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Bring Children's Lit into Speech and Language Therapy with "Dear Zoo"

I love using books in therapy.  Reading books and using them in therapy helps develop important pre-reading skills. Books can be highly engaging and most children like to listen to an adult reading them a story. Books can also get children get excited about the activities they are about do in therapy.  Rod Campbell's Dear Zoo is one of my favourites and just as important (or more so), it's one of the children's favourites too.  It has a very simple and predictable pattern which makes it easy for children with poor receptive language skills to understand.  The pictures are simple and engaging and, hey, what kid does not like to lift up the flaps in the book. 

Dear Zoo is great for teaching vocabulary.  This book is not only great for teaching the names of different zoo animals but it also uses describing words such as jumpy, fierce, grumpy and naughty which might be new to the children. Children love to act out the different descriptions.  It also makes a great movement break for those children who need to get the wiggles out. 

Dear Zoo is also an excellent way to teach personal pronouns. The book naturally uses "I" and "they" in the story but I'll often switch out those words for "we," "he" and "she." I'll write out the words on post-it notes and put them over the words in the story. 

Children also like to tell me about their pets.  For those children who don't have pets (and for some who do), I like them to tell me about the pet they would most

like to have. For some of the older children I will have them draw out their dream pet. This is great for expanding their sentence length or the amount of information they provide in conversation.

I also have a book companion in my store that I frequently use.  It works on a number of skills including answering questions, understanding prepositions, following directions, associations, rhyming and identifying the initial sounds.

I will also use Dear Zoo to work on articulation.  It is great for targeting "S" initial.  I'll have the children say "sent" while reading the story and we will sometimes send things to the post office.  It is also great for working on "K" final (back) and frequently I'll use Dear Zoo to target "me" with many children diagnosed with a severe speech sound disorder.

Dear Zoo has been a great tool when working with little ones and is definitely one of my favourites.  Do you use Dear Zoo with your students/clients?