A Fast And Fun Way To Encourage Your Child To Talk

If your child isn’t talking yet, no doubt you want something practical and fun that will help increase vocabulary.

In this blog I’m going to show you how using photo books is a great and positive way to help your child talk.

Encourage your child to talk

Most children from about 12 months old love to look at photos of themselves and I find that they are very motivated to talk about things that relate to them.

How to make a photo book

  • Start by capturing photos of your child doing various fun activities such as digging at the beach, swinging in the playground, playing with a favourite toy etc. Capture the key moments during these activities.
  • Keep the photo simple. If necessary, crop the photo to show the specific activity to reduce the background ‘noise’ of the photo.
  • Include photos of family members and pets. For example, Grandma cooking, dog running, daddy washing car etc.
  • Print out the photos and stick them into an unlined book. I like to use a maximum of four photos to a page. If your child is old enough they might like to help you cut out the photos and glue them into the book.

How to use a photo book

This book will be all about what your child can do.

  • Let your child initiate the conversation. Use the photo book with your child and as they turn the page wait for them to talk first.
  • Use expansion to help your child move from single words to two-word phrases by taking what your child says and expanding it by one to two words. For example, your child might say, “Doggy”. Your reply could be, “Doggy! Doggy Sitting.” Be sure to do this with enthusiasm to keep it a fun and exciting book.
  • If your child has no language yet model words your child might want to say. For example, “Daddy! Daddy fishing”. Remember to reinforce any attempt at communication your child makes, even if it is just a sound. Wait approximately five seconds before you say something else and when you do use an enthusiastic voice.


Photo books are an excellent opportunity to help your child build their vocabulary and jump from a single word to two-word phrases. But remember, children need consistency and repetition. So include the photo book into your day as often as possible, and don’t give up if at first you get no response.

What successes have you had using photos with your child?

Alison Owen

Speech Language Therapist
Voice Culture

If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language, contact us. For more resources or speech and language games see our other posts.