Why use math storybooks in speech therapy? Using picture books with mathematical content can be an effective way to engage students and explore math language in an entertaining context. Fortunately I’ve found several math storybooks for speech therapy that are perfect to use in sessions!
In several past posts, I’ve talked about the role of SLPs in developing math language skills and ways to collaborate with math teachers. Like many SLPs, my work with students concentrates on language-arts based skills with a low frequency of math language. But our students struggle not only in language arts, but math as well–especially word problems and concepts dealing with quantity and spatial relations. And don’t forget the expressive language component of explaining your answer.
Math Curse, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith provides a great opportunity to discuss how we are surrounded by math language. This book helps kids to see math concepts in real world contexts. After reading, I like to follow up with an activity that helps to intentionally build connections: have students write their own math curse story!
Another math storybook for speech therapy is Stanley’s Party. Although not a true “math story”, Stanley’s Party provides opportunities to generate questions with math language. This humorous story about a dog who has has too mush fun while his owner is away serves as a springboard for questions such as: If Stanley’s owners left at 8 o’clock and came home by midnight, how much time did he have for his party? If Stanley invited 5 dogs and each dog invited 5, how many dogs came to the party?
Counting on Frank tells the story of a curious little boy named Frank, who likes to ask questions, especially “what if”. This book provides an opportunity to use math language along with Frank, who uses math to answer his own questions.
One of my favorite math storybooks for speech therapy is Grapes of Math by Greg Tang. Essentially a math riddle book that encourages thinking outside the box because there are several ways to solve each riddle. It’s a great springboard for brainstorming and discussing the problem-solving process. I like to challenge students to identify the important information needed to solve the riddle.
Integrating math storybooks into speech therapy motivates students to use their language skills explore math concepts. Students also get to practice their language comprehension strategies (using context clues, making meaning when reading, etc.) in the context of another academic curriculum.