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Cochlear Service Report - January 2024

Bringing Literacy to the Table using Books and Therapy

Bringing Literacy to the Table using Books and Therapy
Ashley Garber, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT
January 3, 2013
This article is sponsored by Cochlear Americas.
Editor’s Note: This text course is an edited transcript of a live webinar. Download supplemental course materials.


Donna Sorkin: Welcome everyone. We have had lots of interest in the issue of literacy and reading for children with cochlear implants, so this is a continuation of that interest from individuals from across the country. I am delighted to introduce our regular presenter today, Ashley Garber, who is a speech language pathologist and Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist (AVT). She is a private practitioner specializing in auditory-verbal therapy, and she has over 12 years of experience with children with hearing loss and adults with cochlear implants in a wide variety of settings. I am going to turn the floor over to Ashley at this time for our regular session.

Ashley Garber: Thank you, Donna. Our agenda is as follows: We will first talk about some precursors to literacy.  Then we will talk about preschoolers; how we can use books and other literacy tools for modeling strategies for parents, and how we can integrate auditory activities into book activities. We can talk also about some things that we can use instead of books.  We will follow a similar format for older children as we cover reading tracking, comprehension activities and some things we can use instead of books for that group.

Precursors to Literacy

We will start briefly with some precursors to literacy. I wanted to highlight a little bit of information about how books build language and language builds reading skills. Language comprehension involves an understanding of world knowledge, time and the sequence of events, causal relationships, the ability to make inferences and predict what may happen next. It also involves taking another's point of view - learning to see the world through someone else's eyes - vocabulary. These are all language skills. Through reading aloud to children, we are assisting them in building those language skills. As language grows, these skills, in turn, are going to perpetuate further to promote reading comprehension when children are reading for themselves. As we read to children, we help them grow their language ability, their knowledge of the world, their empathy skills and vocabulary.  Those skills will then build into their skills for their own use.


Let's talk about preschoolers. We can begin with children in the early intervention years, from birth to three, by using stories. This is a time when we really can model for parents how to share books themselves. Book sharing is one activity that we will talk about, as well as strategies for reading aloud to children. We will then follow with play, talk about how to reinforce concepts through using play activities and integrating auditory activities right into the text of the book. As I mentioned before, we will talk further about some materials that we can use instead of story books, such as wordless books, experience books and blank books.

Model for Parents

I think many parents come with some preconceived notions about reading. I am a somewhat-new parent with a one-year old. People will see me with books reading to him and ask, “When did you start reading with your baby?” For me, there was never a question: we started right away. But many parents are uncomfortable reading with very small children and do not know that it is an activity that they can or should do with an infant who is not able to hold the book, turn the pages or read for themselves. I think many believe that reading with their child is important only if it is coming towards the age when they will begin reading themselves. Through the opportunity we as professionals have to work with parents together in a therapy session, early intervention or a home visit, we can model for them.  It is something they pick up right away.

The other preconceived notion that parents may often have is, “If you are not going to listen, I'm not going to read.” When kids interrupt, ask questions and point to different pictures that are not on the page, some parents get frustrated.  The assumption is that reading is something done in a word-for-word manner, should be a very structured activity, and that everyone needs to sit quietly and pay attention at all times to the language on the page right in front of them. Sometimes it is presumed that a child must already understand all of the language that is available in a book before it is shared. Parents may think a storybook with big words and complicated vocabulary it is not appropriate to read to a small child.  Of course, there are guidelines for picking good books for kids of different ages, but we do not have to limit ourselves to specific vocabulary that a child knows at a given time.  By exposing them to vocabulary, we are assisting them in learning new words and new concepts. The place we want to start is with book sharing versus reading aloud for the very young child.

The first time that we introduce a child to a particular book, we can just share it with the child. I often find that the first time I pull out a new book with a young children, they want to grab the book and look at it on their own terms and turn the pages before they are willing to sit with any level of attention to reading aloud. You may let the child flip through and have a look before you start to direct the activity to any degree. Before we begin reading aloud, we can consider sharing the book with the child so that we are modeling some of these strategies for parents. For example, you might read the title of the book, and then, based on the pictures that are on the cover, guess what the book might be about. We can let the child control the pace, and we do not have to worry about reading the text or even looking at every page. Again, my one-year-old is not interested in every page. He has favorite pages and may flip quickly until we get there, but we can share for 10 minutes on one page if he is interested in what he sees there. He gets to control the pace of that activity.

From there, we go to describing pictures, talking about interesting details, pointing out different objects and talking about what objects we might have that are similar in our house. Try to avoid testing questions to see what he knows such as, “What is that? Where is a…? Do you know…?” Again, we are sharing the book, letting the child become interested and using vocabulary and language to interest the child at that point.

Think about making comments to encourage discussion. For example, “Oh look, the bear is playing with his toes.”  For a child that has language and is talking, we can perhaps encourage some comments related to the story that will allow them to narrate in their own fashion.  Using an animated voice will engage the child, of course. This is something with which parents may need a little bit of prodding, particularly those with deaf children as they are sometimes unsure about the audibility of their voice and their child’s language development. Using an animated voice is a leap for some parents, but having the child hear their voice is very beneficial.  As therapists, we can model for parents how to talk naturally and comment in an animated and engaging way.

We want to make connections between the new book and the child's experiences or other books that have been read. Once we have shared a book, it may be that the child is ready and willing to hear the book read word-for-word, depending on their age and their interest in the book. Maybe with a little bit of time, as they get older, they will be ready for reading aloud.

When we are thinking about modeling for parents, here are some of the read-aloud procedures we want to facilitate with parents. Again, use an animated voice to maintain the child's interest. We can emphasize through example that it is okay to stray from the text, to comment on pictures and entertain discussion or questions from the child. Again, the “if you are not going to listen, I'm not going to read” attitude does not have a place with children, because the child is listening. Just because they are straying from the text does not mean they are not listening. We want to model that by example for parents.

Let's think about helping parents to determine the best time of the day to read with their child. That can mean a couple of things.  First, what is the best time of day when the child is fresh and ready to listen and learn auditorily? What is the best time of day for reading versus book sharing?  I have noticed that if my son is in my lap with a book, he wants to be in charge of which book we are picking and how we look at it. But when he is in his high chair eating his lunch, he is very willing to let me read a longer book with more text and flip through the pages in a word-for-word order.  He is more ready to listen to a book that way because he is in a contained area, and he is happy to let me be in control at that time. You can discuss these kinds of things with the family and help them to figure out if that is the model for their child or if there is a different one that works better. We can play a role in helping parents choose story books that may be the most appropriate for their child based on auditory goals, language goals, interest levels and reading levels, including the parents' reading level as well. We can help be a bit of a librarian for parents and steer them in the right direction.

We want to emphasize the benefits of reading with the parents that we work with. We have to help them to know that a child is going to reap benefits from reading these stories, including knowledge of the mechanics of reading, building vocabulary and building world knowledge.  There is the pleasurable aspect of reading as well.  Then we can also encourage parents to engage in discussion within those read-aloud activities, and the reading comprehension skills which will, in turn, promote thinking skills, predicting and drawing conclusions.

Predictable Books

Here are some of the types of books that are out there as we are helping parents to choose. First we have predictable books: those that contain repetitive words and sentence patterns that children can begin to quote and read along with as they start to expect the appearance of certain words and phrases. The repetitive language helps children to anticipate what is going to happen. With our children that are early language learners, these will often be among the first phrases of the favorite books or songs, many of which have been incorporated into book form. Those catch phrases are favorites because the child can anticipate when they are going to happen. It is a predictable pattern.

There are, of course, the learning-to-read books that are phonics based or sight-word based within the context of a narrative and picture story. Then we have books that are more appropriate for read-aloud that often have complex language and slightly more advanced vocabulary paired with pictures. They have captivating stories that are interesting to listen to and perhaps expose a child to new concepts and world knowledge. I have put together some examples of books that are not our mainstream, classic therapy books.  Hopefully at least one of these books that I highlight for you today will be a new one you can look into so that it become a favorite of yours.

One book that offers a good language model is Joseph Had A Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. It tells the story of Joseph, who cuts down his overcoat into smaller and smaller pieces of clothing.  The language is repetitive and predictable, which is good for child this age.  This same author has published another predictable book called I Miss You Every Day that is worth adding to your library.

Biscuit is very popular series of learn-to-read books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli.  There are different levels in this series. The Level 1 story is appropriate for the youngest children in the learn-to-read stage. Biscuit Finds a Friend also uses repetitive language and the sight words that are repeated over and over again. This is a nice place to start if you are steering your parent towards a learn-to-read type of book for a slightly older child.

Then there are read-aloud books with more fanciful language and higher-level vocabulary that are more for listening to.  These are books that children will get into it and be able to retell the stories later on, we hope. One example is The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. The language structures and vocabulary are at a slightly higher level.  We want to be exposing our children to a level above where they are speaking so that we are pulling them forward with their language. Julia Donaldson has also written Room on the Broom, which is another great read-aloud story.  I would encourage you to take a look at her work.

Follow With Play

Once we have been modeling strategies for parents like reading aloud and book sharing, we can follow those book activities with play activities to integrate some of the auditory objectives that we are working towards in our sessions. Some of the different ways that you can do this would be to read each page, giving auditory input before showing the pictures. In other words, withhold the picture for a minute and give some interest to your voice, present auditory information, and then show the picture to the child so that they are hearing the auditory information first before seeing the picture. If you show the picture first, their attention is immediately drawn to the interesting pictures and not the text.  You can leave out information to probe for auditory closure skills or pause before a repetitive phrase to see if the child can pick up where you have left off or finish your sentence. That would be used after a book has been read a couple of times to see if they have picked up on some of the repetitive language.

Another favorite thing to do is to collect and create manipulatives that match the story characters or objects within the story so that you can act out a story as you play. Some of us are artistically inclined and like to color and cut and make stick puppets or figures of that nature. If you are not that person, check out They have some of the most popular read-aloud books where they have made little stuffed characters for all of the stories.  A cute one is The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. If you are in a classroom or have some sort of a classroom budget, that is a great place to go and spend some of those funds.

A tried-and-true favorite that I like to use is Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do You See? By Bill Martin, Jr. This is an example of how you can integrate auditory goals into a reading activity. One goal that I might use for this book is identifying one or two keywords embedded into a phrase. The color and animal in the phrases of this book are good keywords: brown bear, red bird, purple cat, et cetera. I have made color copies of the different pages in the book and cut those out. Then I use sticky tack and put them all over my therapy room: hide them under the table, on the ceiling, on different walls. Then as we are reading the story I will go one page at a time without showing the pictures. I have a pair of child binoculars or some really large crazy glasses that the child puts on and looks around the room to see if he can find the animal that I mentioned.  He gets to find the item that I have hidden around the room.  “Do you see the blue cat?”  Maybe you are focusing just on the word cat. Maybe you have colored different animals and you are looking at two items as key words. There are many ways you can modify this.   

Another example is a guessing game.  For this example, I suggest the book Where is Baby's Mommy? by Karen Katz. She has many books that are interesting to very young children.  Our objective might be to identify an object by a series of descriptors.  To make an activity from this book, you might make color copies of the different objects in this book.  Read the book together with the child, but do not let him peek while you look to see what is behind each flap.  Instead, describe what is behind the flap and let him choose from a set of pictures or objects. 

This is a standard identification type of activity, but you are describing rather than naming, and you are using the flap. You can then tuck the picture in behind the flap and close it up as you go along. You can expand that to an open-set auditory goal without using those pictured objects.  You can ask what the child thinks is behind the door instead of showing pictures.

Wordless Books

Instead of stories, what other literature, texts or artifacts can we use in our sessions instead of story books? One of the things I would like to encourage you to look at is wordless books. If we have only pictures as our guide, we can avoid the temptation to read every word on every page. There are many nice books out there that have beautiful illustrations but no text. This is an opportunity for us to modify a book for virtually any age group. We can go in any direction we want with the story with endless variations each time we open the book. Because there is no text, the pictures are very detailed. We can do lots of in-depth discussion if we only want to do a book-sharing activity. I find that these are also very useful for parents that either have poor reading skills or perhaps limited English skills. I know that is a topic that is heavy on a lot of people's minds. We are working with more and more families who do not speak English or speak limited English. This is a great tool because the books can be read in any language. Maybe you have to do your therapy in English or with the translator, but you can feel very comfortable that a family can use the techniques in their own language at home with those books.

A favorite wordless book of mine is called Deep in the Forest by Brinton Turkle. It is a “retelling” of the Goldilocks story.  I put "retelling" in quotes because there are no words in this book. Through pictures, the story develops with a few twists and different things that you can discuss each time you look at it.  Another series of wordless books are Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter by Gerda Muller. These are a favorite of mine and my son.  He will look and look and look at these books. Another series is Who, What, When, and Where by Leo Lionni. These books have slightly less story structure, but there is endless discussion and vocabulary that you can elaborate on. You could make-up a story to go along with the pictures.

Some others with very limited text are Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman and Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day, Pancakes for Breakfast and The Hunter and the Animals by Tomie DePaola, and A Boy, a Dog and a Frog by Mercer Mayer.  These books are structured in storytelling, but you can retell it with different details each time. Take a look for any of those because they offer endless varieties of things to do.

Blank Books

A blank book is very similar. You can use it in a limitless number of ways. If you go to a stationary store, you can pick up a book with no words, just blank paper.  You can also make one very easily by stapling paper together.  You can make your own stories while still emphasizing the mechanics of reading. You are going to turn the pages, mark the text with your finger, et cetera. The only difference is that there is nothing to follow along with, and there are no pictures. Perhaps you would use this in a short activity where you are looking for a child to be able to remember details from a story or repeat the story. With a blank book, those visually-oriented children are challenged to do that retelling from auditory memory rather than with picture cues, which we know our kids fall back on extensively. This is a challenge to them. You tell them a story with nothing and see if they can tell it back to you while flipping through the book. Of course, if you want to add a little something to that, use some sticky tack and photos or paper objects.  You can use this one book if you are somebody with limited space in your trunk. If you are traveling to different locations, you can use this book for a number of different stories or age groups, with a few additions of different material. The emphasis to the children is that a book is language, recorded. A book is words put down on paper.

Experience Books

Then there are experience books. I will direct you to another archived session called Using Experience Books to Promote Early Literacy with Marguerite Vasconcellos.  These are books that maybe a parent makes for the child based on things that the child has done. For that reason, they are a great tool because the subject of the book is always of interest to the child. It is all about him, so he will go to it often. Of course, as a therapist, you could make your own book that depicts the events in your life that may not be familiar to the child, but has a star familiar character. For example, pictures of you, the child’s therapist, doing different things such as taking an airplane, riding a horse or visiting a different place. That is something to consider as well.  The text can be modified depending on the age and the stage of the child. For a very young child, you might label pictures or put in short, typical phrases. For an older child you may use longer sentences and a higher level of vocabulary.

For babies, you might use what I call a “look book.”  You can help parents make some “look books” that include pictures of familiar objects, like things around the house or things that they use every day. Another book might include long-distance cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents that they do not see all the time, but you want to help them learn names. You can also use pictures of the baby doing lots of different things and having different experiences. You can spend a few minutes each session looking at the new pictures, talking about what you see with the baby and then having parents do the same. It is another modeling activity showing parents how they can use a tool like this for language and auditory expansion.  Take some opportunities to talk about vocabulary development and language expansion, following the child's lead. 

A great experience “look book” for our children with cochlear implants is one with pictures of people they know talking on the phone.  I have a book for my son with pictures of my Mom, his grandparents and his cousins, so when they call and they sing happy birthday on the phone or say hello to him, we can talk about who it is and put a name to a face or a voice that he hears on the phone. That is a nice activity for our young cochlear implant users who will be able to use the phone. 

Natural Literacy Artifacts

Let's also talk about some other natural literacy artifacts- other things that you can use besides books. There are many occurrences of text in our daily lives that we can use for similar therapy activities, but we often have to point these things out to parents.   This includes things like labels on toys, directions to games, calendar items or props that you might make or use for a pretend-play activity. You can make a sign for your ice cream shop, grocery lists or directions for the games that you play in your therapy sessions to point out how text help us in our daily lives. That is something that we want to model for children from the beginning.  It teaches that we read many things throughout the day. We can write out a daily schedule as well. That would be another good way to use text within our sessions.

Older Children

Let's talk a little bit now about older children.  As children get older and are learning to read themselves, our use of text can change a bit. Consider using a book or story as the central focus of every therapy activity: you can utilize key words from a book or a story that you are reading for listening games. For example, if you have a child that has a signing background, has good language and is reading well, but has lower auditory skills or is late implanted, you can pull out character names and use that for identification. You can do that in a straightforward manner, having them identify the name of the character that they hear, or you can use that to continue with another language objective. Maybe you are talking about emotions or other target vocabulary words.  You might have tasks or different characters pictured on the table and you can ask, “Who is the silliest?, “ Who is always angry?” In this way, they are listening for different auditory information but then they can look for the character from the book. There are a variety of ways to work on lower or higher level identification activities. Create vocabulary exercises from words in the book or words that parallel the theme in the book you’ve chosen.

Reading Tracking

You can have the older child read aloud to you and monitor his speech productions.  You might engage in reading tracking activities if you are targeting pattern perception or discrimination skills. You will do some side-by-side reading for this task. Reading tracking or side-by-side listening was originally described by DeFilipo and Scott (1978), as a way of focusing on speech reading skills while listening and tracking word-for-word how much a reader could follow along while a speaker was reading. In a modified side-by-side listening approach, you would be practicing patterning and segmental information with the listener reading along at the same time, tracking with a finger word-for-word. The listener does not focus on the reader’s lips.  The reader would pause on occasion to determine if the listener is on the correct word or at the right place, first starting with pausing in typical places such as the end of a sentence or at the end of a paragraph.  As the child gets better, you can pause in the middle of a sentence to make sure that they are hearing and tracking as you read.

To begin this task, you would want the listener to pre-read the passage and identify any unknown words or idiosyncratic spellings. For example, these days, this might include e-mail addresses or web sites. Make sure that a child knows that these addresses do not sounds like just one word; they sound like three or four. Multisyllabic words are likely challenging for a listener, so reading tracking is helpful in this way.   Read with a slow rate and a highly-inflected voice, and then increase the rate and normalize the inflection as the listener improves.  This is also one activity that you can do to work on patterning and discrimination with an inexperienced listener who is a good reader.

With your more experienced readers, it can be a similar type of reading-tracking activity where you read-aloud and then the listener answers questions related to the text.  Obviously, that would be a standard way to check their comprehension.  You can find other ways to increase and monitor comprehension with your reading as well. Perhaps you would have the listener act out a story sequence. Draw or create costumes for characters based on their personalities. That is a more abstract way of looking at comprehension of text. If you have read a story about two children, what might each child wear based on what they did in the story or how they behaved in the story? What might they look like? How might they act?

You can read book reviews online and then discuss who agrees or disagrees with the critic and why based on their own reading. You are looking for reading comprehension of whatever you are working on.  You can use different stories in a pull-out therapy session than what the child is working on in class, or you may be following up with something that the classroom teacher is doing to build on a certain concept.  These are activities that you could do to parallel and teach alongside with the teacher.

For older children, have them write their own ending to a story to highlight prediction skills. That is another great activity to look at auditory and reading comprehension of a story. Do you remember these choose-your-own-adventure stories? That dates me, I guess, but if you remember, The Cave of Time by Edward Packer was one of the popular ones.  The idea was that at each turn of the story the reader could choose a different path which would result in multiple different endings. There are many other titles in this genre; it seems to be that the newer ones are all about sports, but there are some others with broader topics out there. These give you some great opportunities to work on comprehension, character development and prediction skills.  When you get to a point where there is a choice, ask the child, “Do you want to go down the dark gloomy pathway or step out into the sunlight? Why are you making this choice? What do you think is going to happen in each case?”  Then the child proceeds on their adventure, and you can discuss the choice that they made and how it affected the story. That is a fun way to assess comprehension, character development and prediction skills.

If we want to do some work on retelling, we have to find ways to make that natural and fun.  Asking a child, “What was that story about?” is not always a favorite request. Think about why the child would need to retell the story.  Telling it to someone who did not just read it with them or to them is more natural, so think about ways that you might be able to do that. You could stage an interview or a talk show where the character in the book is the special guest, so they might have to tell their story or interesting facts or scenarios to the “host” of the show.  You could play bookstore, where the clerk in the store has to describe a book to a customer in order to sell the book.  They need to use their retelling skills to be able to tell what the story is about to their customer. A play or a puppet show might be something fun for a small group session. You could challenge a student to write a poem or a song or create a comic that tells a story in short form.

Again, this assumes all sorts of different levels of language, so some of these will work for some children and not for others. Some children just remember the details but do not have a sense of what really happened, whereas other children can tell you the main idea but do not remember the specifics of the story. Therefore, you are going to tailor your activity to that child’s particular need.

Here is a simple activity where you are going to describe a story for the child.  In this case they are just telling you something that they did over the weekend or on vacation, and you are going to write down what they say word-for-word. Then, as they read it back, they edit their own work. As appropriate, you can focus your attention on the beginning, middle and end using those features in a story for a story structure. That is a very simplistic activity, but one that hits a lot of points.

Instead of Stories

There are many things you can use instead of books for the older group. Magazines are popular these days with the younger teens.  Look for young-reader companions to the adult magazines, such as Teen People or Sports Illustrated for KidsSports Illustrated for Kids is a lower-reading level for a child, but it has the same topics and articles that you find in the adult Sports Illustrated magazine. There are also other more kid-friendly magazines like Ranger Rick, depending on the age of child you are working with.   Poetry is always something to remember.  Shel Silverstein has lots of fun jokes in his poems, and it is fun to work on rhyming and different vocabulary that way. Music is a popular media with children, so you can talk about music they want to download or artists they like.  Even our deaf students with implants are having fun with their MP3 players.  We can talk about song titles and things, but also the lyrics that come in the CD jackets or online. You can even use the music lyrics as poetry and have them listen to recognize the song.  Computer games, web sites, online articles and blogs are all easily available. If you have a short therapy session or limited time with your student, an advertisement is a great use of text that you can go all sorts of directions with. 

Wordless Books for Older Kids

Wordless books continue to be a nice tool even once children have reading skill because they can turn their attention to plot development, detail and predictions and they can still use these books even if they are not strong with decoding skills yet. That is a nice tool for an older child that is having some difficulty with those skills.  Some of my favorite wordless books are Flotsam, or Tuesday or Sector 7, all by David Weisner.  John Goodall has also published Paddy’s New Hat and others that are also good to use. One award winner is The Red Book by Barbara Lehman.  It is for kindergarteners to sixth graders. It is a great little book:  the child picks up one book where she sees a scene of a boy on a beach. Then the boy looks at a book and it is basically the book that the girl has, and then the two interact.  It is again for a slightly older child, but it does not have any text to bog them down if they are having trouble with decoding. Barbara Lehman also has Museum TripRainstorm, and Trainstop that are all great wordless books for the older child.

Graphic Novels

Another area to explore is graphic novels.  The latest thing for teens and tweens is today's comic strip.  You find them in the Japanese anime style, but there are also many classics such as Black BeautyHuckleberry Finn and Nancy Drew, depending on which direction you want to go.  You will want to screen them beforehand, because some of the themes in the animated books can get fairly mature.  But just as in comic strips, there is text as a thought bubble or a scene setter that tells us what is going to happen in the illustrations that follow.  This is not something that I have a lot of experience with, but I do know that they are quite popular. This can be a hook for the older child that is having difficulty with reading. The text is in more manageable chunks for the struggling reader.  It does not mean the language is any simpler, just more manageable for kids who may have confidence issues with reading longer, chapter books.  Finding something that the child is interested in is half of the battle.

Here are some recommended graphic novels.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is quite popular for ages 9 to 12. RedwallThe Graphic Novel by Brian Jaques is another for grades four and up.  You want to be careful to choose something appropriate in these kinds of books. Violence is sometimes included in these types of novels.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a novel cartoon, but others can be less comedic. 

Natural Literacy Artifacts

For the older child, calendars and day planners are something that they may actively be using, depending on the age of the child.  You can incorporate these into your therapy activities. Many of the older kids in mainstream classrooms that are pulled out for time in a self-contained classroom have a communication book between professionals. That is something that you can perhaps utilize in your therapy session. As the therapist, you emphasize, “I'm writing in this book so that your teacher knows what you did today.” Letting kids know how important text is to our everyday life is something that we want to point out. Other natural literacy artifacts include assignment books, homework logs, and instructions to the game you are going to play in therapy. I love to have children explain games to me so I can learn to play them.  We do that first without the instructions, but then we might pick them up and read them. “Stack the cards or shuffle the deck.  Tell me what that means exactly.” Those are great activities that you can launch from something like instructions to a game.

To close, I have one last must-have resource: The Read-aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (2006). He has a great discussion of rationale and guidelines for reading aloud. It is a fantastic book for a baby shower or for a therapist to have. It has a treasury of read-aloud books for all ages. You can also look for Hey! Listen to This and Read All About It! by Jim Trelease.  These books provide actual material to use in your therapy sessions.  Hey! Listen to This is for older children, and Read All About It! is for teens.  It includes newspaper articles and things like that. It is a treasury of appropriate materials for each different group that you can take a look at. 

We hope you enjoyed today’s session and were able to take away something new.  For more information about Cochlear Americas or other HOPE seminars, you can go to Thank you for your attention today.


De Filippo, C. L., & Scott, B. L. (1978). A method for training and evaluating the reception of ongoing speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 63, 1186-1192.

Trelease, J. (2006). The read-aloud handbook: Sixth edition. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Cite this content as:

Garber, A. (2013, January). Bringing literacy to the table using books and therapy. AudiologyOnline, Article #11427. Retrieved from


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ashley garber

Ashley Garber, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT

owns Listening and Language Connections, LLC,

Ashley S. Garber, MS CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert AVT owns Listening and Language Connections, LLC, a private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan dedicated to Auditory Verbal Therapy and family-centered aural habilitation services for children and adults with hearing impairment. She has over 12 years of experience in the field with time as a parent -infant therapist at the Bill Wilkerson Center in Nashville Tennessee and as a private therapist and in-class aide for a child with a cochlear implant in Valencia, Venezuela. She spent 4 years as the speech language pathologist at the University of Michigan Cochlear Implant Program specializing in assessment and habilitation services for the center’s pediatric recipients. She had been a consultant to the Cochlear Americas' HOPE program since 2004.

Related Courses

Classroom+ Learning Series: Nucleus Technology in the Classroom
Presented by Amy Donaldson, AuD, CCC-A
Course: #31775Level: Introductory1 Hour
Educational audiologists are asked to work with a wide range of technologies in the classroom, and technology for children with cochlear implants is changing fast. Please join us to review current Nucleus technology, discuss the selection and fitting of remote microphone technology for children with cochlear implants, and hear about the unique connectivity available for today’s Nucleus recipients.

Considerations in Treating Children with UHL/SSD
Presented by Samantha Anne, MD, MS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #37249Level: Introductory0.5 Hours
This course will provide clinicians with an overview of Unilateral Hearing Loss (UHL)/ Single-Sided Deafness (SSD) in pediatrics and provide an introduction to counseling and treatment.

Cochlear Case Studies: Pediatric Series #1 - Encouraging Consistent Device Use
Presented by Elizabeth Preston, AuD, CCC-A
Recorded Webinar
Course: #36449Level: Intermediate0.5 Hours
The Cochlear Case Studies series is designed to provide professionals with a deeper knowledge and insight about cochlear implants through the use of case studies. In this session, we will hear from Elizabeth Preston, AuD who will share a case and provide tips for encouraging consistent device use.

Cochlear Case Studies: Pediatric Series #2 - Candidacy
Presented by Kristin Gravel, AuD, CCC-A, PASC
Recorded Webinar
Course: #36450Level: Intermediate0.5 Hours
The Cochlear Case Studies series is designed to provide professionals with a deeper knowledge and insight about cochlear implants through the use of case studies. In this session, we will hear from Kristin Gravel, AuD who will share a case and provide information about candidacy for our youngest recipients.

Cochlear Case Studies: Pediatric Series #3 - Supporting Bimodal and Bilateral Device Use
Presented by Meghan Nemeth, AuD, CCC-A
Recorded Webinar
Course: #36451Level: Intermediate0.5 Hours
The Cochlear Case Studies series is designed to provide professionals with a deeper knowledge and insight about cochlear implants through the use of case studies. In this session, we will hear from Meghan Nemeth, AuD who will share a case and provide information about supporting bimodal and bilateral device use in young children.

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