Adapting Storybooks To Work on Comprehension with Students with Limited Verbal Skills

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All students can benefit from using storybooks to work on speech and language goals.   Here are some tips and tricks for using storybooks with your students with limited expressive language.

adapting storybooks to work on comprehension with students with limited verbal skills in speech therapy

 

There is tons of research out there that shows the benefits of using storybooks and literature in speech.  For example, Gillam, Gillam, and Reece (2012) found that contextualized (literacy based) therapy resulted in more progress than decontextualized (games and drill cards). Students’ comprehension and story retelling/generation skills improved more.  Just because we are working with a student with limited language skills, doesn't mean we cannot use storybooks with them too.  Storybooks make speech therapy fun, functional, and also easier to plan (especially with mixed groups).  In this blog post, I will share with you 3 tips and tricks for using storybooks with this population.  (disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links).

Use Visual Choices For Comprehension Questions

If your student is struggling to verbally tell you the answers to basic WH questions, give them visual choices to select from.  You can easily make visual choices using google images, Boardmaker, SmartySymbols, LessonPix or whatever symbol system you prefer.  You can also find tons of storybook companions on TpT which contain visuals.

adapting storybooks to work on comprehension with students with limited verbal skills in speech therapy

You can make your own storyboard with all of the vocabulary from the story to help students retrieve their responses.  They can point to the picture or use the visual to help them verbally respond.

adapting storybooks to work on comprehension with students with limited verbal skills in speech therapy

You can also use an AAC device or any other systems to give students choices.  I got these awesome yes/no buzzers from Amazon and they make working on yes/no questions fun and hands on.  (Link the buzzers at the bottom of this post!)

adapting storybooks to work on comprehension with students with limited verbal skills in speech therapy

Use the real pictures to work on sequencing, understanding, and story recall

If your student cannot comprehend symbols the represent the vocabulary in the story, use the illustrations.  I like to go to Staples, FedEx, or anywhere that has a color copying machine.  I make color copies of the actual illustrations from the book.  I use them to work on sequencing, answering questions with choices, and more!

adapting storybooks to work on comprehension with students with limited verbal skills in speech therapy

Have students match the vocabulary in the story to picture symbols

You can easily adapt a book by printing out picture symbols for the major vocabulary concept on the page.  You can use Velcro to attach the pictures to the book.  I recommend Tack It Glue since it isn't as thick as Velcro and won't ruin your book as easily.  As you read the book, students can match the vocabulary to the page and add it or you can remove it and have students work on verbally expressing that vocabulary word.

adapting storybooks to work on comprehension with students with limited verbal skills in speech therapy

As you can see…there are a variety of ways you can adapt books to meet the needs of your speech and language students.  These were just 3 ways but there are so many more!  Want any of the books or supplies mentioned in this blog post?!  Use the Amazon links below!