Looking for ideas to keep your AAC user involved and motivated during their school break? The answer could be at as close as your own bookshelves or as near as your local library!

Repetition, repetition and rhyme

As any parent knows, children often want to hear the same story read over and over and over again. While this can drive adults up a wall, it’s actually incredibly beneficial for the kids’ learning. Not only is the repetition is comforting, but it helps reinforce the sounds and meanings of words. Double down on the benefits by choosing books that rhyme or have repeating refrains.

Books with rhyming verse use repetitive sound patterns that help a child build memory pathways in the brain, which promotes memory skills critical to school readiness. Refrains build comfort and familiarity that give an excellent entry point into shared, or dialogic, reading. When reading an animal book, for example, dramatically pause right before sharing the animal’s name. This gives your child a chance to predict the answer, and the more familiar the book and answer, the more clever and successful your child will feel.

Great books for kids age 2 and up

When your child falls in love with a book with a refrain, you can program their device with the refrain to share reading fun together. Try these great books for kids 2 and all the way up.

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer is a classic, riotous tale of a dog who meows, quacks and moos when commanded to bark - for a very good, very silly reason.

Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems is a great call and response book because it invites the kids to tell the Pigeon NO, loudly and often. “No” is a great refrain because it’s a common word, can be expressed verbally or nonverbally and kids love the power it gives them.

Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On is a wonderfully cozy book to read all winter. There’s an excellent rhyme and rhythm for the reader and it’s very easy to build the cue to proclaim “But Bear snored on!” into the reading.

Nick Sharatt’s Shark in the Park is another great rhyming story with several refrains. This book is perfect for very simple rhymes that lend themselves to suspense and giving kids a chance to finish the rhyme patterns with familiar words like dad and cat.

My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman is a delightful counting book that focuses on the disgusting things the narrator’s sister loves to eat, like ants in their underpants. The story builds on repetition, going through one hare, two snakes and one hare, all the way through counting down from ten distasteful veggies.

Ami Rubinger’s I Dream of an Elephant is a wonderful rhyming book that leaves out the rhymes, forcing the reader and audience to come up with the answer for themselves. Every line ends “I dream of an elephant whose color is….” with the answer clear from both the rhyme and the illustrations.

These are highly fun and motivating books that will inspire kids to use their words and actions to join in reading while stealthily having them practice their literacy skills.