August Children’s Literature Reviews

I love using children’s books in my speech-language therapy sessions with my students. I enjoy reading aloud to my students and popping in that oh so lovely CD to play an audio book for different group sessions. Either way it is a win win situation because students are typically engaged in the story and there are so many speech language objectives that can be addressed. 

Last week, I used the audio CD that read aloud the book, Teacher’s Pets, by Dayle Ann Dodds. I was lucky to have multiple copies of the book so that my students could follow along with the read aloud. The audio teaches them to listen for a chime to turn the page. 

This is a delightful book about Miss Fry and her elementary school aged students. In their class, each Monday is sharing day. One Monday, Winston has the creative suggestion for his classmates to share their pets. Your students will love turning the pages to find out the pet each character in the book brings to school. This is a great way to discuss sequencing of story events.

The first Monday, Winston brought in his pet rooster. The next Monday, Patrick brought his pet tarantula. Then the class got to see Roger’s cricket, Alia’s goat, Amanda’s dog, Jerry’s snake, Megan’s cat, Mitchell’s mice, and so on. 

Last week I used this book with my speech-language students with co-occurring autism, moderate intellectual disability, and learning disabilities. They all smiled as they listened and eagerly turned the page with each chime! After listening to the story, they verbally answered literal “wh” questions about the characters, setting, and events in the story. One of my students in my intellectually disability group  especially struggles with initiating oral expression. For her, I wrote out the questions and showed her a visual choice of 3-4 answer choices. After that, she did a fair job with indicating her responses with visual prompts from the story as needed. 

The previous week, I read aloud, Charlies Goes to School, by Ree Drummond. 

I love this story because the pictures are so vibrant as well as realistic and it is told from the perspective of Charlie, the ranch dog as he explores the ranch for the day. This is a great time to remind students about the meaning of the word fiction as the main character engages in activities that dogs don’t do in real life, such as teach school to animal friends.  Charlie invites the reader to explore what life on the ranch is for his human and animal family. 

He introduces us to the other characters: daddy, cowboy Josh, mama, the kids, Suzie the dog, Kitty Kitty, ranch horses, cows, and Walter the dog. He tells us that his human family goes to school at home and gets inspired to teach his animal family reading, math, and history. Well you can just imagine how well turns out for the animals! They have difficulty focusing, want to play, and Walter the dog even falls asleep.  

Since I read Charlie goes to School aloud to my students, I modeled “think alouds” along the way by making additional comments and asking questions to check for story comprehension. 

I definitely recommend these awesome books for use during speech-language therapy lessons or reading class. 

I also recommend a rubric to measure students’ abilities to orally retell fiction stories. The SLP or teacher records a score of 5 to 0 in each performance element category: characters, setting, problem or rising action, solution or falling action/conclusion. To calculate a score, just add up the points in each category. To calculate a story retelling percentage of accuracy divide the score by 20, that is the total possible points. I recommend audio recording your student’s story retell for easier scoring using the rubric. 

This product was revised last week and it is available in my TPT store here:

Thanks for visiting the blog today! 🙂

Tamara Anderson

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