This week the speech pathologists have been excited to begin new Literature Based Units with students in year 1-3. The Kindergarten and Pre-Primary students have continued to work with their individual classroom topics.
The year 1 students are working with the book ‘Loongie the Greedy Crocodile’ and the Year 2 and 3 students are working with the book ‘The Polar Bear in Sydney Harbour’.
A big focus of our literature based units includes teaching students new vocabulary. We spend lots of time teaching students the labels of things and their parts (e.g. the names of animals, the names of different fruits and vegetables or places). This helps children talk about the topic and focus on practicing various other language skills. With each book we also choose 3 or 4 words to teach that children are less likely to encounter in everyday activities. For example, glorious, beam, journey, greedy. These words help students to comprehend stories more easily as well as further expand their vocabulary. We start by explaining the word in simple language and then we practice the word using the Word Aware Rap. Students are asked to:
- Say the word
- Clap the word
- Shout the word
- Whisper the word
- Say the word
The repetition of the sound structure helps student to remember the word more easily. We then follow up through the unit with different activities which require students to recall, think about and use the words in different ways.
You can support the building of vocabulary at home by involving your child in activities such as cooking and gardening and labelling the things they use and talk about what they do (e.g. “Let’s go and get the shovel. We need the shovel to dig a hole”). You can also build vocabulary as you read stories by choosing 1 or 2 words which your child might not know and explain them. (e.g. “Gwendolyn thought the jungle was glorious. Glorious means it was very beautiful”). If your child is willing you could do the Word Aware Rap with the word.
The whole class oral language programs are now well underway for the term and the students are developing their oral language skills as they explore the various books and topics of our Literature Based Units (LBUs). We have also begun some tier two programs for some groups of students who need extra support. In our tier two programs we target a specific skill or language area that a group of students may be having difficulty with at a whole class level.
One area that often becomes a target for these groups is Phonological Awareness. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken words. It includes being able to break words into syllables (e.g. cat-er-pill-ar), hear words that rhyme (e.g. cat-hat), break words into individual sounds (e.g. plant – p-l-a-n-t) and being able to manipulate these parts (e.g. “say people” “now say it again without the ple or pea” or “say land” “now say it again but instead of /l/ say /s/” (sand). Good Phonological Awareness provides a strong foundation for learning to read and spell. If children can hear and manipulate sounds in words easily then they can connect and remember the printed symbols for those sounds (letters and letter patterns) more easily and also blend sound together to identify a word when reading and break them apart when spelling.
You can support the development of phonological awareness skills at home by sharing books that have lots of rhyming words (e.g. Dr Seuss) and making up nonsense words that rhyme, tapping out the syllables in longer words as you say them, playing modified I Spy using the first sound in a word rather than the letter name (e.g. I spy with my little eye something beginning with /b/ – bed) and playing games where you make a new word by taking a sound away and saying what is left (i.e. “say sand” “now say it again but don’t say /s/”) or taking a sound away and adding a new one (i.e. “say pod but instead of /d/ say /t/” (pot). Always make these games fun and light hearted and do not force your child to participate, if they are not ready to join in just model it to them.
Welcome back for term two. The speech pathology team is looking forward to beginning our class intervention programs again. We organise our whole class language sessions around a book which is connected to the curriculum content from subjects such as HASS and Science. By using some of the classroom content it makes practising language skills more meaningful. It also provides lots of opportunities to practise language targets outside the in-class sessions, as children engage in the curriculum content at other times.
This term we will be sharing the following books and topics in various ways:
- Bear on a Bike (Transport)
- The Elephants and the Leaking Tap and In the Lion (Occupations and People Who Help Us)
- Lost and found (Transport)
- The Three Little Pigs (Houses)
- Willbee the Bumble Bee and Loongie the Greedy Crocodile (Insects, Life Cycles, Habitats)
- Gwendolyn and The Polar Bear in Sydney Harbour (Habitats and environmental features)
You can support your child at home by sharing other books around the topic. As you read these books with your child make comments about the parts or features of the insects, transport, people or environments shown in the book. Once children are familiar with the pictures try playing simple games where you describe an item and the children have to find it in the picture or book based on what you said. Once they can identify the items from your clues encourage your child to give you clues for you to guess an item. You can then relate this to real-life experiences. For example, going into the garden to find real insects or playing “Spot the Transport” (i.e. who will be the first person to spot a blue car, a motor bike).
It was a great to have so many people attend the parent workshops on the 2nd and 4th of March. For those who were unable to attend but would like the information please find the slides and handouts attached below. We look forward to running other workshops in the terms ahead so watch out for information in the newsletter and your child’s communication book.
The Fremantle LDC Speech Pathology Team
General Language Stimulation Ideas
Modelling and Recasting
Parent Workshop – DLD Oral Language 2021