YES! Parents can do the job of Speech/Language Pathologists. BUT, there must be some way of presenting the information to the parents in a format that can be engaging and fun for the children while at the same time addressing many goals. With the shelter-in-place due to COVID-19 it is more important than ever to assist parents in improving the speech and language of young children. This is where the book, Sloths Are Slow, comes in handy.
Sloths Are Slow, written by speech/language pathologist Kim Merino, presents a delightful and colorfully illustrated book for ages 1 and up. Sloths Are Slow is advertised as an interactive book. It is not interactive as in push-the-buttons. Sloths Are Slow is interactive in a much more personal way with proven learning techniques. Actually, this interactive book demonstrates reading strategies with many speech/language goals (as well as fine and gross motor skills) built into the story itself.
How does Sloths Are Slow demonstrate reading strategies and address speech and language goals (expressive and receptive language and cognitive skills)? Here is a sampling of the many skills that can be taught during the reading of Sloths Are Slow:
- Child responding to his/her name – Page 1, “Meet Lento! He is a three-toed sloth living in the rainforest in South America.” Page 2, “What’s your name?”
- Verbs (interactive): pat (as in pat his back), kiss, crawl, swim like a doggie, hop up and down, fly or flap your arms like a toucan, feed the sloth, sleep-pretend)
- Size (small to big and biggest)
- Voicing (whisper and shout)
- Speech production: Say PU. Whisper then shout.
- Following instructions: Give a high-five. Pat his back and more.
- Gestures (paired) with the words: high-five in response to “hi”,
- Rhyming for early phonological awareness
Parents of speech-delayed children can be great facilitators of language skills if provided with resources and easily implemented activities. It is not necessary to teach them all the muscle and language development charts. One of the best ways parents can facilitate language in young speech-delayed children or in normally developing children is to read books interactively, preferably books that target many of the goals for young children. Enjoy the interactive fun with the children as they crawl with Lento, the sloth, or doggy paddle like Lento, or hop like the frog and so much more. That is how Sloths Are Slow is filling a need for parents.