“Help! I need some ideas!” A common – and understandable – request from parents and other carers when you work with children who stutter.

Whether your child is doing the Lidcombe Program, the Westmead Program or a hybrid of the two, books are an inexpensive, portable, and (for most children) enjoyable way to get that daily practice done with a minimum of fuss.

Over the years, lots of parents have asked us for specific book recommendations for practice at home. So we thought we’d share some of our most tried and tested resources: books we use in stuttering therapy in our clinic almost every week. Some we’ve found by accident. Others have been recommended to us by other speech pathologists who work with children who stutter.

1. Flap books

These are books where, on each page or two, you lift a flap to reveal a character or (usually hilarious) event. They’re particularly great when you’re working at the single word or short phrase level.

“Who’s under there?”
“Is it a dog?”

Recommendations:

Spot the Dog books by Eric Hill

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

2. Find and name books

These are books depicting busy scenes. In some of them, you have to find items. In others, you simply point and name common objects. These books can be used for all levels of language, from single word, to carrier phrase (e.g. “I can see a…”), through to general conversation (“So many animals live on the farm. I like the cow that’s sleeping in the red barn.”)

Recommendations:

Usborne’s The First Thousand Words

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Look and Find

First 1000 Words by Julie Haydon

(Note: I don’t use “Where’s Wally/Waldo?” books much, because they can frustrate some kids and distract from what matters most – fluency!)

3. Sentence completion books

Some kids love particular books so much that they learn them by heart. Great for practising fluency at all levels!

Recommendations:

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
Berenstain Bears books by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Up in the Tree by Margaret Atwood

4. “Silly” or interesting books that provoke

Some books are guaranteed to get a reaction. They should be used with care – some kids love them, others not so much.

But, for the right child, they’re great for working at sentence, description and story levels. And they can be great for syllable-time speech practice with the Westmead Program.

Recommendations:

This is a Ball by Beck & Matt Stanton

Bamboozled by David Legge

Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

Treehouse books by Terry Griffiths

5. Wordless books

Great for pre-literate and literate kids alike. Wordless books are fantastic for less structured and structured fluency practice, and syllable-timed speech. Also good for kids who stutter and who also have literacy problems because you don’t get bogged down in “reading the words”.

Recommendations:

Dog on a Digger: The Tricky Incident by Kate Prendergast

Mr Wuffles! by David Wiesner

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

6. Books (and other materials) that play to kids’ interests

I once had a client who loathed books. Wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. Until I presented my trump card: my deluxe Lego Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu: The Visual Dictionary. At the end of the session, I had to (almost literally) pry it out of his hands!

Over the years, I’ve had similar reactions from reluctant readers by tracking down books linked to their “favourite things in the world”. From rugby league magazines, football (soccer) trading cards, Superman comics, to Pokemon posters – whatever it takes! And my local library has been a great place to run, e.g. when a client had a particular interest in Megalodons.

More stuttering resource ideas: Check out our Lidcombe Program 10 Favourite Therapy Activities (a free download) and our Lidcombe Program Stuttering Activities Volume 2.

Final tip: as your child’s fluency improves, remember to read with – not at – your child to turn the shared book reading into a conversation. You can read more about shared book reading here.

Related articles:

Banter Speech & Language Banter Speech & Language
Banter Speech & Language is an independent firm of speech pathologists for adults and children. We help clients in our local area, including Concord, Rhodes, Strathfield and all other suburbs of Sydney’s Inner West.

Banter Speech & Language is owned and managed by David Kinnane, a Hanen- and LSVT LOUD-certified speech-language pathologist with post-graduate training in the Spalding Method for literacy, the Lidcombe and Camperdown Programs for stuttering, and Voicecraft for voice disorders. David is also a Certified PESL Instructor for accent modification.

David holds a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney, where he was a Dean’s Scholar. David is a Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP).

Posted by David Kinnane

Speech-Language Pathologist. Lawyer. Father. Reader. Writer. Speaker.

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