Why Books are the Best Tool for Speech Therapy

Books are the best speech therapy tool! They provide a great way to work on a variety of goals and the central activity ties mixed groups together. And you know that our kids need more exposure to books!

In preschool, simple repetitive books are great. Children love that they can ‘read’ by repeating the refrain, and truly, it is a way to teach children to begin to read.

Adapted, interactive books keep kids engaged.

Why use repetitive books?

👀 To reinforce the speech or language skill you just worked on in a very functional activity.

👀 To help students with apraxia or motoric speech disorders to build their skills in connected speech with a rhythm.

👀 To get lots of sound repetitions with a repetitive refrain that incorporates their target sounds.

👀 To easily make interactive adapted books.

👀 To have simple language that usually matches the illustration on the page.

What a wonderful gift we are giving to students if we help them learn to love books!

If your students have problems attending to market picture books, it could be from difficulty attending that long or that the language and the pictures don’t sync well enough for students to gain meaning.

Interactive adapted books can be made as short or as long as your students’ attention spans allow! The language used is reflected in the pictures and the interactive nature keeps kids involved during reading.

This free set can help you learn to use interactive, adapted books with your students when you join my Literacy Group.

But what about older kids?

It can be difficult to find good books for older, lower-level students.  Look for books that:
👀 have pictures.
👀 are not too babyish.
👀 use inferring skills.
👀 have multiple characters and plot lines.
👀 have character interactions that let you work on problem-solving and social skills.

A tough set of requirements to fill! The high level/low-interest books tend to have limited vocabulary and very simple plot lines, which work well for reading out loud but aren’t the language rich books that SLPs need.

Why literacy in speech? Therapy tips from young to old.

Some of the books by Chris Van Allsburg fit this bill if your students are impossibly lost with grade-level texts.

“The Stranger”  is a great book for making inferences with beautiful illustrations. The plot of the story is just difficult enough to use for skill-building, while the illustrations keep it from looking babyish.

👀 Students with auditory memory problems need to practice the strategy of looking back at the text to find the important details and answer factual questions. 

👀 Making inferences is a skill practiced over and over again in both the pictures and text of the book in order for students to understand the plot.

👀 There’s even a great YouTube video to use as a follow-up activity. It is well-acted and lets students practice interpreting facial expressions and body language.

👀 Elicit language for comparing and contrasting the video version with the book.

The Widow’s Broom is another great book to read if your students have social language difficulties.

👀 Students who are working on narrative skills can practice retelling the beginning of the book from two different character’s points of view.

👀 For conversation or past tense goals, have them retell the story as if they were telling a friend about what happened.

👀 It is also great for working on theory of mind. Will your students realize that the widow has no idea about the witch’s activities that night since she was sound asleep?

👀 Practice perspective-taking by discussing the varied point of view characters have about the broom. Is it wonderful or evil?

Using books like these with your students can also be a learning experience as a therapist. When middle school students have problems with the inferences and perspective-taking skills needed for these books, it becomes easy to understand why they are so frustrated with the books the curriculum requires.

What books do you like to use in therapy during the fall?

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