Children love to act things out, sing, and dance. Ask even the shyest child to sing along with a silly song and you can usually get them actively engaged. Dramatic play may not seem like it has a place in speech and language sessions, but it is a powerful resource. Not only will it get the kids involved, but it also works on speech pragmatics, articulation, confidence, and more.
Singing a Story or Two
There are many picture books that are variations of popular songs. These familiar tales allow kids to sing along together while practicing words. There will be lots of smiles on faces as kids are able to participate together. This interactive time makes it even more special and takes hides the fact that you are working on serious speech and language goals.
Several books that work well with children are:
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
- The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
- On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson
- The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback
- Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told and Sung By the Good Fairy by Paul Brett Johnson
It is important to remember that singing has many benefits. When you sing a song, it slows the words down so it is easier to hear the sounds and syllables. Songs repeat phrases and have a lot of repetition for practicing words. Books that you are able to sing may include new vocabulary for children.
Adding to the Singing Fun
Once you have been able to sing the book together, add some more to the activity. Give everyone a role to act out. If that is not feasible, make stick puppets to use with a little puppet theater. If kids are up to the challenge allow them to be in charge of all of the props while others sing for them. Another twist can be to use the props to allow the kids to retell the story in their own words. This will give them practice with sequencing, articulation, and more.
Think about sending home book bags to share with families. Singing is a wonderful way to help multilingual families to connect to what their children are practicing in speech sessions. Explain that they should sing the songs together. Include instructions on where they may find the music to play along with the individual book. Many authors have their books set to music on websites that families will be able to enjoy.