Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Learning Language Through Literature

One of the things I love about being a speech-language pathologist is that I get to teach language.  Lots of people think I just teach kids how to say their /r/ sound.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy that!  But I also love finding a child with language needs, figuring out what their core difficulties are, and then finding out how I can help them with those challenges.  It's a fun process and each child always presents with unique weaknesses.  On the other hand, I have noticed that many of my kids do struggle in similar areas, namely: synonyms/antonyms, multiple meaning words, describing and defining words, and predicting/inferring.  If you're one of my fellow speechies you are probably picturing some specific kiddos right now.  And if you're a fellow mom, I think you will like using this post to help strengthen those skills in your child, regardless of their language abilities.  I have begun a project I like to call, "Learning Language Through Literature" which I have found really helps these kids with broad language needs. Language is best learned in context.  Granted, there are times when it is appropriate to drill with flashcards.  But I also really like to emphasize the importance of learning and using these skills in the context of a book.   Reading comprehension is one of our greatest goals, right?  So I have selected some books on which to focus for each month of the school year (I'm only up to February).  It is a time in speech when the kids get to relax with me, read a book, look at pictures, ask questions without feeling scared, and show me what they know.  It's more relaxed, natural, and they don't feel the 'pressure' to give me the right answers.  Little do they know that they're still learning a lot! :)  I created a type of data sheet with the questions to ask in a pre and post test fashion.  The questions vary in difficulty, and probably are mostly targeted towards kids from 2nd through 6th grade but of course you can adapt it as you need to.  Here they are!  Enjoy!

September - Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London

October - Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

November - One is a Feast for mouse by Judy Cox

December/January - The Mitten by Jan Brett

February - Love, Splat by Rob Scotton


  1. Oh MY Gosh Girl...This is great. I have been collecting a giant library of books for some time - I am going to try this with some of my own books as well as I also use books to develop language skills...

  2. Thanks for sharing, I loved your post. I found it based on searching for a book titled, "language learning through literature"! You must have the same taste as the authors. :) Glad to find you!

  3. this is great! Are there more to come to finish out the year?