Book It, Part 8: More Resources to Support Using Picture Books in Therapy
When I first started to become interested in using picture books as contexts for intervention in my public school SLP position, I was really happy to find Books are for Talking Too,
by Jane Gebers. It was clearly just the resource I was looking for at the time - a guide specific to SLPs detailing the power of using picture books. Many great resources come and go, but we are lucky to still have Geber's book available in a 3rd edition today.
Books are for Talking Too was conceived in the "Whole Language" era of literacy instruction, and it is still very relevant today, as many districts have moved to a balanced literacy approach that is quite language-based. In the introduction, Gebers sites literature from greats such as Carol Westby and states, "Discourse-based intervention throughout the reading experience provides for communication activities within a meaningful context." That's one of those quotes that hits on so many of my passions that it makes me shout, "YES!"
Gebers provides brief primers on selecting and using picture books within sessions, then launches into the meat of the book, a catalog of picture books analyzed according to clinical utility. For each book, she provides information about suggested levels, "skill builders" to target in the context of the book, topics and themes, a synopsis, and a "Method" and extension section that can serve as basic session plans. The book closes with a great index that allows you to peruse books by topics, such as seasons, careers or nighttime, or skills and structures such as tenses, adjectives and cause-effect relationships. I have also found extremely useful the "Parent Conference and Inservice Handouts" contained in the book, which are wonderful quick-grab guides for using picture books at home.
If you are looking for an online version of this kind of guide, and one that promises to have many updates and new ideas to come, I highly recommend checking out books4all. Books4all is a new blog that is part of the larger collaborative all4mychild site developed by an interdisciplinary team of therapists, my friends at Children's Therapy Associates in Natick, MA: occupational therapist Jill Perry and speech-language pathologists Meghan Graham and Karen Head. With books4all, these therapists are exploring classic and recently published picture books and providing an analysis of goals that can be targeted using each book, as well as specific activities to integrate within the book's context. Check it out!
Hope you find these resources helpful!
Read more of Sean Sweeney at www.speechtechie.com