Turns out, things didn't go as smoothly as I thought. Everything was wonderful with Speech Time Fun's product, the directions are great, there is a wonderful variety of pages for my students to choose from (I used this with my language students, so I didn't care which page they choose from the stack), and they loved getting to roll the dice! The problems arose when we got to the part where they had to come up with the story elements and actually make a story.
Small disclaimer, I use a LOT of bullet points in this post, so I'm sorry in advance :)
How did I get my students ready to make up and tell a story?
- I had the students tell me the story of the "Three Little Pigs." It's a classic story that almost all students should know that include memorable characters and a clear problem and solution.
- After they were finished, I asked what the important parts of the story were. The students were able to tell me that the story included the three pigs and the wolf, and I was able to cue them into saying that they were the characters of the story. Most students were also able to tell me about the three houses that the pigs built, which is the setting.
- The problem and solution of the story were a little bit harder for the kids to come up with. I prompted my students with sentences like "Why did the pigs move from their house to the next pig's house? What was the wolf doing to them? What could this be called in a story?" Once they decided that that was the problem, I cued them to give me the last main story element, the solution, with "Now how did the pigs solve their problem? What did they do to get away from the big bad wolf? What is this called in a story?"
- Once my students had knowledge of the four main story elements that I wanted to target, I played a game with them. I wrote out words and short phrases that all represented the different story elements and had the students match up the word or phrase with the story element it belonged to.
- Now, with a concrete knowledge of story elements, we could finally finish up the great Roll and Say Game from Speech Time Fun!
I never realized how important narratives were to speech therapy until this week. Sure, I learned about them in grad school and we talked about their importance, but sometimes you have to experience something for it to make the most impact on you.
So, why are narratives so important in speech therapy?
- I love to use storytelling to work on my student's goals! You can easily tell if they are correctly articulating their sounds, and can monitor their grammar, syntax, and semantic complexity, as well as things like predicting, story sequence, and inferencing.
- Children use narratives all throughout their academic careers. They are often required to retell stories in the classroom, answer WH questions about what they read, talk about life events during things such as "Show and Tell" as well as during other social interactions with both teachers and peers.
- On that note, the ability to tell stories and relate to different story elements are embedded in the Common Core State Standards. Here are just a few examples. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as the importance of story elements and narratives continues well into the middle and high school level:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2: Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
- Crazy Speech World has a storytelling product in her TPT store: Superhero Storytelling!
- Smart Speech Therapy has lots of great products on Narratives!
- Narrative Assessment Bundle
- The Importance of Narrative Assessments in Speech Pathology
- Assessing Personal Narratives of Preschool and School-Aged Children
- The Value of Wordless Picture Books
- Speech Sprouts also introduced me to this post on using IPads with storytelling.
- Teach Speech 365's Expressive Fiesta uses WH questions to help tell stories.
- Miss Thrifty SLP uses a Story Rope to help with telling stories.
- Here's two app reviews, Storybook Maker and You're the Storyteller- the Surprise, and an adorable summer themed freebie from The Dabbling Speechie.
- All Y'All Need has free Story Element Cards in their TpT store.
- School House Talk has a great post about the SKILL Program, and also a product on Story Grammar Prompts. And here's a guest post School House Talk did on IPad apps for narratives and storytelling. (Side note- When I pull up the link, it looks like all the words have been blacked out. I'm not sure why that is, but if you highlight the text with your mouse, you'll be able to read the post!)
- And many SLPs include story elements in their book companions! Here are a few different places to look- Speech Sprouts and Whitneyslp.
So do you target narratives in your therapy sessions? If so, I'd love to hear how you do it!