In March, I got to present at the CSHA California Speech and Hearing Association’s virtual convention, Convergence 2021. My talk was titled, Local Public Libraries Forster Literacy Skills in Speech and Language Therapy. Essentially, my presentation emphasized how Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs like me!) can use their neighborhood public library to enhance speech therapy sessions (in person and online) – and how library services can be essential for families for skill carryover in the home and in the community.
Since Covid-19 had closed the Los Angeles Unified School District buildings down where I work for the past year (we just went back into the classroom a few weeks ago in April), I had been delivering speech and language therapy online for the past school year. Now, we’re doing a hybrid schedule where I see some students at school in person, and some students still online on Zoom.
Books work anywhere. Online versions, in person versions. . . books are the best. In all languages! In all forms (physical books, novels, picture books, e-books, graphic novels (comic book style), audiobooks . . . they’re all books and they’re all wonderful!!!)! Now that some libraries are reopening their physical buildings on May 3, 2021, including some in LAPL and LA County – make sure to get some books online or in person!
And after getting feedback from my Convergence CSHA talk, I realized I want to post a list of books I often use with students for speech and language therapy. But before I do that, I need to tell you to read the amazing Dr. Shari Robertson’s 2017 piece in ASHAWire titled, There’s A Book For That! Here Are Five Reasons To Use Books To Work On Practically Any Speech Or Language Skill. Dr. Robertson has great lists of books at the end as well. . .
I encourage everyone, including my SLP colleagues, to find and frequent the local library branch closest to their work location. Do you work in a school? Find the library closest to your school and go check out books, and talk to the librarians. See what events are coming up and talk about them to your students — encourage families to attend activities and events at their neighborhood branch. Work at a hospital or clinic? Find the branch closest to your hospital or clinic. Start going to that neighborhood branch so you have a sense of the resources that they offer. Get to know the people who live in the areas where you work and where you live. Become part of your community so you can be a resource yourself.
So here are some of my go-to books (which is ever evolving depending on what I pick up from the library). . . And you never know which book will interest a child so try lots of different kinds:
Chalk by Bill Thompson;
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley;
The Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews;
Alma And How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal;
The Shrinking Mouse by Pat Hutchins;
Raindrop Plop! by Wendy Cheyette Lewison and Pam Paparone;
I Hear A Pickle by Rachel Isadora;
Shapes and Opposites by Mary Novick and Sybel Harlin;
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein;
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen and Mike Lowery;
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold;
Hilda books by Luke Pearson;
Rex Wrecks It by Ben Clanton;
Counta Block by Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo;
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman;
Three Little Ghosties by Pippa Goodhart and AnnaLaura Cantone;
Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beatty and David Roberts;
All The Ways To Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys;
Los Gatos Black On Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales;
Because by Mo Willems and Amber Ren;
It Began With A Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew The Way by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad;
Little Robot by Ben Hatke;
Edgar Gets Ready For Bed by Jennifer Adams and Ron Stucki;
There is Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith;
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z Jones;
Maddie’s Fridge by Lois Brandt and Vin Vogel;
They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel;
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak;
One is a Pinata by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and John Parra;
Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and John Parra;
To Market To Market by Anne Miranda and Janet Stevens;
Pancakes For Breakfast by Tomie DePaola;
City Shapes by Diana Murray and Bryan Collier;
Help Find Frank by Anne Bollman;
Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts;
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch;
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats;
The Too Scary Story by Bethanie Deeney Murguia;
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri;
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love;
Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey;
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier;
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper and Raul the Third;
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi;
Words are Categorical books by Brian P. Cleary.
There are so many amazing books out there. Go explore your local public library branch and try some out! With Feast For 10 by Cathryn Falwell I even made sticky note masks for the board book during the pandemic. . .
I’m sure I’ve forgotten other favorite books I use. There are so many. . . . too many graphic novels and other picture books to list here . . . thankfully there are librarians you can ask at your local library branch, or Ask A Librarian online or by phone.
Here’s to our local libraries and the power they give us to help us communicate. Happy Better Hearing and Speech Month!