Thursday, March 01, 2007

Presenting Prepositions: Weeks Three and Four

I thought Pamela loved the highway stories as an introduction to prepositions, but she flipped when I wrote stories about characters in There's a Wocket in My Pocket. I snapped pictures of pages from the book and put the digitized images in her speech therapy stories. In Week Three, I introduced the article the in both the subject and a prepositional phrase of a sentence. The following week, Pamela learned where the can go in questions. I sharpened our focus upon several prepositions: in, on, under, near, around, and between.

These stories pleased her so much, Pamela could hardly look at the pages until she recovered from her excitement. Doing speech therapy was easy because she was eager to practice syntax revolving around another favorite topic. Switching topics from one interest to another allowed her to generalize the syntax of prepositions. The spoonful of sugar approach is one of the secret ingredients to her success!


Leigh Ann said...

I have a question for you if you don't mind. I was looking over some of your past posts through links that you posted. Would you describe the way that you are teaching language as more in line with the Charlotte Mason method of teaching syntax, etc. as opposaed to the teach me language method?

By the way, Daniel has just discovered the wonderful world of Dr. Suess. I never realized how much Daniel loves words and the way they sound. He was absolutely smitten with "Fox in Socks". I had to reaf it to him several times a day. I borrowed a cd from the library that had "Green Eggs and Ham" along with other "servings" of Dr. Suess. He fell in love with "Green Eggs and Ham" from the first moment he heard it. We had a guy measuring for tile today and Daniel went up to him and asked, "Do you like Sam-I-Am?". "Do you like" questions are one of the staples of his conversation. Anyway, I think he can probably quote most of the "Green Eggs" book and the "Fox in Socks" book. When I start reading them to him, he sometimes has to run off and start jumping on his trampoline. It must be from sheer joy. To bad we don't all approach the simple pleasures of life that way.
Thank you for all the information that you are posting and sharing. I feel I am drowning sometimes and don't know where to begin. So it is so nice to be able to glean from the journey of others.

walking said...

It is definitely not related to Teach Me Language! TML assumes children can memorize syntax with enough visual input and auditory drilling. That is probably true for kids who do not have aphasia on top of autism. However, Pamela needs a much more sensory approach: syntax must flow through her eyes, ears, and hands for her to learn it. TML jumps around from one kind of syntax to another; Pamela's syntax is so disordered, she needs to learn it in a highly structured manner. TML goes too fast and furious for Pamela's needs.

The approach to teaching language we use is the association method as explained in Teaching Language Deficient Children. I did make some modifications to the program:

(1) Pamela can read fifth-grade-level books silently. She is reading a seventh-grade-level book aloud to me (The Endless Steppe). Her ability to read and articulate is much higher than her ability to put together her own words in a meaningful fashion. So, I did not use any of the Northhampton symbols for teaching phonics and the cross-drills for teaching new words.

(2) When I thought hard about some of the terms used in the book, I realized most of the steps were just like Charlotte Mason:

* "Reading step" (page 74) is reading (both aloud and silently).

* "Oral recall" (page 75) is oral narration.

* "Writing" (page 76) is copywork.

* "Written recall (page 76) is written narration.

* "Dictation" (page 76) is dictation.

* "Development for memory of sequence in stories" (page 86) is recitation.

(3) I found two steps (page 76) in the manual to be too laborious, and Pamela can learn without them: Auditory-visual/Lipreading and Auditory training/Acoustic step.

So, the association method is very much like Charlotte Mason with some exceptions. This manual is for children with severe language disorders and not for children with a couple of articulation errors here and there.

(1) Living books are not discussed nor emphasized. We do read books from Year 5 and 6 of Ambleside Online to practice oral narration, auditory processing (for the books I still read to her), silent reading, and her reading aloud.

(2) The language used in stories is highly controlled! The assumption is that these children do not "pick up" syntax on their own. They need to focus on one tiny piece of English syntax at a time. In our speech therapy time, the stories I write are for the purpose of illustrating the syntax for that week. Pamela cannot learn new syntax unless it sits in a color-coded, vocabulary-deprived story.

(3) Pamela does language arts from living books in addition to speech therapy. Right now, her copywork is from The Hobbit. She performs copywork, studied dictation, and recitation from poetry, the Bible, and common prayers. I write grammar and spelling lessons for any errors she makes in studied dictation.

Pamela has always loved Dr. Seuss too! You can see her dreamy expression in Seussland at Universal Studios. Seeing Seuss books in three-dimensions gave her the sheer joy you see in Daniel when he recites Seuss books while jumping on his trampoline.

Leigh Ann, take care! The big thing is to start working on daily habits and play around with different autism tools until you find what things help Daniel move forward and what things do not. It sounds like he is off to a great start!