I Keep Repeating Myself

So much of speech and language therapy is repeating yourself. Repeating prompts, repeating instructions, repeating the same vocabulary or word list.

But one area we tend to feel the need for “new” is books and it’s one of the most important places to keep repeating ourselves.  If you have children of your own, you know how kids will get fixated on a particular book and/or character and you will read it until you have to hide it just for a single night off.  I remember a night in a hotel and my children were having a really tough time settling down. We tucked them in, turned out the light and I recited a couple of their favorite stories in the dark. Putting stories on repeat is a natural impulse for kids and one we should be taking advantage of in our room as well.

I understand the discomfort of going into a preschool room and reading the same book every time for a week or two. It feels like cheating. It seems more creative to have an Eric Carle week and do a new book each day with associated crafts and activities. I have a new school I’m seeing students at this spring and these students have higher needs than my usual caseload.  I only see them once a week and it’s very tempting to bring in something new every week. But what I’ve found is that if I do the same exact thing for 2-3 sessions they not only get much more out of it, but they are so much more excited.

For an initial session, I usually have my book and activities out and ask what they think we will do. They may or may not be able to come up with some ideas. The following week though they are beside themselves to look at the same materials and have a correct guess ready to go!

I like to choose books that have a recurring refrain so the kids can “read” part of the book with me (think “but he was still hungry!” from the Hungry Caterpillar or “but nothing happened. Not a sound.” from the Quiet Cricket). Hearing their confidence grow with subsequent readings is heartwarming! I hear volume in students who have difficulty initiating or often whisper and more attempts from students with processing issues.

Several of my students are needing support with phonemic awareness tasks like rhyming. I read rhyming books in our sessions and ask parents to have a couple on repeat at home. After a few readings, I start to fade out the last word so they can fill in the rhyme (I may need to cue with the initial sound for awhile). I don’t have any issue with them recalling the book in it’s entirety.  The more ingrained those common rhymes are in their head, the better my students with weak pre-reading skills will be able to generalize. (I like early reader Dr. Seuss and several of the Sandra Boynton books for these.)

Let me know your favorite books to use in therapy with preschool/Kindergarten. Are you a one and done, or do you put books on repeat too?



The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.