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Sunday, October 4, 2015

5 Days to Learn Language Through Books

I write a lot about shared and interactive reading with kids to build language skills.  It's especially important for kids with special needs who get fewer experiences, fewer opportunities to be read to or to interact with books, and certainly fewer opportunities to talk about books - especially AAC users.

I subscribe fully to the concept of reading the same book every day through the week, setting a different, language-building purpose for reading each day.  I tend to focus on language activities; describing, compare/contrast, sequence and re-tell, tell about the story elements or story grammar.  I also often include some activities for working with words, although literacy is not usually my primary focus in these readings.  (Not that that shouldn't happen, just that I haven't gotten to that side of the readings yet.)

I am working this year with 3rd grade and with Middle School books a lot for the kids for whom I consult.  It's quite a jump from 3rd grade to 6th or 7th grade books, but the structure of the story and the interactions around them do not change considerably.
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Last week, I was working with the book, Verdi; by Janell Cannon.  This is a book about a young snake who is full of energy, who sees the older snakes as lazy and boring, and who desperately doesn't want to grow up to be one of them.  His antics to avoid getting older - and changing to his requisite python green color - are fun.  And they provide very clear steps to sequence in the story.

The descriptions Ms. Cannon uses provide great opportunities to describe Verdi and to compare and contrast him with the old "men" snakes.
Verdi's feelings and his plan to keep from growing old and green provide the perfect opportunity for sequencing, and for discussing story grammar.

The book is full of vocabulary that can be tough for my kids.  I try to look for good visual cues and for synonyms that are more accessible.

I've had a lot of fun with this book.  It's a great book for introducing vocabulary, story grammar, and other linguistic skills.  It also offers the opportunity to weave informational text into literature.  The books has some great facts about snakes at the back, and for my resource I created an informational text about snakes to introduce students to them.

If your school uses this book with students, enjoy it.  You can have lots of great language fun with it.
If you want to take a look at my resource, it will be in my store this week!

What books are you having language fun with this year?

Keep on talking!

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