learning reading? First of all, we know
that they need to be read to. Parents
and teachers need to read to kids all the time.
Lots of different books, and a variety of kinds of books.
them builds language and thinking skills, and can facilitate reading
great ways to build language skills and build engagement. Shared reading, with
an adult or older student, has been shown to be one of the best influences on
later vocabulary and reading skills.
Having interactive conversations with kids around the book being read generates
vocabulary knowledge, inferencing and predicting skills, and develops higher
order thinking when the right types of questions are asked.
students/children with disabilities, and to forget to use the same basic
structure we use when teaching their non-disabled peers. When we do read to them, we don’t ask as many questions, provide as
much interaction, or prepare them for the experience. We don’t set the purpose for reading, activate their
background knowledge, or provide activities related to that purpose. And we don’t often give them the opportunity AND the means to get
practice in retelling the stories.
allows opportunities for students to participate. Ask open-ended questions. Pause for students to fill in predictable
words. Elaborate on students’ responses. Point out new or interesting vocabulary. Move from asking questions whose answers are
easily visible on the page – particularly in illustrations – to questions that
compare, contrast, infer, predict.
to expose students to stories they may not be able to read themselves;
providing experience with richer vocabulary and syntax.
those structured interactive experiences with specific questions and prompts
that enable the students to build language – and reading – skills.
they are just pictures – in my sequencing and retelling activities. Copy
images from the book (this is allowed if you have purchased the book and
are using the copies to provide access to a child who has difficulty accessing
print). Laminate the images (the characters, pictures of setting, events) and
staple them to popsicle sticks or tongue depressors. These can then be used for children to
respond during the story reading to a specific question, to let you know they’ve recognized a word or phrase, or to retell the
story. Who was in it, where were they,
what did they do?
3-dimensional props. Dig through the toy
box, hit the 99 cent store, or check out the on-line novelty stores for small
is valuable practice for building children’s
language. Carol Westby has done
considerable research into how children’s story
telling and retelling builds social language and conversational skills, as well
as important literacy skills. Typical
children use multiple opportunities to retell stories to their stuffed animals
and dolls, to re-enact them with their dolls or action figures, and to “read” the stories to themselves
long before they can actually read them.
gain through retelling is the sense of story elements and structure. Practice
with children recognizing the Who, What happened, When, and Where elements of
reading activities includes describing ( a character or setting), comparing ( 2
characters or settings or other subject in the book), sequencing (the action in
the book), retelling ( with and without supporting structures and visual cues),
and some phonological awareness or other reading strategy skill. This gives me 5 days’ worth of language activities for the same story and
the same vocabulary.
shared reading for you to keep – and share.
Susan Berkowitz has been a speech-language pathologist
working with students with significant language needs and complex communication
needs for more than 35 years. She is
currently providing staff training and consultation in a variety of school
districts in Southern California, and is the developer of the apps Question It
and SoundSwaps. Check out her blog and her TPT store.