections of books and searching for books with stories, illustrations, and topics that appeal to them can help children engage with language in an entertaining way.

For young ones who haven’t yet caught the reading bug, many libraries also have small play stations in their children’s areas that typically contain toys for cognitive development, such as building blocks or board games. Regardless of the benefits your child enjoys, checking out library content and caring for borrowed materials is a great way to introduce or add small responsibilities.

The Home Reading Environment

We understand that children can learn from watching adults model behavior, and parents’ own reading habits can affect their children’s attitudes toward reading. Encouraging reading outside of structured learning environments can help children to continue to refine language concepts in a more casual setting. Making a dedicated space where children can take time away from other activities and enjoy books can also go a long way toward an appreciation of reading.

In their dedicated reading space, try placing a comfortable seat near a selection of books that your child already loves or include books about your child’s favorite topic. Also, allow for some self-discovery. Even if they find interest in reading, consistent exposure to books builds familiarity and can lead to a stronger desire to continue reading.

Additionally, there are indications that shared reading time between children and their parents can positively impact the literacy skills of children diagnosed with autism.

Finding the Best Book for Your Child

Early introduction to a variety of literature can help children understand the types of adventures that books can contain, but finding the perfect story that hooks your child can be challenging. Starting at the library or a bookstore, you can help your child locate books based on their interests or let them wander and search for a book on their own. We recommend checking out these books for children with autism spectrum disorder.

Picking out a new book can also be an excellent time to establish the idea that they shouldn’t only judge a book from its cover. If you’re helping your child find a book that interests them, try reading them the synopsis of the book on its back cover or the inside flap of the dust jacket to help them understand its contents. Books, like people, may surprise you once you spend enough time with them.

Digitally-Enhanced Media

Technology has become prevalent in many aspects of our daily lives, including how we consume literature. From audiobooks to eBooks, our reading experiences are becoming more augmented by technology. While some view this evolution of literature to be nearly taboo, others have fully embraced the digital renaissance.

In 2021, Carmen López-Escribano et al. conducted a study and found that “children living in a deprived context, at risk of learning disabilities, and English Language Learners benefited from…eBook interventions, which highly improved their literacy skills…vocabulary, and reading comprehension.”

While these findings may require further research, it is an important discovery for those who prefer or require digital reading materials. Electronics users should also be aware that they should take frequent breaks to prevent eye fatigue from prolonged screen use.

Vocabulary For Stronger Communication

When children engage more frequently with books and have shared reading experiences with their parents, they will begin to build a larger vocabulary than they might have otherwise. Reading exposes children to an array of topics and words that they likely would not have encountered in their daily lives outside of the book’s pages. For example, a child may not learn many animal names unless visiting the zoo or a farm, but they may easily learn animal names after seeing them in books multiple times.

By strengthening vocabulary, children gain a wider range of expression, which can help them feel more comfortable in social scenarios and find the right words to participate more frequently in conversation.

Reading is an activity with many positive aspects and little to no downside. So, encourage your child to find their inner bookworm today!

Sources Cited

Boyle, Susannah A., et al. Effects of Shared Reading on the Early Language and Literacy Skills of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

López-Escribano Carmen, et al. The Impact of E-Book Reading on Young Children’s Emergent Literacy Skills: An Analytical Review

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