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Mixed Language Groups Are Tough! A Solution for Elementary SLPs

Updated: Feb 21

Literature-based language therapy with the StoryWhys Book Companion System can help to get your upper elementary language groups on track

As an elementary school-based speech-language pathologist, mixed language groups have gone something like this in my experience:

I group Student A and Student B together on the schedule because they’re in the same grade and have similar language goals on their IEPs.

But because Student A and Student B have different group mandates, I have to see Student A with Student C, and Student B with Student D and Student E later in the week.

I’ll get something good going in therapy for the AB group, and something else going for the AC and BDE groups. But then Student A goes on a field trip one day, and Student B misses the following week due to illness.

A couple weeks later, I have to see these students in completely different groups so that I can do make-ups for sessions I missed due to a conference I had to attend.

Or an assembly wiped out a whole morning of therapy sessions...


Does this sound familiar at all?

How can we plan for all these scenarios without spending all of our time planning?!

Students in a mixed language group in speech therapy

There are so many reasons our schedules go off the rails. This feels especially true for mixed language therapy groups. By around November of each school year, all of my hopes and dreams for cohesive, targeted therapy are being replaced by reactive, by-the-seat-of-my-pants activities which, truthfully, can be hit-or-miss.

This is also made so much harder by our limited planning time.

As elementary school-based SLPs, we want to do a great job for our students. It’s why we went to school and got graduate degrees in the first place!

But it can feel as though we are set up to fail.

Necessity was truly the mother of invention for StoryWhys. I had to come up with a system that thoroughly addressed all of my students’ language goals, that could withstand schedule disruptions, that required little-to-no planning time, and, most importantly, was effective and fun for my students (and me!)

Years later, I have now developed, trialed, and fine-tuned the research-based StoryWhys book companion system. It is designed so you can pick one book every three-to-four weeks, and work on all of your students’ language goals with literature-based language intervention.

No matter what your mixed language groups throw at you.

Student A missed a day? With StoryWhys, she can jump right back in the next time.

Student B has already heard this portion of the book? StoryWhys books are entertaining enough that he’ll enjoy reviewing what has happened so far while his peers can catch up.

Student C and D have different language goals? They can work on two different skills from the same section of the story.

Student E’s teacher needs them to work on information in the classroom curriculum? The StoryWhys visuals can be used with every kind of information (this video shows you how to use the StoryWhys graphic organizers for many different skills), so your students can keep working on the underlying language skills they need in order to work with all types of information – from stories to class curriculum to any preferred topics your students may have.

Now, my therapy for mixed language groups has become something I can really feel proud of.

If you’re looking to get a handle on your language therapy for your upper elementary students, I hope you’ll give StoryWhys a try!

Please try a FREE StoryWhys book companion or explore my TpT store.

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