In the corner of the living room, in a tall, grey basket, sits a stack of nearly twenty books. As a nanny to the family that I have worked for for the last two years, this stack of books has become an important and consuming part of the proper functioning of the household.
As a nanny, I hold many responsibilities: cooking, cleaning, feeding and changing diapers. One of the more important parts of my job that takes up some time is working with the children to better use their speech skills. Now, I am no linguist and I am not a speech pathologist, but as I am deeply integrated into the culture and structure of this household, I have to help where I can.
One of my kids has a speech delay while the other is still quite young, and because they are so close in age, they impact each other when it comes to speaking. As such, one goes to therapy for assistance and we as a team learn all about what goes on in the therapy sessions in order to better assist the child with the speech delay as well as transfer any knowledge that we can onto the neurotypical child. Add on top of that, that the home that I work for is a bilingual household, so the children already hold a delay for speech as they are learning both English and Italian at the same time.
With that being said, I was sitting in the living room with the children the other day and took note of the types and structures of the books that we were reading. I found the collection of the books interesting in of itself, but I also had never paid attention to the usage and importance of the books that we were reading.
From my observations, a small portion of the books were the interactive and touch kind. They primarily consisted of touch-for-sound books or lift/slide-to-reveal books. What’s great about this book style is that not only are they interactive to enhance skills (motor, auditory, memory, etc.), but they also allow for long term use and development as they children venture through the stages of development (see Piaget’s Theory of Development). The other kinds of books were more focused on story development and words to enhance vocabulary skills. These books often come in the simple format of 100 words that are attached to pictures, or rhyming books that establis
h get children to interact by having a sing-song like structure.
In my personal experience and opinions, when purchasing books for children a variety of books is the way to go. My only caution is to note the age and developmental periods an how they align with your child’s current situation as well as your parenting philosophies in order to pick appropriate content for your child to read.
If you are interested in the books that we use on a daily basis, I have listed they out below.
1) Lift the Flap: First 100 Words
2) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
3) I Am, Sam I Am
4) Slide and Find: What’s On My Farm?
5) Belly Button Book
6) Priddy Books: Colors, ABC, and Numbers
7) Silly Sounds: Ready, Set, Go!
8) Barnyard Dance
9) Pimpa E Il Pesce Toto
10) Peppa Pig: Look, Find and Listen
11) Listen and Learn: Baby Animals
12) The Jesus Story Book Bible
13) The Purple Unicorn
14) Moo, Baa, La, La, La
15) Blue Hat, Green Hat
16) The Zoo Book: A Golden Super Shape Book
17) My First Words: Let’s Get Talking
NOTE: I am no longer a nanny, though my opinion still stands on this article as of 2023.