Launch into Literacy

The beginning of the school year is an ideal time for speech language pathologists, teachers, students, and parents to intentionally launch into literacy. We are surrounded by the four essential areas of literacy on a daily basis: listening, speaking, reading, writing. I wonder how many moments a person could be observed engaging in one of these four domains. I’m sure the number would be quite high. Imagine what it would be like to have a literacy pedometer that counts how many “literacy interactions” you have everyday. Hmmm…something to ponder! Ha!

Anyhow, I love assisting my students who have speech language disorders and other special education needs improve their literacy skills. I love using children’s literature in my students’ speech language therapy sessions as they practice their receptive and oral language skills. Books are a great way to target most if not all speech language areas of need. I also encourage my students to practice their oral story retell abilities with fiction and nonfiction narratives. 
The first week of school, I always ask my students to tell the language group about an exciting or interesting event that they experienced over the summer. I encourage them to describe the event using as much details as possible. A SLP or classroom teacher can gather baseline data of students’ oral language abilities during their story retell. You could use a rubric to determine the level of mastery of specific skills.  Here is an example: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Oral-Story-Retelling-Rubric-819201
The SLP or teacher could extend the activity by having them write and record their story using an I Pad, I Phone, or other digital recorder.  Here is a realistic fiction story I wrote and recorded today inspired by my recent vacation to Mexico. I am a firm believer that SLPs and teachers should provide models so that students have a clear example of the desired outcome. 
Coming soon….once I learn how to upload a file to my You Tube channel that I created! 🙂 The title of the story is: Yikes! I saw a Barracuda! A Summer Snorkeling Adventure.
Other oral and written language samples can be taken during the school year and rubrics used by the educator to measure students growth or mastery of skills.

Tamara Anderson, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Back to Work

Fiction Book of the Week: Green Shamrocks

This week, some of my speech-language students in grades K-2 listened to a CD with a reading of the fiction book Green Shamrocks by Eve Bunting. The learning objectives for the lesson were for them to answer listening comprehension questions, sequence the story events, and verbally retell the story. I have one student in kindergarten who stutters so he also practiced his speech fluency using his slow and easy speech. 

I was lucky to have multiple copies of this book, so each student had a chance to do their own “picture walk” by looking at the illustrations in order to make predictions about what the story would be about. The students did a great job naming the characters  before they heard the story and shared their thoughts about what was going to happen in the story. 


They did a great job answering literal who, what, where, when, and why questions that were directly stated in the story. They needed some verbal prompts to sequence the events and orally retell the story.  


I see most of my students 2-3 times a week for speech-language therapy. So, on the 2nd therapy day we completed an arts & craft activity. Here are a few photos:

Thanks for visiting the blog! Happy early St. Patrick’s Day!

Celebrating Dr. Seuss in Speech-Language Therapy

Last week, my school had a celebration for Read Across America Week and Friday was a celebration in honor of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. Some of my speech-language students had the opportunity to practice language arts vocabulary, orally summarizing story events, sequencing events, and speech articulation skills during Dr. Seuss themed activities. One of my favorite activities of the week involved using the book: The Lorax. I differentiated or modified instruction as needed for my students based on their IEP goals. Here is a picture of books I used:

I previewed relevant language arts vocabulary that we typically discuss with fiction stories. For example, I asked my students to name the title, author, and illustrator prior to reading the story. I pointed out the publisher and explained that I would be their narrator. During the story, I modeled “think alouds” and had my students name the characters, describe the characters’ traits, and point of view of the story. After the story, we summarized the plot and compared/contrasted what happened at the introduction vs. conclusion of the story.

I love this book because at the end of the story it promotes preserving the environment and restoring the Bar-ba-loot Bears’ habitat by planting trees. So, my students eagerly created their own “Truffula Forest” from the seed that the Once-ler had at the end of the story after he selfishly cut down all the trees for his “Thneed” clothing manufacturing business. Here are some examples of my students’ beautiful and colorful creations:

Here was our inspiration page for the craft activity:

These bright colors have me looking forward to fun speech-language craft activities with spring and summer themes during lessons in my speech-language therapy classroom!! Oh yeah…I should mention that I am eager DESPITE the light snow flurries we had in Atlanta over the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!! Stay tuned for resources to support the English/Language Arts and Reading Common Core Curriculum Standards.

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