Speech All the Time

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Using Patterned Language Storybooks

Predictable books give young children the opportunity to predict what is going to be said and what will happen next in a story. The more predictable the story, the more likely children will enjoy, remember and retell the story with words that do not put a heavy language load on their expressive language.  

Repetitive books may be predictable in a variety of ways. The story may repeat itself, a phrase may repeat on each page or the same question may be asked throughout. 

In cumulative books, each part repeats the previous part and then adds a new part. The story begins with one person, animal, or event, then adds on bit by bit to form the complete story. (i.e. The Napping House by Audrey Wood, No Jumping on the Bed by Ted Arnold)

Repetitive books:

  • make the stories predictable and helps develop vocabulary and sequencing.  
  • foster the development of phonemic awareness and sound symbol association; the presence of carrier phrases, repeated content and recurring words can result in the frequent occurrence of a particular sound (phoneme) or group of sounds. 
  • have a high frequency of occurrence for the sounds of language, and facilitate multiple production and practice in a fun and reinforcing manner
  • use carrier phrases throughout the story which enable a child to produce a longer utterance while only having to change one core word
  • allow a child to fill- in without imitating and can lead to increased participation and  turn taking

Using Patterned Storybooks

  • Choose easy books with strongly repetitive patterns and a minimum of short sentences on each page.
  • Pause to allow the child to fill in a portion of a repeated phrase.
  • Encourage the child to repeat a carrier phrase heard throughout the story.
  • Provide adequate time for the child to attempt productions.
  • Read a preferred repetitive book multiple times and provide increased opportunities for the child to verbally participate.

I have used simple predictable patterned books successfully with young developmentally delayed children for many years and would like to demonstrate how I use a predictable, patterned rhyming book that uses only one new word at the end of each sentence. The book allows emergent readers the opportunity to recognize and learn familiar, predictable text, practice rhyming, and focus on phonemic awareness.

Download the file, then print, laminate, cut pages in half, and bind on the left to make a book. Cut vocabulary pictures apart individually. 

Show the cover of the book and point to the bees one by one and ask “What are all these?” Respond, “Yes, these are bees, and this book is about bees. It is called ‘Bees Everywhere’.”

Read the entire book page by page. Read it 2 or 3 times, either in one setting or over several days depending on ability levels, interest, and attention to task.

After multiple readings, use the vocabulary cards and have students match them to the page after you read it. Have them say the vocabulary word as they are matching them to the book page. 

On the next read, choral read the story with the student(s). Move your finger across the text pointing to each word as you read.

Read the page again, pausing before the last word (cloze procedure) allowing the student to say the word. 

Finally have the student(s) read or narrate independently. Encourage them to move their finger across each word of the text. This lets them understand that each group of letters, or word on the page, is the same as the word they are saying. 

For an added enrichment activity, 2 or more of each vocabulary picture is provided. Children could tell how the two pictures are the same and/or different. You could use verbal description of one picture and ask which picture you are describing.

Have fun. You and your students will love this very powerful preliteracy language strategy.


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