"Hey Goldilocks! That's my bed!" I heard one of my students with an intellectual disability yell while playing with a stuffed bear and a small doll. Until then I did not know that she understood the story. Using props to retell familiar stories opens literature to the students in my class.
The students in my kindergarten and first grade non-categorical special education classroom come to us from all over the world.
Their families are from India, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Peru, El Salvador, as well as other countries. They are learning to speak English while at the same time they are learning to navigate the world with their disability. Although they have autism, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, or learning disabilities the students in my class love learning. They are hard workers who love listening to books and telling stories. Although they have difficulty re-telling a story orally this year we discovered that they can show us that they understand the story if we give them props. Even the children who are non-verbal are able to retell stories by moving the toy bears and dolls around the house to show the order of events from a familiar story.
The toy animals and castle I requested will be used to support different stories we read throughout the year including the book "Hattie and the Fox", "The Paper Bag Princess", "Good Night, Gorilla", "Cinderella", and "The Little Red Hen". During reading workshop the children will have the opportunity to use these objects at the retelling center to act out the story we are studying. We will take pictures of them acting it out so that they can put the pictures in order to practicing sequencing events. After the students put the pictures in order we will make the pictures into books so that each child has a copy of a book they "wrote". They can use them to retell the story repeatedly. In the 2012-2013 school year the speech language pathologist, the school librarian, and I (the special education teacher) plan to take data in order to study the impact using objects in retelling has on their language acquisition, their comprehension skills, their oral recounts of events, and their articulation.
Watching my students retell Goldilocks with objects was eye opening to me.
I watched them laugh, giggle, and independently act out the story with awe, knowing that earlier when I had asked them what happened in the story they looked at me and said nothing. Using objects creates a literacy foundation that allows them to build their comprehension skills so that they will be successful readers throughout their lives.Read More
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