Not all evidence is created equal. But how do we teach that?!
OK..so let’s back up. Why do we need to focus on evidence AT ALL in speech therapy? Well, our students are expected to comprehend and express main ideas, sequence details, summarize, and answer higher level thinking questions with referring back to the evidence for their responses. All of these skills require understanding and use of: age appropriate vocabulary, syntax, sentence structure, memory, and listening comprehension skills. Those are our domains. We can help them be successful in their classrooms. We can break things down for them and make it easier to digest. We can give them strategies so they can be successful and build confidence.
One concept was required for all of those above tasks…knowing the details! If our students comprehend the facts or the details from the text..they can be successful in those various comprehension tasks. But a text is filled with TONS of sentences and facts. Not all are important. Not all of them will help them be successful. Some sentences can distract and confuse. We can help them distinguish which one to focus on and try to remember. We can help them know which ones to incorporate in a graphic organizer.
First our students need to understand the difference between relevant and irrelevant details and why they are important to understand. Take popular movies. Can they recognize which details did not impact that entire movie?!
You Can Start with Pictures
What are the pictures all about?! Which details reflect the gist. Which ones will help you comprehend what it is all about?! Use visuals. Sort.
You can even use my free visuals on a stick and have students select the “relevant” or “irrelevant” side (CLICK HERE to grab those free!). Where can you can pictures? You can use wordless picture books (Learn more about using them in speech by CLICKING HERE), you can use Google images, or even Norman Rockwell art! Learn more about that by CLICKING HERE!
You can use with any text
Take any article, storybook, or text that you are reading with your students. You can pull out details ahead of time and after reading/listening have them sort the details into the correct category. You can use the prompt of “Did that impact what the whole thing was about” or “Did that have to do with what the author’s purpose?”
Students can then use the relevant details to summarize, express main ideas, sequence events, and answer comprehension questions. This will help them be successful since they already discussed and thought about the important details.