Close Server: KOPWWW05 | Not logged in

Welcome to Health Care POV | sign in | join
Speech in the Schools

Book It, Part 11: Another Great Reference Tool

Published August 29, 2011 9:02 AM by Sean Sweeney

As part of this series, I had intended to present a great reference book on using children's literature in language therapy: Vicki Rothstein's Language Learning Through Literature: Strategies for Enhancing Language, Critical Thinking, and Reading Comprehension in Students with Language Difficulties.

When I went to search for it on its publisher's website, I found sadly that it is out of print! Shame on you, PRO-Ed, for letting such a great title go! If you can find it in you or your colleagues' libraries (it was published in the last 10 years, and even had a second edition), you'll really love its pre-made activities and book suggestions for strategies around predicting, sequencing, vocabulary development and discussion. 

But let's mourn and move on. When searching, I found yet another resource, a compendium of language-based strategies SLPs can use before, during and after the reading of a picture book: Using Storybooks in Speech-Language Intervention: From Theory to Application by Kara Anderson, M.A., CCC-SLP, Ellen Stubbe Kester, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Scott Prath, M.A., CCC-SLP (Thanks to these authors-- please check out their website).

This was presented at a conference for Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association (TXSHA). The presenters did a great job of compiling strategies from various sources (see the references at the end of the Using Storybooks link) and I thought it would be helpful to put these in the context of a favorite picture book of mine.

Kevin Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon, the 2005 Caldecott Winner, is the story of a kitten that mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk and attempts to get to it! This is a great story to use in the context of a primary unit on Earth, sun and moon; an abstract set of relationships between heavenly bodies that is often difficult for second graders to grasp.


So let's take some of the strategies suggested by Anderson, Kester and Prath and look at how they can be used with this book!       


  • Music: Try one of these songs about the moon; you can playem right from the website! This offers a great opportunity to discuss the figurative and literal meanings of the songs.
  • Semantic mapping/graphic organizers: Use a favorite graphic organizer and describe the moon, its category, function, composition, location, etc.
  • Pre-reading discussion: Use the cover of the book to generate a discussion. What is the kitten thinking about the moon? Why is she licking her paws?

Scaffolding Techniques

  • Print reference: Using the array of pictures where the kitten is chasing after the moon but it never gets closer, the clinician can ask, "What is happening in this picture?"
  • Close procedure: "The kitten thought the bowl of milk was in the pond, but...," (it was just the moon's reflection).
  • Binary choice: "The kitten keeps on going after the bowl of milk! Is she giving up or is she persistent?" (A vocabulary word emphasized on the book jacket).

Post-Reading Activities

  • Syntactic activities: Students construct captions for the book's illustrations using word balloon post-its and target conjunctions such as because, so, and but.
  • Narrative retelling: Use a story map to construct a retelling of the story.
  • Semantic activities: Students can work with the categories of feeling words related to the story, objects in the natural world, or associations between words (e.g., bowl/milk, steps/fall, tree/leaves, pond/water).

Hope you enjoy this book and these strategies- thanks again to the authors for sharing your handout online!

Read more of Sean Sweeney at



I was able to get this book through interlibrary loan and I am so sad that I cannot buy it!  It is a perfect book to get you started until you are comfortable with the techniques. I love what it teaches kids.  I wish it was back in print also.  The Magic of Stories by Carol Strong is also a good one.

Lindsay July 10, 2012 1:00 AM

Thank you for sharing our information.  We can't explain in words how successful our therapy outcomes are when we use a literacy based approach.  We will take a look at your favorite book to add to our library.   I would also like to add that Barefoot Books have an incredible selection of inexpensive books, in Spanish and English.

Kara Anderson and now Alyson Hendy have submitted to present again at the Texas Conference in 2012 on using a literacy-based approach with videos to address social, behavior, and pragmatic issues.  It is really intriguing.

Scott Prath  - Bilinguistics

Scott Prath September 27, 2011 12:47 PM
Austin TX

leave a comment

To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Enter the security code below:


About this Blog

    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
  • About Blog and Author

Keep Me Updated