Literacy Review # 3 { Technology }

This week, I have been integrating technology based literacy activities in pediatric speech-language group therapy sessions. So many kids with receptive language disorders need to improve their listening  comprehension skills when read fiction and non-fiction text. That is why I love the 2 products from Super Duper Publications, Auditory Memory for Quick Stories (fiction text) and Auditory Memory High-Interest Quick Stories, Curriculum-Based Stories for Science and Social Studies (non-fiction text). There are 30 fiction stories and 30 non-fiction stories. I purchased these about 3 years ago and I am so glad that I did!

Using these resources allows the SLP or classroom teacher to differentiate instruction by content or what the child needs to learn. The SLP may vary her delivery of services by providing individualized instruction to a student on a specific learning objective (e.g. multiple meaning words) while other students practice their listening comprehension skills using these literacy technology resources. 

These Cds also have built in capabilities for differentiated instruction based on the process because there are leveled settings available that the SLP or teacher can select based on a child’s current literacy abilities. For example, on level 1, a child is presented with a question after each picture. The levels increase by providing more auditory information and visual pictures before the next set of comprehension questions. The 4th and highest level is strictly auditory and requires keen listening for details from stories. 

I love this product because it provides children an opportunity to improve their memory skills and language comprehension. It also helps foster a love of literacy. This is a definite win for the SLP and teacher because this program tracks data according to percentages from each story. I recommend printing the scores regularly to ensure that you maintain meticulous therapy data or work samples for your classroom.   

Have you used this resource before? What are your thoughts?

Tamara Anderson
BSL Speech & Language

October Children’s Literature Reviews

Here are my children’s literature reviews for books to use during the month of October. The first two books are ideal for addressing listening comprehension and vocabulary skills with children who are learning everyday Tier I words. 

A is for Autumn, by Robert Mass is a colorful book with great photographs that display nouns and adjectives of the season. The language in the book is simple enough for students in preschool and grades K-2. SLPs and teachers may lead students in an auditory memory activity to recall facts from the book or practice naming vocabulary associated with fall. The targeted vocabulary are: apples, birds, colors, daylight, exercise, frost, games, Halloween, ice cream (great for any season!), jacket, kayak, leaves, Monarch butterfly, neighborhood, owl, pumpkins, quilt, rake, scarecrow, Thanksgiving, umbrella, vegetables (gourds/squash), X (train crossing), yellow, and zipper. 

 Here’s a snapshot from one of my favorite pages:

Word Bird’s Fall Words, by Jane Belk Moncure is a book that introduces themed vocabulary to early learners. This is a simple text that teaches kids words associated with fall such as leaves, red, yellow, orange, football, acorns, squirrels, caterpillar, cocoon, Columbus Day, wild geese, pumpkins, Halloween, jack-o’-latern, trick or treat, turkey, Thanksgiving, Mayflower, Pilgrims, Indians, and tepee. Preschool and elementary school aged children can practice identifying and naming the key vocabulary. This is a fair book for kids with limited semantic or vocabulary skills. I use this book with kids with moderate intellectual disabilities and co-occurring language impairment. It can be used with a variety of children with language difficulty. 
My speech students love the books The Saturday Triplets in Lost in the Leaf Pile and The Saturday Triplets in The Pumpkin Fair Problem by Katharine Kenah. In the first story, the siblings decide to make a game out of raking leaves and in the process they lose their kitty, Boo. In the other story, the triplets go to the fair with their parents. They are so excited to be there, but can’t agree on what to do! The illustrations are fantastic in these stories and provide a great opportunity for kids to practice basic level verbal narratives. 

It wouldn’t be a new season without using one of Lucille Colandro’s books. I definitely recommend There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly! Yes, the children you work with will probably be grossed out again by the things this silly old lady eats. However, these books are an engaging and fun way to allow kids to practice identifying the correct sequence of the story events and verbally retelling the fiction story. Of course, you should always ask “wh” questions to check for comprehension. Although these books are at a second grade reading level, I think they are appropriate for a read aloud for preschool-3rd grade kids with language impairment or in a general education class as well. 
Enjoy the month of October! What are some books that you use this month in your classroom or during speech-language therapy sessions?
Tamara Anderson

Language Processing Treatment Plan {Evidence Based }

The majority of children on my caseload have a mixed receptive and expressive language disorder. They struggle with both language comprehension and oral expression. They also have language based learning disabilities with challenges in reading and written expression. In order to remediate their difficulties, it is important to remember the hierarchy of language processing skills that will enable children to be more successful communicators and learners. 

I love the Language Processing Test Elementary by Gail Richard and Mary Anne Hanner.
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There is also an accompanying intervention book that describes the importance of providing speech language therapy services according to the following hierarchy. As a SLP, you can determine a child’s language strengths and areas of need. Then you can provide direct instruction in those areas. Remember that these skills require increasing linguistic demand or receptive/expressive language abilities. 

1) Labeling
2) Functions
3) Associations
4) Categories
5) Antonyms
6) Synonyms
7) Similarities
8) Differences
9) Multiple meaning words 
10) Oral definitions with attributes (*This corresponds with the assessment subtest. However, the treatment book includes practice with idioms and analogies instead of attributes.)

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Although I have not yet used the specific activities in this book, I have provided direct speech-language therapy on these specific language areas of need for years. It is important to remember this hierarchy when writing speech-language goals & objectives for children and providing therapy services. Each language area requires knowledge and expressive communication abilities of the previous language skill. 

So many students with co-occurring disorders struggle with these concepts. Students may have an identified speech-language impairment (SLI) along with specific learning disability(SLD), SLI with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), SLI with Moderate Intellectual Disability (MOID), SLI with Mild Intellectual Disability (MID), SLI with Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), or SLI with Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH). Regardless of these “labels” or classifications, speech-language pathologists have the important professional task of remediating the language processing skills listed above as appropriate for each child. 

I have several speech-language therapy activities that address these skills in my TPT online store. Head over to my store and add them to your SLP time saving and effective resources.   

Thanks for reading the blog today! 

Tamara Anderson

I love Semantic Maps! {Evidence-Based Strategy}

I love any reason to use markers in speech-language therapy sessions with my students. When I demonstrate how to make semantic maps, I naturally use markers to make the terms more appealing. Who doesn’t like colorful work samples anyhow? Plus, it is a great memory aid as well.

Semantic maps are visual representations of key vocabulary words that are accompanied by definitions, pictures, and/or acronyms to help individuals learn academic content.

I provide speech-language therapy to kindergarten-fifth grade students. Typically, I use this evidence based strategy with my 5th grade students with science and social studies content. However, it is beneficial with younger kids as well.

Last year I implemented a single subject research design study for my Ed.S. degree program in curriculum & instruction. I compared 5th grade students’ receptive social studies vocabulary knowledge after instruction using semantic maps with World War I and World War II terms vs. the intervention method of flash card drill & repetition. Making semantic or metacognitive maps were a part of Dr. Caroline Leaf ‘s, The Switch On Your Brain 5-Step Learning Process system that I implemented during this research. She is a neuroscientist and speech-language pathologist. How cool is that! I met her in person two years at a conference and she is a phenomenal speaker!

Ok, back to semantic maps. My research findings revealed that the use of the semantic map strategy increased the receptive vocabulary knowledge of 5th grade speech-language impaired students at a greater rate than vocabulary instruction using the flash cards method. On average, my students made a 35 % gain from pretest to posttest with WW I terms and a 50 % gain with WW II terms using semantic maps as a vocabulary learning strategy. When they used the flash card method during the non-treatment phase they demonstrated a  11% increase with WWI terms and a 15 % increase with WWII terms.

This year, I have reviewed key ideas about the Civil War, reconstruction, westward expansion, animal cells, and plant cells using semantic maps with my students who have language disorders and co-occurring language based learning disabilities.

Here are some more snapshots of the maps:





Thanks for reading my blog today! 🙂

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Tamara Anderson

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