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Using Woven Books in Speech and Language Therapy

I wish that I could take credit inventing this little gem, but I can't.  An Educational Assistant/Speech-Language Pathology Assistant showed me how to make these about ten years ago when I was just starting my journey as an SLP.  I thought I would pass this along to you by showing how to make them and how I use them.

 This has been an invaluable tool not only for speech therapy but for language therapy as well. I have used these books in preschool; however, they are best for kindergarteners and older.  

How to Use a Woven Book:

1. As a craftivity:  I will have the children make them on their own.  They have to follow directions on how to fold, cut and weave the books.  Then in one or maybe two sessions, they will decorate the book with images related to their goals.  For example,  If they are working on the "ch" sound, then they would either draw pictures of "ch" words, write them out or glue pictures onto the book, all the while having them practicing their sounds.

2.  As a homework book:  If the children are working on pronunciation goals, after each session, have students add one word to the book at the end of the session.  I typically allow them to pick from a few words that they have been using successfully.  At home, they practice all the words in their book.  Sometimes I don't send them home.  I have students take them back to class and have their teacher or another staff member go through the book with them and practice their sounds/words/sentences throughout the week. I have done the same with vocabulary and grammar goals.

3.  Vocabulary Dictionary: I have the children add the vocabulary words they have been working on to their book.  If they have are able to, I have them add the definition of the word.  This can be helpful if you are working on classroom vocabulary.  The students can then refer back to the meaning of the word while in class. If they are working on language processing type goals,  say similarities and differences, they put the words down and then write down they the are the same or different.  

4. Grammar book:  This is great for pronouns and verbing/tense type goals. If you are working on "he" and "she," have the children draw or write out the pronouns at the top of the woven pages.  Then have objects, verbs, etc... on the remainder of the pages.  When practicing they will pick a word/picture and make a sentence using the correct pronoun.  

5. Demonstration of progress:  I will date the words, sentences, etc... that they add to the book.  This way if they were working on artic goals, you could show them, parents, or school staff how they have progressed during therapy.  

6. Help the children understand their goals:  I have the children write out, or I will transcribe what they are working on the book.  This allows us to talk about their goals.  

How to Make the Woven Books:

1.  Print off the template.  You can find it here. You will need both pages to make a book. The second page will make enough strips for two books. I like to print them off in two different colours.  It makes the book pop.  

2.  Fold the first page in half with the writing on the outside.

3.  Fold along the dotted lines inwards towards the middle.

4.  Unfold the page and then fold it in half again.

5.  Cut along the solid lines.  The middle of your book should look like piano keys 

6. Cut out the strips from the second page.  You will need only two pieces to make a book.

7.  Weave the strips from the second page into the middle of the book.  You will need to weave each side of the book in opposite directions (i.e., one side of the book is woven out then in, and the other side of the book is woven in then out).  This will allow the book to bend and split. 

8. Refold all the book.  Fold the middle seam both ways.  This will allow the book to bend and split more easily. Do not glue the strips of paper together, you will not be able to fold the book correctly.

9. Have the children write out their goals and start adding to the book.  For children who are older, have them write it out.  For younger children, I will have them glue on pictures.  I have used picture lists from Speech Therapy Plans.   If you have students who like stickers, you can print these off on sticker paper and cut them out.  That way they have functional stickers. 

Would you make this and what goals would you target?

Using Homemade Photo Books in Speech and Language Therapy

Homemade photo books or memory books are a great way to work on speech and language skills at home and at school.  So what is a handmade picture book?  It is just like it sounds, it a book made up of photos that are important to that child or are objects, actions, etc... that work on a child's goals.  

How to make a picture book  

Decide what your book is about or what goals you are going to target.  Take pictures or better yet have your child/student take the photos.  Kids love to look at pictures of themselves so take some with the child in it.  Note: If you are in school, make sure you know the policy for taking photos of students.  Therapists can also have the parents send pictures for you to make the book in school. 

Once the photos are taken, download them to a computer. Put the images on slides in  Powerpoint or Keynote. You can use Word or Pages but it doesn't work as well.  I make each slide into a single page.  At this point, you have two options,  have the student or yourself type out a sentence or print it off and have the student write out what they want to say.   Once the book is done, print it off. If you want to make the book smaller, I will set the printer to print multipages pages on a single page of paper. Cut out the pages if needed and staple the pages together.  If you're going to make the book more durable, I have either laminated it or put it page protectors and used duo-tang folders to bind it.  Alternatively, you could make the Powerpoint file into a PDF.  You will need to have typed out the sentences for the book.  If you make it into a pdf, then the child can look at it on a smartphone or tablet.

How to use a picture book

Once the book is made, read it with them.  Talk about the pictures, read the sentences to them, or have them read the sentences.  Have them show other students at school.  For example, if you are working with mixed groups, have the students read their books to other children in the group. I have also had them show it to other staff at school, such as the Principle.   If you are using the book at home, have them read it to other family members.  

Potential Goals to Target

1.  Increase use of action words (verbs):  Take pictures of the child doing different actions. I worked with one very didicated parent who took pictures of their dog doing different actions and made a book.  Go to the zoo and take pictures of the animals doing different actions.  This is also a great way to work on verb tenses.  

2. Expand the length of sentences: Take photos of events, activities and/or objects.  Write out simple sentences that is one or two words longer than the child is currently using.  Read the book to them to model the sentences, or have them repeat the sentences, or have them say the sentences once they have read the book a few times.  

3. Increase the use of the "I" pronoun:   Take photos of the child doing different things, holding their favorite toy.  Write out the sentence using "I."  I will sometimes add an "I" visual to help.  The one from the photo is from Smarty Symbols.  I have found if you just add a picture of the child, they will continue to say their name or use "me." 

4. Correct use of other pronouns:  If you are working on personal pronouns (e.g., he, she, they).  Then take photos of different children/people doing different actions.  Then write out the story using the appropriate pronoun.  For possessive pronouns or nouns, take pictures of different children holding objects.  Write out sentences with the targeted pronouns.

5. Correct use of prepositions: Choose the prepositions you want to target.  Take photos of the child in those different prepositions (e.g., in front of the tree, under the tree, behind the tree).

6.  Work on narratives: Take photos of a child going someplace or doing an activity (e.g., zoo, camping, park, store).  Take pictures throughout the activity.  Make a book about their experience.  This will help the child answer questions like, "What did you do this weekend?"  Alternatively, use toys and create a story by taking pictures of while they are playing then have them make up a story based on the photos. 

7. Work on sequencing: Take photos of a child completing a task.  It can be as simple as a dressing routine or more complex such as baking a cake, or doing a craft, or putting together a Lego kit.  Once finished, write out the steps to complete the activity.  

8. Work on describing:  First determine the vocabulary (e.g., spotted, striped, big, little) or the object that you are going to describe (e.g., a favourite animal).  Take pictures that correspond to the target and then write out sentences for the photos.

9. Work on pronunciation:  Take photos of objects, activities, or events that includes the child's sounds.  If you are having a parent take the images, then provide them with a list of words.   Alternatively, have the child find objects that contain their sound(s).  This will also help with being able to identify sounds in different parts of a word.  

These are the different ways I have used photo books in therapy.  Can you think of other ways to use these books?

Four Activities for Parents to do in the Summer to Help with Speech and Language Skills

It's that time of year when many students are either finished, or school is wrapping up.  Parents start to ask, "What can we do over the summer?"  While sending home a packet of worksheets is one option, I prefer to give parents some concrete suggestions that they can do with their child that are low cost or free and that don't require a significant amount of prep.  Here are four ideas:

1. Read books and check out your local library.  Reading books is a great way to work on speech and language skills.   Local libraries often have great programs for preschoolers and older children and they are often free.  Even if you don't go to the library programs, you are able to pick out a wide variety of books.  Even better, have your child pick out books they might like. Look for books that contain your child's goals.  For example, books on spiders are a great way to work on s-blends.  There are many excellent books that talk about emotions. For a link to a post on the benefits of reading go here.  If you want suggestions on how to read to children, go here.

2. Make memory books.  Children love to read books with themselves as the main character.  Take pictures or have your child take pictures of your outings over the summer.  This can be during a vacation, camping trip, going to the zoo/science centre/amusement park, visiting family or even just going to the park or the grocery store. Take pictures based on what your child is working on.  If your child is working on increasing the number of verbs they use, then take pictures of them sliding, climbing, eating, chasing, leaping, etc...  Memory books are also a great way to work on personal narratives, such as being able to answer, "What did you do over the summer?" If your child is working on their pronunciation, take pictures with objects that contain their sounds.

Make a small book by printing off the pictures and write sentences or have your child write sentences under the pictures. If you have access to Powerpoint or Keynote, put the pictures in the Powerpoint file along with typing out the sentences and print off the book.  If you make it into a PDF, then your child can look at on a smartphone or tablet.  Read the book with your child and show it to other adults in their life.  

3. Cook with your child.  Cooking can work on so many language skills such as sequencing, building vocabulary, and describing.  You can also work in pronunciation goals while cooking too. Find a recipe that has your child's sound in them.  For example, if you are working on "ch," then find a recipe with chocolate.  If you are working on s-blends, then use words such as "spatula," "stir," and "spread."  Make sure that you do any steps of the recipe that you deem to be unsafe for your child.  Cooking with your child also teaches essential life skills.  

4.  Draw with your child.  Draw with your child, have them tell you about their drawing and you talk about what you drew. It can be as simple as them scribbling on the page or making a face/person.  It can be as complicated as drawing a whole scene.  If your child needs help with deciding what to draw, start with a character and talk about the adventures they may go on.   If your child is working on pronunciation, then have them draw pictures with their words in them. 

If you would like more ideas for preschoolers through to grade one on what to do over the summer, here is a freebie that you can download.  I would like to thank the Frenzied Speechies for hosting this linky party that shares amazing ideas for speech and language carry over for the summer.