by Jill Shook
We’ve all been there: after 280173 iterations of your therapy schedule, you still have a lot of mixed groups. What to do when you have little Johnny working on prepositions, little Suzy working on past tense verbs, and little Kimmy working on /r/? Enter my secret weapon: interactive books! Here’s how I use them to target every goal on my caseload:
Research has shown that incorporating movement into learning is the best way to engage children and encourage generalization of skills. I love a good worksheet now and then, but when you are first teaching a concept, using manipulatives (SLP-speak for “items you can move around”) and the children themselves is the best way to get them learning. We also know that literacy instruction is important. My favorite way to combine the two to target every goal on my caseload is through using interactive books.
What is an interactive book, you ask? It’s a book that “requires participation and interaction by the reader”. In the case of most interactive books for speech, this involves pieces that the student can attach to various parts of the book to answer questions or interact with the story. Below is an example of one you can find in my TPT store, “Leo’s Lunch for /L/ and /L/ blends”.
There are many different interactive books to choose from- for younger students, you can use board books. I like to buy mine from TPT in order to support other SLP’s and to find books that already target a specific goal (it gives me one less thing to plan for!). Here are some of my favorites:
Another thing I like to do is make personalized books for my students using Smarty Symbols! They have thousands of images and you can personalize the gender and ethnicity of the characters to your students. I used their images to make my Leo’s Lunch book.
Once you have your book, you can decide how you will target each student’s goal/s. Many books make this easy- I offer a comprehension page along with mini flash cards in my Leo’s Lunch book, so you can easily target language goals as well as articulation goals! If the book doesn’t offer that flexibility, I like to do what Hallie from Speech Time Fun recommends and write out some target questions beforehand. I always think I’m going to be able to remember all of the goals in the moment, but I always miss some if I don’t write things down! Some sample questions I wrote for “Old MacDonald” are:
- “Where does Old MacDonald live?” (Target: Where questions)
- “What is the first animal we sang about?” (Target: basic concepts- temporal concepts)
- “What is the difference between farm animals and jungle animals?” (Targets: categories; Curriculum Unit: animals)
- “What does a farmer do?” (Targets: What questions, Curriculum Unit: Community Helpers)
- You can also target sharing, turn taking, and asking relevant questions in conversation if you are targeting social/pragmatic goals. This is a wonderful, natural setting for teaching and learning those skills!
The great thing about interactive books is that you can keep each child engaged while you read by giving them a specific picture and having them listen for when they need to add it to the book. They love having something to fidget with while you read! You can also use the removable pictures as a cue to help students who need visual supports while answering questions, without having to use a separate visual aid.
One final way I love to make interactive books work for my entire caseload is to print out a master copy in color that I laminate and add Velcro to. I then print half-page-sized sheets in black-and-white that students can glue the pictures onto. If you have students who need more tactile input while you read, you can have them follow along and glue their pictures in. If you want them to practice more of the concept at home, send the black-and-white book home with them. Parents have always enjoyed those books because they can re-use them by reading to their kids after they are finished gluing the items in the book.
Those are my tips for using interactive books for every student on your caseload! Be sure to check out the interactive books from my store: “Where Is the Frog?” FREEBIE, “Where is the Snowflake?” FREEBIE, and “Going Poop on the Potty” social story FREEBIE, and “Leo’s Lunch: An Interactive Book for /L/ and /L/ blends“, and let me know what you think!
About Jill: Jill Shook is a speech-language-pathologist and the owner of Jill Shook Therapy LLC which specializes in providing individual, literacy-based speech therapy and evaluations for clients from 3 years old through adult in their home environment. Therapy sessions are tailored for each client, and caregivers and clients themselves are involved in each session and taught how to address their communication needs throughout their daily routines to promote even more progress! You can read other pieces by Jill on her blog: http://www.jillshooktherapy.com