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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.
Books To Teach Summer Vocabulary In Speech Therapy

Books To Teach Summer Vocabulary In Speech Therapy

I love incorporating books into speech therapy. It is the easiest way for me to teach themed vocabulary without having to prep anything! Summer books are filled with picture scenes that have summer vocabulary to teach. I don’t think I could ever have enough books to teach summer vocabulary! #professionalbookhoarder

This blog post will walk you through the benefits of teaching vocabulary using summer-themed books and strategies for building better vocabulary with your students!

Why Using Summer-Themed Vocabulary Is Beneficial for Language Therapy

When working with students to improve their vocabulary, the research shows that focusing on building a deep vocabulary will help students learn new words because they can add those new words into a system or category a child knows well. There is also research that shows that students with language impairments need up to 36 engagements with a word before they learn it. So, as clinicians, implementing themed therapy can be a great approach to building a depth of knowledge for vocabulary. This gives us permission to use a summer theme for longer than a week because the more engagements with words, the better our students will learn a deep knowledge of that vocabulary.

Furthermore, if your teachers are also incorporating summer-themed books into their curriculum and daily class readings, we are helping to give more exposure and discussion with those words when our students come to the speech room. Plus, most students have experienced a summer season. By picking a theme that is relatable, it will help your students draw from their own experiences with the summer concepts and vocabulary. 

You can see some of the research articles at the end of this blog post that specifically look at vocabulary intervention. 

Books also provide way more opportunities for you to target other language skills, such as inference, predicting, grammar, articulation practice and carryover, story retell, and narrative comprehension. 

The cool thing about using a summer theme to plan therapy is that you can incorporate a new summer-themed book every 1-2 weeks. You will keep students engaged by reading a new story while still choosing a book that builds off of previously taught vocabulary. 

Strategies on How to Teach Vocabulary with Literature

To help your students build stronger vocabularies, here are some strategies you can use to teach vocabulary with literature:

Provide multiple exposures to words while reading the book and in activities. One study found that just hearing the target words helped build vocabulary.

Give explicit information about the words in the book or give kid-friendly definitions of unknown words. Picking out Tier II vocabulary words has been shown as the best way to build vocabulary. Bringing Words to Life is a great resource to learn more about Tier II vocabulary. You can use the story pictures to also show the vocabulary words.

Focus on teaching words and how they relate thematically, such as a word map, naming word associations, or talking about a word in a taxonomy. For example, when teaching a word thematically, such as with the word “beach,” you can word map clothes you bring, activities you enjoy at the beach, food you eat, things you see, how beach items feel/look, etc.

More Tips for Teaching Vocabulary

When building depth of knowledge using a taxonomy approach, you are deconstructing a word by category, sub-category, function, location, size, shape, texture, parts, etc. For example, with the word “popsicle,” you could explain that it is a food and/or that it is a type of cold dessert. A popsicle can be eaten, it melts, and it often comes on a stick. A popsicle is made up of ingredients that are blended together and frozen. You keep popsicles in a freezer until you want to eat one.

As you are reading the book, you can use dialogic reading techniques to facilitate language discussion around the words. After reading the book, you can set up play activities that are related to the book’s concepts and/or theme to encourage students to act out the concepts from the book. Sensory bins, pretend play, toys, or props for story retell can work great to engage your students. 

Summer Sub-Themes to Incorporate in Speech Therapy

When we think of summer, there are probably a variety of words and experiences you associate with that word. And, that might be different for you based on where you live in the world and what your students’ cultural values are surrounding summer.

Since I live in California, going to rivers, lakes, beaches, and/or swimming pools are activities many kids in my community enjoy on hot days. So, finding books with these topics are very relevant to my caseload. Other summer themes that resonate with students can be camping, Fourth of July, summer weather, going on vacation, ice cream, popsicles, lemonade stands, BBQs, nature hikes, bugs, ocean animals, waterslides, or just everyday summer activities, such as water balloons and bike rides. What other summer themes do you love to target?

If you need resources that help you plan extension activities with a summer theme, check these out from my blog and Teachers Pay Teachers store:

Camping Speech Therapy Activities

Summer Vocabulary and Grammar Activities for K-2

Camping Language Lesson Plan Guides for Small Group or Push-In Therapy for K-2

Ice Cream Language Lesson Plan Guides for Small Group or Push-In Therapy K-2

Beach Language Lesson Plan Guides for Small Group or Push-In Therapy K-2

Summer Language Lesson Plan Guides for Small Group or Push-In Therapy K-2

Ocean Language Lesson Plan Guides for Small Group or Push-In Therapy K-2

Books to Teach Summer Vocabulary for Camping

I have been so thankful to find resources on social media that share book recommendations and specifically diverse book recommendations. If you need some accounts to follow for books, I highly recommend following @havingoursay @diversereads 

They have top-notch recommendations and I got Jabari Reads from @diversereads

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann 

Ernestine is invited to go on her very first camping trip. Although she is excited and packed thoroughly for camping, Ernestine has to learn how to set up a tent and what it is like to be out in the wilderness. This is a great story about a little girl who has to navigate a new environment that brings challenges. Even though camping is, at times, uncomfortable for Ernestine, she learns how to make lasting memor

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chronicle Books

Camping is a favorite pastime for a lot of people during the summer months! A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee is a great book to teach about all those camping vocabulary words. It has  fun, vivid pictures; a bear; a camper; Mr. Magee; and his cute dog, Dee.

If you need camping resources to pair with this book, I have some fun camping activities, including a S’mores craftivity, in my Summer Craftivity Set! You can also make a fun lantern craft. Check out my tutorial for how to make a lantern by clicking the YouTube video (I know it is for Chinese New Year, but I use that craft for camping lanterns, too).

Books to Teach Summer Vocabulary at the Beach

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore

I love using When a Dragon Moves In to teach beach-themed vocabulary, to work on inferencing, and to work on perspective-taking. This book is all about a boy who is pretending that his sandcastle has a dragon inside it. He talks all about the things he does at the beach with the dragon. The boy’s family doesn’t seem to believe him when he tells them that it is the dragon who is eating the brownies and spraying sand at his sister. The pictures are very colorful, and it is a great book to discuss pretend versus real.

The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch

If you want a book with a summer theme that is good for working on oral narration and story comprehension, The Sandcastle Contest  is a great book to work on those skills! This book is all about cool sandcastles, so it is a pretty engaging book for students. I have a buried in sand craftivity that would go great with this book!

Beach Day by Clarion Books

Beach Day is probably my most favorite beach-themed book! It is written with a rhyme sentence structure, so it isn’t that long of a book. Why I LOVE the book is because the pictures are filled with lots of people and activities that a person may do at the beach. It is great for teaching beach vocabulary, as well as for creating sentences about what the people are doing. I love that this could help with teaching word associations, and the visual supports are already built in with the book, so you don’t have to worry about preparing visuals for your lesson.

Summer Books to Build Vocabulary on Hot Days

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari Jumps is a sweet tale about a young boy who is ready to jump off the diving board. Jabari has passed his swimming test and now has to figure out how he can overcome his fear of jumping off the diving board. Kids can relate to this book as many take swim lessons over the summer and also have fears of jumping off the diving board. You can also work on /dj/ when reading this story. 

Let It Shine by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

If you like to talk about a lot of different activities people do over the summer, then Let It Shine is the perfect book to read with your students. This book is great for answering themed wh- questions. They cover Fourth of July, baseball games, the beach, swimming, camping, and more in this book!

One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews

This is a great book for Pre-K and kindergarten that talks about what happens during a big heat wave in the summer months. The book uses real photos, so children can relate to the words used about summer. For many children, hot summer days are just ordinary days filled with fans, popsicles, and trying to stay cool in the shade. 

The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing

Lots of children go on vacation during the summer months. The Night Before Summer Vacation is a book that talks all about what happens the night before kids go on summer vacation.

Speech Therapy Resources with a Summer Theme

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