I love using children’s book in therapy, as you can tell from other posts on this blog and from my Pinterest boards on children’s books and children’s authors. I also have oodles of extension activities for my favorite books on the Speaking of Speech CDs volume 1 and volume 2. Artic, language, fluency, voice, memory, higher thinking skills — all these and more can be addressed with books. I’ve always used books that can be read in a single session, but now see some definite advantages to chapter books in therapy.
Our new favorite book is “Miss Laney is Zany” by Dan Gutman, from his Weird School Daze Series. This paperback chapter book was a gift to me from a retired SLP friend who, I must say, was quite zany herself. I have several groups reading this book right now, and they love it. In fact, they’ve all been racing to my room on time for therapy just to see what happens next. Before we begin the next section, they recap in detail what happened last week (are THESE my kids with memory issues?) and review the unfamiliar vocab from the previous sections (way to go, Vocab Group!). Then, the students take turns reading a page, using the clickers to register artic errors (see my blog post “How Low Can You Go?”).
The story is very funny, but also hits very close to home with my students. Due to budget cuts, Miss Laney, the school SLP, uses the girls’ bathroom as her office. We, too, have faced budget cuts in our school, but so far I’ve been able to hang onto my office. (I made the kids promise not to tell our principal about this money-saving measure!) Things are so bad, the school in the story is going to be closed unless $1 million can be raised. In our district, it was announced last year that our school and two others were on the chopping block due to financial woes and declining enrollment. One new “superschool” would be built to educate the students from the three elementary buildings that would be closed. Fortunately, for a variety of reasons, that plan was scrapped, but it is pretty apparent that at least one school will be closing in the coming year or two. From all the press and chatter in the school, community, and homes, my students are very aware of this situation, and are looking forward to seeing how the school in the story is saved. I won’t tell you how, but it should come as no surprise that Miss Laney saves the day (another SLP superhero!). The story is delightful, but I do admit that I’m going to feel some serious pressure to save OUR school, should that issue come up again!