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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Why Bother with Stories?

One factor that is shown to have influence on students’ skills in narrative discourse is early interactions around books and experiences.  The interactions with parents or other adults that provide scaffolding of story telling / experience retelling, that co-construct narratives with children and gradually decrease that support, are critical.  By providing opportunities to interact with partners who provide quality exchanges students develop the narrative skills that they need.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that shared reading is another favorite topic of mine
These early interactions [between parent and child] build the foundation upon which children build their narrative and academic skills (Boudreau 2008).  The narrative skills of preschoolers are predictive of academic success in school, as well as social success.  As students with narrative language deficits continue having difficulties in academic and social success, we are reminded of the importance of intervention at the narrative levels.

I’ll circle around and talk some more about narrative skills and shared reading opportunities in subsequent posts.  In the meantime, if you’re interested in increasing the narrative skills of students, take a look at this resource I have on increasing narrative skills. As well as this one for increasing narrative skills in AAC users.

And, for a superb discussion of narrative skills, check out Sandra Gillam’s CEU courses at Medbridge. I've heard Sandra and her husband speak on the topic and they are superb.  Medbridge charges just one annual fee for as many courses as you have time for!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Your Next Great Read is Here!

I recently responded to a request for interesting and educational picture books for children.  The article was published recently, and I think it's worth taking a look at.

Mine were not the only recommendations, of course, and some of the books listed I hadn't heard of.
So, in the interest of good read-aloud time, here is a link to the article and the list.
Each book has a brief description.  

Can you tell which books I recommended? 
 Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One was one
The Snowy Day was another

and Tommy at the Grocery Store (one of my own kids' favorites! and perfect for an SLP).  

The article itself contains links to the books, as well as my affiliate links here.

I love each of these for different reasons.

Aunt Isabel tells her niece and nephew a wonderful story while in the process teaching them how a story is created. I've taught many children about story elements with this one.

The Snowy Day is a classic. It's deceptively simple and good for talking about sequences in a story.  Not only is there the overall sequence of events in the whole story, but you can break the boy's day into 2 distinct parts: in the snow and in the house.  I used to work this book into my seasons theme in therapy.

And Tommy.... I can't say enough about this book that will tickle your funny bone.  Tommy's mother accidentally leaves him at the grocery store.  A procession of other customers move him about the store, each explaining why he belongs in a different department; "He has ears" so he must belong with the corn.  "He has legs" so he should go with the tables and chairs.
Poor Tommy finally is rescued by his mother.  Wonderful for part and whole discussions.

And if you're looking for some guidance during your read aloud time to get the best language impact, take a look at my shared reading strategies and templates resource.

Keep on reading, and.... keep on talking (about books).

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Back to School Time Already?!

Thinking about a new school year already?  Here in Southern California, it is already that time for some districts.  So, to get the year started off the right way, I am reprising a post about the top 10 traits of an AAC classroom.

1. All students who do not have sufficient verbal language skills to meet all of their communication needs have an aac system that others them at least basic core vocabulary.

2. Staff are consistently using Aided Language Stimulation and modeling, and are familiar enough with the students’ systems to do so effectively.

3. Staff redirects students to their aac systems if they are not understood, or if they are relying on gesture and body actions when they are able to use more standard modes.

4. Staff model and require communication for a variety of functions - not just requesting.

5. AAC users are being taught literacy skills using effective teaching strategies.

6. Staff repeat, affirm, and then elaborate student responses.

7. AAC skills are taught and reinforced in natural, contextual activities, not drill formats.

8. Core vocabulary is taught, reinforced, and expanded continuously and topical materials for the classroom are modified to use core words.  Teachers are teaching descriptively, not referentially.

9. Student narrative skills are a focus of classroom activities.

10. Conversational interactions are a focus of classroom activities.

How does your room or school measure up?

If you're looking for some resources to help staff keep up with AAC this school year, try these: The AAC Implementation Plan Handbook and The AAC Core Word Modeling Plan Posters and Information for Staff (and Home).

Keep on talking - with pictures.