I want to take this opportunity to highlight a bright spot in Region 13! Cynthia McClure is a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist in the Leander Independent School District. At this time, she is implementing inclusive, literacy-based language therapy in the first grade classroom. Let’s learn more about this model:
Benefits of Literacy-Based Therapy
As you can see, literacy-based interventions are beneficial for the students’ language skills. Moreover, using literacy is an embedded strategy for addressing goals and objectives that make a direct impact in the classroom. And, stories are FUN and ENGAGING!
Benefits for the Classroom Teacher – Heidi Dominguez
Inclusion services provide an effective method for building capacity for teaching language skills. Now, the teacher is implementing language strategies during the ENTIRE school day. What an effective way to serve the student in this least restrictive environment! Providing the teacher with language-based strategies also benefits the students currently receiving language interventions through Response to Intervention (RTI). It is a win-win for the SLP and teacher. Remember, SLPs, you have the language knowledge. Teachers have the content knowledge. Together, students learn more EFFECTIVELY!
Benefits of Aligning the Curriculum
Remember, we determine goals based on a students’ assessments. More importantly, we need to ALSO address skills that tie into the students’ general education curriculum. The goal is for students to obtain grade level receptive and language skills that impact their classroom performance! It is not just about the standard score.
Now, let’s find out HOW we do this!
Step 1: Identify Skills for Listening to a Story
Ms. McClure is singing a song that reviews what it “looks like” to actively listen to a story. We look with our eyes, and we listen with our ears.
Step 2: Read (or Re-Read) the Story
Remember, students receiving language therapy benefit from repeated exposure to literature. Remember, it reinforces concepts and plot retention.
Step 3: Identify Story Grammar Components during Active Reading
As Ms. McClure reads the story, she is explicitly identifying/reviewing the story grammar components. This is the first exposure to story grammar elements in this 30-minute lesson.
Step 4: Rehearse All Parts of the Story
After the completion of the story, Ms. McClure quickly gives an opportunity for the students to go through all story grammar elements. This is the second exposure to story grammar elements.
Step 5: Students Practice Isolated Story Grammar Components
After two exposures to the story grammar elements as a whole class, each student is now responsible for one story grammar element. Visuals are used to support the students. This is the third exposure to story grammar elements. Notice the awesome Ms. Rose Gallagos, the classroom teacher. She is supporting Ms. McClure, the SLP. She is also using this opportunity to better understand the strategies used for language therapy. The SLP also benefits from Ms. Gallogos knowledge of curriculum content. It is a positive, symbiotic relationship that ultimately benefits ALL students.
Step 6: Students Practice ALL Story Grammar Components
The class is now divided in half. Each teacher is able to give individualized support as each student practices all of the story grammar components. Ms. McClure is incorporating brain-based strategies (strategies based on how our brain works). By incorporating physical activity (moving down the row of story grammar visuals), students are actively moving while determining the story grammar components. This is the fourth exposure to the story grammar elements. Again, Ms. McClure provided support for the first few exposures of the story grammar elements. Now, students have an opportunity to demonstrate their individual knowledge.
Step 7: Generalize Story Grammar Components – Notice the 3 Students Reading Books
As students complete their individual work, they read grade-level text of their choice and determine story grammar elements. This is an opportunity to generalize story grammar components to a different text.
Step 8: SLP Feedback & Teacher Collaboration
As the lesson is wrapping up, Ms. McClure and Ms. Gallagos are discussing ways to incorporate these strategies into classroom activities. It took less than a minute!
I would like to challenge you to find ways to support your speech and language students in the classroom. Start with one teacher who is open to the idea. I promise. If you build it, they will come! When I did this for my first grade students receiving language therapy, I started with one classroom. By the end of the year, I was doing classroom lessons in all of the first grade classrooms.
Not only is this MORE beneficial for some of our students, it allows us to be more EFFICIENT with our prime duties. SLPs, we need more time in the day, and this is one way to GAIN time. When teachers also know how to support us, our students generalize their skills FASTER and with more SUPPORT!