Using Experience books to build language development

Experience books are personalised stories, where your child is the main character.

Research  has demonstrated children with speech and language difficulties demonstrated great interest in this type of book, especially when coupled with fun activities.

Experience books provide opportunities for developing new vocabulary, building your child’s confidence and independence and an understanding that words and pictures together can communicate meaning.

There are four main procedures involved

  • Sharing an experience
  • Talking about the experience
  • Making a record of the experience
  • Using the recorded experience for further discussion and stimulation

Sharing an experience

There are lots things you can do to stimulate your child’s imagination and that will also provide opportunities for language learning and development

  • Looking under rocks in the garden and hunting for insects
  • Growing cress from seed
  • Making a craft together
  • Baking or making a sandwich
  • Taking a trip on the bus or train
  • A visit to family or friends house

Talking about the experience

While sharing the experience with your talk to them about

  • What you can you see
  • How things feel (this is a great way to develop early concept vocabulary e.g.   slimy wet dry crunchy hard soft)
  • What it smells like
  • What comes next

Avoid the urge to test your child by asking lots of questions – this is not a test of their knowledge its an opportunity for them to learn about new things!

Making a record of the experience

  • This could be simple drawings photographs tickets that you have collected during your experience.
  • Allow you child to take the lead here and talk about their understanding and memory of your time together
  • You can fill in some of the gaps but allow them to lead!
  • See the following for more ideas of recording your experience
  • PDF

Tell others about your experience

The experience book provides your child with a visual prompt which will help them talk about things they have done throughout the week with different people that they see

  • Nursery staff
  • Grandparents
  • Friends

Your child is likely to remember and to want to talk about experiences that are related to them! You might find your book filled with stories about

  • Spilled juice in their nappy
  • A plaster that fell off
  • Their favourite toy going in the washing machine

There are no rules! And remember, if it’s not fun – its not working!

checkout this amazing link for creating a farm outing experience 

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