Books possess a magical power to me as both an SLP and an avid reader. I've always loved getting lost in the plot and that's something that I want to share with people of all ages.
Sorry for the song, but it just makes me think of reading a really good book. You can just go to that place in your mind and it becomes real for that brief moment in time.
Today, I want to share a few ways that I use books (namely picture books) in therapy. I find that these methods are always in the back of my mind when I am looking for books to purchase even if they are only .10 cents at a yard sale.
1. Wh- questions--- My kids, if they ever had the chance, would probably tell you that I am always asking questions. We talk about what they think the book is going to be about based on the cover, who the characters are, who they like and don't like (and why), where the characters are, what they are doing, what is the problem, what do the characters do about the problem, why they do that....etc. I may ask questions after a sentence, a paragraph, or a few pages depending on the goals of that group.
If I can't ask really good questions that have clear answers within the story that my students can get, then the book is not serving it's purpose in therapy. I focus most of my energy on picture books for that reason as the pictures provide some built in help. (That's not to say that I'm against using paragraphs or chapter books with my older students as long as it is appropriate.)
2. Sequence of events-- Some books are better at this than others (hint...Laura Numeroff). I usually stop every three pages with the younger ones to review what's happening. I may even have them act it out if I have manipulatives on hand. Like this one....
animated literacy using a plush. I don't have this, but I have used items like this during graduate school with preschoolers. I love the way puppets and stuffed animals can bring stories to life for these students. They can hand you the items/put it in the appropriate place as the book is being read or use it to relive the story for a second time. I have thought about using a bucket/trash can from the Dollar Tree to make an Old Lady like the idea on this blog.
3. Vocabulary-- We talk about what words the kids know and what words are new. Is there anything that can help us figure out what the new word means (ie re-read the sentence and look at the illustrations. Does it have a prefix or a suffix?). We can then draw a picture on a note card to represent what this new word means for our word wall.
4. Predicting- What will happen next? (You may need to help them by asking "What would YOU do next?")
5. Role playing-- I particularly like to do this for stories that have a social skill involved. I've done a Thanksgiving play and several scenes from Super Duper's Social Scenes. (I love this book for older students and hope to get my hands on the rest of the set.) It takes the "What would YOU do?" a huge step forward as well as getting the kids to start using critical thinking skills to put themselves in the character's shoes.
6. Articulation- There are some books that are wonderful for artic therapy, particularly when you are at the carryover level on several sounds. I have used early phonics readers for sentence level and longer picture books for students that are at reading/conversational level.
Check out Scholastic, Harper Collins, and even the author's websites for printables that accompany your books. There are tons of great ideas and materials to be found just by searching google (and I do that on a regular basis).
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