Using Children's Books for Therapy: Articulation

Using children's books for language therapy is pretty easy, right? What about articulation? When I first starting using books during therapy (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), I felt like I was "wasting time" with my artic kids. As my therapy evolved, I've tried different things and now I feel pretty good about the time I spend reading a book to those students.

Putting the words in a natural context

I'm guilty of being so wrapped up in getting through those 28 Super Duper cards and getting my data that I overlook the importance of the students knowing what words have their targets. Using books puts the words in contexts so they can identify the words with the target and it makes working on that skill more natural.

When I read a book, I make sure I read extremely slowly while still adding emotion. (You don't want the students to fall asleep while reading!) I also stress the target sounds as much as possible. I've found that there are times when students have no idea what words contain their targets. I think it's important that students be able to identify words with their sounds.

Data...and all I did was read a book!

When I begin a new book, I may do one of three things:
1)  I may have the student count on their fingers how many times they hear their sounds, one page at a time. This takes a little bit of coordination on my part...I have to be able to count the sounds without letting them know I'm counting. (It gets a little hairy when I have 2 or more students working on different sounds.) Sometimes I'll make a game out of it: I will have the students count; whoever has the correct number gets a point. If no one has the right number, I get a point. The one with the most points is the winner. Following each page, I'll re-read the page and we'll count together. This reinforces the words they counted or didn't count.
2) I'll read the whole book with the target sounds emphasized. I'll give the student a sheet and he will make a mark each time he hears his sound. At the end of the book, I'll count how many he had. Then I'll tell him how many he should have had. This requires counting the sounds prior to the session. I put the sound along with the number on a sticky note & place it on the front cover of the book.
Click on the picture for a bigger view.
I use a very simple form. There are 25 boxes/line with 4 lines so it's quick & easy to count the tallies. Just in case the book has more than 100 words for a sound, I put another slightly separate 100 boxes just below the first 100.  After the book has been read, I write how many words they counted over how many there actually are. Then a quick tap on the calculator & I have something to put in for data for that day. And all I did was a read a book!!!
To download your own copy, click here.
3) During 5 minute days, instead of using auditory bombardment for the listening station, I will record the book on my iPad. (I use the free QuickVoice app) When the student is at the listening station, he listens for words with his sound in the book. The books have to meet very specific criteria: they can't take more than 5 minutes to read, so the listening works perfectly into the listening station.

The quick & easy way to plan...

I love using book companions (I happen to have quite a few in my TpT store!) because the planning is so easy. I always play a game, whether it is a competitive or cooperative game, and I always have homework. Do you have to have a book companion? Absolutely not. Before there was such a thing as book companions or TpT I would choose a game that had roughly the same theme as the book. I would do the same thing with homework. But...having book companions is a really quick way to pull what I need. Most weeks all I have to do is pull out the companion, make copies for the homework, and I'm all set.

Let the carry-over begin!

I used to get all stressed out if I didn't finish activities for a book in a week, but I'm beginning to realize that it's better to take things slow and really let the book sink in. Let the words that contain the students' target sounds sink in and allow that carry-over to occur. And I've realized that if it takes one group longer than others, it's really okay. That's where the book companions come in handy...I can stay on a book longer with a group and then go ahead and start on another book or another activity with other groups.

If you aren't using books during articulation therapy, now is the right time to start! It makes therapy sessions fun and in my opinion more meaningful to the student. If you already use books I hope this post will give you an idea or two to use.
I'm always open to new ideas, so if you have any leave a comment or email me!

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