Augmented Communication Core Vocabulary with Board Books
At our last augmented communication team session, one of the therapists asked me how Nathaniel does with books. "Oh," I thought to myself, "we're doing great here. They will be so impressed!" Out loud I said, "Really well! We read ten to fifteen books a day. We get books from the library. We have set times through out the day when we read. And we use the talker while reading too!" They asked for further explanation on my last point.
I have read to Nathaniel since his first day home. Shared moments of reading between parent and child is foundational to my understanding of child rearing. My mother read to me. My Aunt Beccy kept stacks of books in her car for her children and other young riders. My mother's cousin was an elementary school teacher and gave me most of her classroom library when she retired. I was nineteen. I had children's books before I had children. Through our years of homeschooling, reading books aloud has been a pivotal aspect of our curriculum and our family's day.
For over a year now, Nathaniel and I have enjoyed a "book of the week" that we read repeatedly over a seven day period before it gets added to our general collection. From March 2015 until last month, I used Simply Classical Level A as a guide for selecting these weekly books. I appreciate guides and book lists for selecting books. Reading with Babies, Toddlers, and Twos: A Guide to Laughing, Learning, and Growing Together is a new favorite for Nathaniel's age group and one I will use as I select our summer book-of-the-week books. We read additional books daily for fun, variety, color and number review, rhyming and poetry. I explained to the therapists that for one or two books a day, I model animal names, colors, counting and other story elements on the talker as I read. For example, when reading Goodnight Moon, I might model balloon, cow, bears, and moon. Nathaniel will sometimes participate in a short question-answer exchange where I point to an object and he tells me what it is using the talker. In the past, most of the words modeled and reviewed in these reading sessions were nouns.
The therapists gently encouraged a different approach: when reading and using the talker, focus on core vocabulary and try to involve Nathaniel in the story telling.
The challenge forced me to look differently at our books and how we read. I sat down in front of Nathaniel's bookshelf with the above lists and reread his books with an eye for repetition of core words. Surprisingly, it was relatively simple to find patterns and ways to incorporate reviewing our wall words and other core vocabulary. For example, when reading The Very Busy Spider, instead of my previous focus of using the talker to name the animals and say their sounds, I use the talker when I read the repetitive line, "The spider did NOT answer. She was very busy spinning her web." I emphasize NOT verbally and hit it on the talker. Often by the third of fourth repetition, Nathaniel willingly says NOT with the talker when I pause at the appropriate time. Here is a video of a shared reading of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? focusing on the core word YOU.
Below are some books we've enjoyed this year and the core vocabulary that can be emphasized with each book. If two words are listed, I focus on one word at a time, choosing a different word each time we read the book.
|Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?||What, You, Hear|
|Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?||What, You, See|
|From Head to Toe||Can, You, Do, I|
|The Very Busy Spider||Not|
|Good Night Gorilla||Night-Night, In, Out|
|Are You My Mother?||You, Not|
|Big Red Barn||Big, Little|
|What's Wrong, Little Pookie?||No|
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