AVT 033

AVT 033

Experience Book



What It Is

The experience book is just like a scrapbook you might keep for your child. However, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as stick figures, or as elaborate as a scrapbook with all the decorations. It is a way to represent your child’s activities in pictures, which you can then use to talk about the experiences over and over again to reinforce the associated language. For the youngest infants and toddlers, a photo album serves well. However, as your child gets older, you will want to have more than just photographs. A little sand from a visit to the beach, or a fall leaf from the garden stuck in the book, helps to make the language more real - long after the experience itself. Children as young as 2 years of age can transition from photographs to stick figures for people, definitely by the age of three.

Pictures in the experience book can be of i) the child’s own spontaneous experiences, and ii) the child engaged in experiences you may have designed for him. In the latter case, there is usually a specific listening or language goal which you will reinforce with the experience book. In all cases, the child should have enjoyed the activity, so that he will also want to talk about it later.

How To Use It

An experience book has many uses. The simplest of books, like all children’s pictures, gives us a chance to talk to the child and introduce new language. It also gives the child a chance to verbally tell you about the picture. In addition, as the experience book grows, it can be used to practice discrimination skills as well as expressive skills, and to build the child’s spoken language comprehension. You can sit together and listen to the ‘story’ just like any other storybook, or you can really have the child listen and identify the pictures as he listens to the associated sentences. you can also use the experience book to help your child learn the very important skill of sequencing events.

When To Use It

It usually works the best to have the experience book as part of a bedtime story time routine. However, any time the child is interested in ‘reading’ is a good time. It is important that this be something you and the child read together. The experience book is also wonderful for the child to talk to grandma and other relatives when you visit them. For children coming to the spoken language learning process when they are a little older, the experience book can be used on a daily basis to learn language in a more structured manner as well as to build vocabulary. Watch the video clip below to see photographs of ‘making tea’ used to introduce the idea of sequencing to a child.

Video Clips


Additional Comments

As your child gets older, the experience book can transition to a journal, comic book style conversation book, or even a ‘news’ journal where you clip pictures of local events. It can serve the same important purposes of narrating events, expanding language and vocabulary, and providing a way to practice listening comprehension of details.