Shared Book Reading Strategies to Build Language

Shared Book Reading Strategies to Build Language

When it comes to planning language therapy, school-based SLPs do not have a lot of time to prep and make materials.

Using shared book reading strategies in speech therapy can be an effective way to plan lessons quickly and implement language intervention techniques that work.

Plus, you can also implement a parent or staff coaching model by showing support staff how to implement shared book reading strategies during classroom instruction. This can help with further generalization of language skills. If you need more information about different collaborative services, check out this BLOG POST.

What Are Shared Book Reading Strategies?

Shared book reading strategies are a set of techniques that adults can use while reading a story to increase a child’s engagement with the story. The goal of using structured interactive book reading techniques is to help enhance the child’s language and literacy skills.

Instead of just reading the book aloud to the child, the adult is uses shared book reading strategies to help the child learn new vocabulary, answer questions about the story, and draw connections with the characters and events.

Using interactive book reading strategies helps struggling readers have support to participate in enjoying the story and it allows children to access books that they may not be able to read on their own.

As speech pathologists, we see students with language impairments on our caseloads. The research shows that when our students oral language improves, their reading comprehension will improve as well!

In fact, there is research that found when language interventions focus on a broad set of oral language skills such as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, narrative skills, and inferencing are linked to showing effective outcomes for student’s reading comprehension.

We can work on all those broad oral language skills using books.

 

shared book reading strategies in speech therapy to build language skills and increase engagement.

Benefits of Shared Book Reading Strategies in Speech Therapy

shared book reading strategies speech therapy ideas to increase language skills

First off, I will just say that if you do not have a ton of time to plan therapy, using books to guide instruction is the way to go! It will save you time planning therapy without losing the effectiveness of the intervention.

Secondly, when you use shared book reading strategies you organically increase student engagement. They are more actively participating during the story, they begin to predict the events in the story, learn that the pictures can provide clues about the story and characters, and it reduces the cognitive demands for processing language.

Using books can be an easy way to incorporate opportunities to work on lots of different skills such as categories, tier II vocabulary, wh-questions, grammar concepts, perspective-taking, and story retell.

And, our students have to use literature in the classroom every day, so if we can enhance their language and ability to follow the events of a story, they will generalize those skills into the classroom setting better.

There is research that shows that when using shared book reading strategies, students learn 1.22 more words on average than when interactive book strategies aren’t used.

shared book reading strategies speech therapy ideas to increase language skills

Types of Shared Book Reading Strategies to Use in Speech Therapy

Before reading the book, you can discuss the title. Have students make predictions about why you chose the book or what they think the story will be about based on the title and picture of the book.

You can also discuss key vocabulary before reading the book to help expose them to concepts or vocabulary they may not have heard before to help with comprehension.

Another easy strategy is to point to the vocabulary in the pictures of the story and provide clear, child-friendly definitions.

Then, during extension activities, you can have the child act out those words and make connections with those target vocabulary words.

Another strategy to build vocabulary is to label pictures in the book, describing the characters while pointing to the pictures or text, and asking questions related to the story.

After reading the book, you can discuss the book with your students. This is when you can ask them to make personal connections with a story. For example, with the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, you can ask your students to reflect on a day that wasn’t great. This can be an opportunity to compare/contrast their horrible day to Alexander’s.

This increases the opportunity for students to hear and use the targeted vocabulary from the story.

 

Often times in therapy we may use a book 1-2 times, but with shared book reading, they encourage repeatedly reading stories because it allows students to ask more questions and can talk more about the content as they become more familiar with the story elements.

One way you can increase opportunities for story retell, practicing vocabulary or using verbs from the story is to plan extension activities using toys, sensory bins, visual story maps, etc. I love using my Penguin senosry bin with the book, Tacky the Penguin.

Materials to Help You Implement Shared Book Reading

For all of my whole class and small group therapy sessions, I always use a book to plan my therapy.

I use the shared book reading strategies while I read the book to the group. Then, we discuss the book or review the vocabulary as a group. To keep students engaged, we will break up into group stations in which I have extension activities that align with the book. This allows we to review the vocabulary and verbs from the story.

In all of my push-in unit, I include a Google Slide, a parent newsletter with book suggestions and activities that cover the theme. 

There are also 3-5 activities included for small group. This allows me to use a theme such as the farm, and pick different farm books to use with the students. I can interchange the books in the theme and always have extension activities that align with the vocabulary.

If you need activities to implement shared book reading, I have LOTS of themes. Here is bundle 1 and bundle 2. Check out some of the units and how I use books to facilitate the extension lessons.

Free Story Element Visual Supports

While you read the book, you can work on identifying the story elements with these free story elements visuals. You can put them on popsicle sticks and give each student in the group a couple of story elements to listen for in the book. If you need more ideas with popsicles, head to this BLOG POST. Just click the pink button below to grab your free visuals.

Book Recommendations to Use in Speech Therapy

If you need help with finding books to use in your speech therapy sessions, check out these blog posts:

Diverse Children Books

Summer Books for Speech Therapy

January Read Aloud Books

Top Ten Books for Speech Therapy

Wordless Picture Books for Speech Therapy

Books You Need in Your Speech Library

Beyond the Book- Maya’s Book Nook provides questions, vocabulary to target, and a post-activity to do!

Diverse Books for Speech Therapy by Sweet Southern Speech

Shared Book Reading speech therapy strategies to help increase engagement and build language skills.
Using “The Mitten” In Speech Therapy

Using “The Mitten” In Speech Therapy

The Mitten book for Speech Therapy

During the winter months, I love using The Mitten in Speech Therapy. It is such a versatile book to target speech and language goals. One reason, “The Mitten” is a great book choice for your students with language impairments is because there is a little illustration on each page showing what will happen next. This gives our students a visual cue to help with comprehending the story.

Today, I wanted to share some ways you can use the book to target multiple goals as well as share about some resources you can use as extension activities. This book is such a classic that you can find it at the library, GoodWill or on Amazon (affiliate link).

Speech Therapy Activities for The Mitten Book

There is research that shows when language therapy focuses on a broad range of skills such as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, narrative skills, and inferencing are linked to showing effective outcomes for student’s reading comprehension abilities. As oral language improves, so does reading comprehension, which is what we want to see in our students.

So, using stories to cover all those concepts is an effective way to plan therapy. You can teach your students tier II vocabulary from the story such as attracted, grumbled, commotion and swooped.

After you read the story, your students can act out the words, use them in a sentence within the context of the story, name antonyms/synonyms for the word and create picture friendly definitions.

the mitten speech therapy ideas to teach oral narration and language concepts. #booksforspeech #speechtherapy #oralnarration #cfyslp #speechies #schoolslp #slpeeps #pediatricslp #winterbooks #themitten
The Mitten Speech Therapy activities to build language #slpeeps #schoolslp #themitten #preschool #preschoolslp #speechtherapy #oralnarration #storyretell #vocabularyactivities #winteractivities #cfyslp #speechies #slp2b #sped #pediatricslp #schoolslp #schoolbasedslp #vocabularyactivities

As you are reading the story outloud to your students, you can conduct think-alouds about the book. A think-aloud is a strategy you can use to demonstrate how you are thinking about the text you are reading. This helps you students to learn the strategies they need to utilize to understand the content they are listening to or reading. You can have your student think-aloud about what the character’s are feeling, making predictions about the story elements and to help your students check to see if they understand what is happening in the story.

Using Sentence Frames with The Mitten in Speech Therapy

The Mitten speech therapy activities for the busy SLP. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechies #oralnarration #sped #vocabulary #freeprintables #themitten

As you read each page of the story, you can create visual sentence frames that you want the student to use with the book.

By having one or two sentence frames, this helps reduce the cognitive load for your students. It can help your student to expressively demonstrate their grammar or comprehension skills without feeling overwhelmed with what they have to produce.

A simple sentence frame for “The Mitten” could be, “The ___ went inside the mitten.”

A more complex sentence frame visual could be working on inferencing such as “I predict the ______ will _______ because of ______.”

 You can also use this FREE sentence frame graphic organizer to create more complex sentences about each page in the story. 

Place the graphic organizer in a page protector and use it with a dry erase marker. Have you ever tried Ultra Fine Tip dry erase markers? They are the best! You can get them on Amazon (affiliate link). 

Adapt The Mitten for AAC Users

One way you can make this book more accessible to your students using AAC is by adding the CORE and FRINGE vocabulary to your book!

Many of your students with moderate language impairments may need the story simplified to help them understand the main parts. These visual sidekicks from The Language Ladies SLP can help you have the visual supports you need to help improve your students’ grammar and vocabulary.

For your students that are struggling with comprehension and need the book adapted, having those visuals to reference while you are reading can be very helpful to increase engagement. When our students understand the language, they are more likely to be excited to participate.

I just attached the visual sidekicks with Velcro Dots that I got on Amazon (affiliate link).

Mittens Sensory Bin for Articulation and Language

After reading the book, “The Mitten” you can work on describing mittens by attributes such as category group, function, parts, textures, where, etc. 

You can talk about how mittens come in pairs and why you need them for both hands.

This mittens match-up sensory bin resource allows your students to find “pairs” of items that go together such as word-association, antoynms, and categories. This helps build depth of knowledge for words being taught to our students with language impairments.

For the filler, you can use salt, white play dough, cotton balls, white yarn, cutup white straws, or white pom pom balls. 

The Mitten Speech Therapy sensory bin for word associationas #slpsensorybin #sensorybin #preschool #preschoolslp
The Mitten speech therapy sensory bin to work on ca category groups #slpsensorybin #sensorybin #speechtherapy #preschoolslp

The Mitten Free Printables for Oral Narration

If you have students that benefit from hands-on activities, I highly recommend downloading these free printables for, “The Mitten.”

You can use them to help your students with story retell, which is an evidence-based practice for improving vocabulary and comprehension. You can also use these visuals to create a sensory bin. An SLP submitted this sensory bin idea. She used ripped up white paper for filler, and a long piece of string to be the mitten. Then, she placed the printables in the bin and worked on oral narration. 

You can work on the vocabulary word “fit” and “big” while using this free printable art project that can also teach vocabulary.

While coloring the item that can fit in the mitten, you can talk about mittens by attributes as well as the item the child chose to draw. How would you use this free printable for The Mitten in therapy? Share in the comments. 

More FREE Printables for The Mitten to Use in Speech Therapy

Here are some more free printables and activities that you can use with your students to work on language and oral narration with “The Mitten”:

The Mitten Emergent Reader

Jan Brett Story Maps

The Mitten by Jan Brett Activities Flip Book FREE

The Mitten Sequence Cards

The Mitten speech therapy activities to build language in an engaging way for students. #slpeeps #eslteacher #sped #themitten #visualsuppors #literacyinspeech #literacy #speechtherapy #schoolslp

How Do you Use The Mitten in Speech Therapy?

I would love to know what resources or tools you use to incorporate the book, “The Mitten” in your speech therapy sessions.

What skills do you target? How do you use the book in mixed groups? Share in the comments what is working for your students. I would love to add some new ideas with this book.

What does play-based speech therapy look like?

What does play-based speech therapy look like?

If you work with younger-aged students, then planning play-based speech therapy sessions can help you save time with lesson plans and increase engagement with students!

You can adapt toys to cover multiple goals, so you can use the toy in many of your sessions. I love utilizing a toy or a pretend play theme for many of my mixed group sessions! Adapting materials sparks joy in this SLP.

Today, I wanted to share all about what play-based speech therapy is, how this benefits the child, the stages of play, and tips for how to be a rockstar SLP with play therapy! Ya ready for some practical therapy info? After this blog post, you will be confident with doing play therapy with your students!

What is play-based speech therapy?

 

Play-based speech therapy is when a speech pathologist (SLP) plans speech and/or language activities around a play toy or activity. The SLP will create opportunities for the child to practice the target skill while enjoying motivating toys and activities that are relevant to the child’s interests. 
Wondering how to get started with play-based speech therapy? Check out this blog post to see the benefits of play-based speech therapy and how play-based learning can help you plan engaging speech therapy sessions efficiently! #slpeeps #playtherapy #playbasedtherapy #speechtherapy #speechtherapist #cfyslp #slp #ashaigers #speechies #schoolslp #dabblingslp #preschoolslp #pediatricslp
  • Children are motivated to engage and communicate when playing with materials of interest.
  • Play-based therapy helps increase attention and build better positive interactions.
  • Children learn the social skills necessary for playing with toys and make progress on speech and/or language goals in a naturalistic setting.
  • The child will make better connections with real-life events and will improve memory.

Types of Play That Can Be Targeted in Play-Based Speech Therapy

  1. Functional play – investigating how common objects work and are used
  2. Construction play – building things with objects
  3. Game play with rules – board games that have a clear set of rules for playing
  4. Outdoor and movement play – activities that involve physical movement
  5. Symbolic, dramatic, and pretend play – common activities are done in everyday life as play
Wondering how to get started with play-based speech therapy? Check out this blog post to see the benefits of play-based speech therapy and how play-based learning can help you plan engaging speech therapy sessions efficiently! #slpeeps #playtherapy #playbasedtherapy #speechtherapy #speechtherapist #cfyslp #slp #ashaigers #speechies #schoolslp #dabblingslp #preschoolslp #pediatricslp

The Five Stages of Play Children Use

  • Stage I: Onlooker play – watching and observing (under 1 year of age)
  • Stage II: Solitary play – playing by themselves (between 1-2 years of age)
  • Stage III: Parallel play – playing near others but not engaging with others (between 2-3 years of age)
  • Stage IV: Associative play – playing with others but sometimes playing by themselves (between 3-4 years of age)
  • Stage V: Cooperative play – playing with others and will not continue to play without a partner (above 4 years of age)

Tips for Implementing Play-Based Speech Therapy

  • Let the child take the lead during the play activity as much as you can without moving away from the target goals. When doing play-based therapy, it is important for it to feel natural and not clinician-directed.
  • Avoid commands such as, “Say this” during the session. When we put too many demands on students, it takes away from the “play” aspect of therapy. Instead, give 5-10 second wait times after modeling a word or phrase to see if the child initiates a question or a comment.
  • Find toys and materials that are relevant and interesting to the child. Participation will increase with the right toy.
  • If the toy/material is motivating for the child, then use it more than one session. Lesson planning will take less time, and students will have more engagement with the skills.
  • Provide two toys or play options in a session. Allow the child to help make decisions about what he/she wants to play with. Re-introduce toys/materials that were not interesting to the child in the past. They may have a new interest in the toy.
  • Set a timer and have visual supports for students that need preparation before ending a play session. This will help decrease or eliminate unwanted behaviors during transition times.
  • Model speech and/or language skills that you want the child to learn. You can show the child how to get a toy that he/she wants, show how to play with a toy, or use a new phrase the child can use while playing. 

How to Use Toys in Speech Therapy

If you are needing ideas for toys to use in your speech sessions, I have a lot of blog posts that share how to adapt toys for many goals. Your play-based speech therapy sessions will be easier to plan when you have toys that can be adapted for many activities. Check out these posts:

Farmhouse Toy

Pet Vet Toy

Bubbles

Toys for Functional Communication

Do You Struggle with Remembering All the Targets While Playing with Students?

Between managing attention and behavior, as well as working on IEP goals during play, it can be cognitively overwhelming for you as a clinician. We want to maximize those play-based sessions, but it can feel like a workout coming up with relevant targets off the top of our heads. That’s why I created Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guides for 18 popular toys. It comes with wh- questions to ask, verbs to target (over 36 for each toy), Tier II vocabulary, articulation words to use, carrier phrases, basic concepts, adjectives, and 10 therapy ideas to implement with each toy. Whew! That’s a lot of skills. You will be ready for your therapy in minutes and can even use these to train parents and teachers with how to use toys in a functional way! Need this in your life like yesterday? Head to my store and grab it HERE.

What Are Your Tips for Play-Based Speech Therapy?

 

Do you have any tips for implementing play-based speech therapy with your students? Have you found some success with using toys to help your students with complex speech and language needs? I would love to hear your tips! 

And, I would love to know your favorite toys or pretend play themes you enjoy using for therapy. Share in the comments or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com with your ideas. 

Wondering how to get started with play-based speech therapy? Check out this blog post to see the benefits of play-based speech therapy and how play-based learning can help you plan engaging speech therapy sessions efficiently! #slpeeps #playtherapy #playbasedtherapy #speechtherapy #speechtherapist #cfyslp #slp #ashaigers #speechies #schoolslp #dabblingslp #preschoolslp #pediatricslp

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