Friday, July 2, 2010

Literature & Thematic Units to Address Speech & Language Goals

A great and fun way to address speech and language goals is to use literature. A story or a book can serve as a foundation for working on many targets.

How to pull together a unit: Choose an appropriate book. One book can serve many age levels of students. Younger students and low functioning students can focus on basic understanding, vocabulary, concepts, or just being able to pay attention for a minute or five. Older students can use the story in higher level challenging tasks such as summarizing the story, changing the story, creating their own story patterned after the book, etc.

Gather Story Props & Materials: Search for toys and games that go with the story as well as crafts, snacks, and worksheets. (Fast food restaurant toys, beanie babies, and story telling sets can often be found inexpensively on EBAY.) The internet is a treasure chest of such resources. Simply type in your book title and begin searching. Bookmark and/or print the activities of interest to you. I like to bookmark everything, then cull through the selections and print hard copies of things I like to keep in a notebook for future reference. This way, if the site gets lost, dies, or whatever happens in the virtual world, I will still have access to my notebook.

Articulation: Pull target words from the story to practice, create carrier phrases with targets to practice, readers can read the book focusing on their particular speech sounds.
  1. Vocabulary Building: Pull new words from the story and explore related ideas and concepts
  2. Grammatical Work/Sentence structure: Choose your target (pronoun use, is verbing, past tense, etc.) and create carrier phrases (phrases or sentences that are to be used over and over during the task) or discuss the story from the point of view being addressed. "What did the girl do in the story?" or "What is the girl doing here?"
  3. Processing: Discuss to probe for understanding the story, recall details, answer questions, etc.
  4. Expression: Re-tell story, expand on the story, sequence events.
  5. Reasoning: Cause-effect ("Why did this happen? How did this happen?"), understanding inference, predicting outcomes ("What do you think will happen next? What if this happened instead?")
  6. Pragmatics/Social skills: Understanding motives, emotional states, viewing things from perspectives of different characters (understand that each character has own view points and what one character may know, the others do not necessarily have same knowledge or experience). This is a critical area for children with Asperger's or Pragmatic disorders.
  7. Attending: Low functioning children or those with forms of Autism often have difficulting attending to a full story. To gain and maintain attention, introduce the use of story props, which the child can hold or manipulate in accordance with the story. For example in the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar I like to have a small stuffed or plastic worm/caterpillar and several of the book foods cut-outs (laminated) with a hole in the middlle; the child can use these to pass the worm through each food as it happens in the story.
Here are some links to a few sites with lots of wonderful resource materials for literature units. link to my facebook photos where I list links under pics of books.
Another Link: Literature units for ages K-6th grade delving into literature componenets (character, setting, etc).


Suzanne Herman, M.Ed., CCC-SLP said...

Another Link: Literature units for ages K-6th grade delving into literature componenets (character, setting, etc).

Wendy Moreno said...

This is fabulous. Thanks!