Every Photo Tells a story…

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Today is World Photography Day so I thought I would share some useful ideas to develop speech, language and communication using photos. We are all often taking photos to capture wonderful memories so why not combine this with developing your children’s communication skills too.

Whether you have a smart phone, an ipad or a more traditional camera, the opportunities are endless. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started, but I’d love to hear your creative ideas too!

Using Photos you already have:

  • Look through photos together with your child and talk about what is happening in the picture and other memories you both have from looking at the photo.
  • Depending on your child’s language skills you can name the items or actions in the pictures as single words or talk about them in more detail.
  • You could create albums on your phone/ipad/computer related to specific activities and sort the photos together e.g. at the park, visiting grandma, on holiday etc.

Taking new photos:

  • Taking photos on a day out. Talk about what you are going to take photos of before you go. For example, if you are going to the beach you could talk about taking a photo of the sea or a boat. If appropriate, encourage your child to take some photos of their own. When you go home look back over the photos and talk about them. Add information to the conversation e.g. a photo of a sandcastle – ‘I liked helping you build the sandcastle’. ‘We used the bucket and spade to make the turret’. ‘We laughed when it fell over’ …etc. You could also talk about what you would like to do next time you go out to your child’s favourite place.
  • Shopping Lists – with younger children, you could take some photos of some items you need when going to the supermarket. They can take this shopping list with them to help you find the items in the shop. You can talk about where the items are found in the shop then talk about this at home when putting the shopping away e.g. ‘we keep milk in the fridge. the bananas go in the fruit bowl’ etc.
  • Sequences – take photos of familiar sequences (e.g. brushing teeth or making a sandwich) and print out the photos. See if your child can put them in the correct order and tell you what happens.
  • Categories – pick a topic and see how many photos you and your child can take e.g. ‘living things’ (birds, trees, flowers, butterflies, bugs), food or toys. You could print the photos at a later date and use them as a sorting activity.
  • Speech sounds – choose a sound and see how many things your child can find beginning with that sound and take photographs of each one. If your child is working on a specific sound with their Speech and Language Therapist this would be a good sound to start with. Your child may need some help to do this and it might be useful for the adult to name the items and the child to decide if the first sound is the one they are looking for (this is easier than looking for items and having to think of the sound themselves).
  • Selfies – make faces together e.g. sad, happy, excited – and talk about different emotions and when you might feel different things.

Speech and Language Skills targeted: A range of skills are targeted throughout the activities mentioned above. These include: shared attention and listening, naming skills, describing, memory, story-telling (narrative) and speech sounds. There will also be lots of opportunity to model good speech and language for your child to hear. For example, if they say a word incorrectly you can repeat it correctly (without asking them to repeat it). For example, child: ‘there a tat’, adult: ‘yes, there’s a cat!’

As well as developing your child’s communication skills, taking photos captures memories which can live on for a lifetime. I hope you and your children have fun taking and talking about photos during World Photography Day and beyond…

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