Picture of a set of 'That's Not My' books arranged in rainbow order on a shelf. The text reads "6 skills to target using 'That's not my' books".

6 Skills You Can Target Using ‘That’s Not My’ Books

I’m a huge fan of the ‘That’s Not My’ series from Usborne Books (written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells). They’re great books to use to support early communication skills with your little ones. Here are ideas for 6 skills you can target using ‘That’s Not My’ books in your early intervention sessions.

Image of a selection of 'That's Not My' books arranged in rainbow colour order on a white bookshelf.

1- Use ‘That’s Not My…’ books to develop ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

These books are perfect for supporting young children to use ‘yes’ and ‘no’.  As you read through the books you can read the phrase “that’s not my…” and model “no” and shake your head. After each phrase pause and provide lots of wait time so the child has the opportunity to imitate you. Then, on the final page you can model “yes!” and nod your head while looking visibly pleased. Again, you can pause and give the child time to imitate you too.  You can also ask yes/no questions– “Is that my elephant?… nooooo”, and model ‘no’ and shaking your head in response.
These books are great as they provide lots of opportunities for repetition throughout, so the child has plenty of opportunities to hear the target words and imitate you!

2- Use ‘That’s Not My…’ books to encourage symbolic sounds and exclamatory words.

I love using these books to support the use of symbolic sounds and exclamatory words. You can get books for lots of different animals and vehicles, which is great if you’re focusing on using animal or vehicle noises.  You can also encourage the use of exclamatory words when the child feels the sensory patches- “oo”, “wow”, “ahh”, ow!”, etc.  And, because the books are naturally very repetitive, the child has multiple opportunities to hear and use the target sounds.

Picture of a child holding 'That's not my bee' book and turning the pages, so you can target turn-taking skills with these books.

3- Use ‘That’s Not My…’ books to target turn-taking skills.

Another skill you can target using ‘That’s not my’ books is turn-taking. You can take turns turning the pages in the book, and take turns touching the sensory patches. You can model “my turn” when you touch the patch, and “your turn” when it is the child’s turn. You can pause and wait expectantly here too, so the child has the opportunity to take their turn.

4- Use ‘That’s Not My’ books to build vocabulary.

I love using ‘That’s Not My’ books to target vocabulary skills. These books are perfect for targeting early vocabulary such as animal and vehicle names (cow, cat, puppy, car, bus, etc.), and body parts, and for building later vocabulary such as adjectives and negation. The repetitive nature of the books means the child gets multiple opportunities to hear and use the target words too.  You can also extend the child’s learning by adding props while reading, and pointing out the features on the props as you read. E.g., find the teddy bear’s ears/nose/foot as you look at the pictures.

Picture of the 'That's not my teddy' book on a white surface with some teddy bears.

5- Use ‘That’s Not My’ books to target phrases.

Another skill you can target using the ‘That’s not my’ books is the use of phrases. All of the pages in these books start with the same phrase “that’s not my…”, so you can pause after ‘not’ and encourage the child to say “my X”, (e.g., my cat, my bear, my puppy, etc.). You can also model phrases that include the adjective and encourage the child to use these, e.g., “soft cat”, “shiny bus”, etc. Again, the repetitive nature of these books means the child will hear lots of models of the target phrases.

6- Use ‘That’s Not My’ books to encourage pointing.

I also like using the ‘That’s not my’ books to target pointing, which is a crucial pre-linguistic skill.  Because the books are all “touch and feel” books, they have various sensory patches throughout. Very young children will likely put their whole hand on the patch and touch it that way. But as the child gets older, you can encourage the use of index finger pointing. You can model how to scratch and feel the patches using one finger, and encourage the child to try this too. You can also encourage them to point at the patches on each page, using just their index finger. 

Picture of a child feeling the sensory part on the front cover of the book, beginning to use index finger for this, so can use the book to target pointing.

BONUS- 7- Using ‘That’s Not My’ books to help caregivers practise language strategies.

Every child I’ve worked with has been engaged and motivated by these books. I like to coach parents and caregivers to use language strategies while reading these books with their child. (If they have these books at home, that is. If not we would use another of their books rather than taking one of my own and taking it home again after the session!).

Here are 5 language facilitation strategies you can use while reading ‘That’s Not My…’ books.

  1. Offering Choices- If the family have two or more of these books I encourage them to offer a choice of which book to read first. Or, they can offer a choice of the ‘That’s Not My…’ book and another book.
  2. Pausing- These books all have the same repetitive phrase, so the adult can pause before saying the final word and wait for the child to fill in the gap. E.g., “that’s not my…” “cat”. As the child gets more familiar with the book/phrase the adult can pause sooner, e.g., “that’s not…” “my puppy”.
  3. Reducing Questions- Instead of asking “what is that?”, “what does it feel like?”, you can coach parents/caregivers to name and comment, e.g., “a duck”, “soft wings”, etc.
  4. Commenting- Coach the parent/caregiver to comment on what the pictures look and feel like.
  5. Repetition- These books are naturally repetitive anyway, but you can coach parents/caregivers to repeat the target words a few times on each page, so the child has multiple opportunities to hear and use the target words/skill.

If you want to build your own library of ‘That’s Not My…’ books, check out my collection on Amazon. Please note this is an Amazon affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I make a small amount of commission if you purchase using my link; this helps to fund my website and means I can continue regularly sharing free content and materials. Thank you!

As I said at the start, I really love using the ‘That’s Not My…’ books to target a range of early communication skills.  If you want more ideas for supporting early communication skills with different toys and activities, check out my other Parent-Coaching blog posts here.