A step-by-step guide to teach perspective-taking and social inferencing using storybooks during your speech-language therapy sessions
As school-based speech-language pathologists, we have many students on our caseloads that need help with perspective-taking and social inferencing in speech therapy. Research shows that poor perspective-taking abilities can result in poor reading comprehension. I’ve also seen firsthand how difficulty with perspective-taking can cause students to misinterpret social situations, movies and videos, and to have a hard time with subjects like Social Studies and Drama.
Watch this video, or read on below, for a step-by-step guide on how to support your students' ability to infer thoughts and feelings, and take the perspectives of different storybook characters:
StoryWhys book companions are a great, low-prep way to teach your students about perspective-taking and the feelings vocabulary needed for this skill. You can find the materials to teach perspective-taking in both the both the comprehensive StoryWhys book companions, (which target many different language skills) as well as in the Spotlight Series book companions for Perspective-Taking and Social Inferencing.
STEP 1: Print out the Feel/Think/Say pages, the Thoughts & Feelings cutouts, and the Feelings Thermometers and cut out the Thoughts & Feelings images.
STEP 2: Each Feel/Think/Say graphic organizer is tailor-made for specific, important moments in the story. As you read the book with your students, pause on the pages that have a Feel/Think/Say graphic organizer associated with them. Relevant characters will be labeled, and dialog (if there is any) will be pre-filled in the speech bubbles. You can see the specific page in the book that the graphic organizer is designed for by looking at the page number on the left side of the diagram.
STEP 3: The first component to be completed on the Feel/Think/Say graphic organizer is character feelings. The Feelings Thermometers are a tool to help your students do this. The purpose of the Feelings Thermometers is to find the most precise emotion words that capture how each character is feeling. You can see that feelings are organized first by comfortable or uncomfortable. I’ve found that most kids have a pretty good sense of whether feelings are comfortable or uncomfortable. Then, using cues like events and dialog from the story, as well as any body language that is depicted, try to determine the category of emotion for the character, then fine-tune by the degree to which the character is feeling it. Keep in mind there are many potential correct answers here – the key is to have your students making logical inferences about character feelings, thinking about the degree or intensity of the feelings, and then choosing precise, higher-level vocabulary to describe these feelings. Once your students have determined the best words, write them in the characters’ feelings hearts on the Feel/Think/Say diagram.
STEP 4: You can then encourage your students to make a guess about what the characters are thinking. Again, there isn’t one correct answer here, but rather you can encourage your students to make a good guess, based on the character’s feelings and the events of the story. Depending on their literacy levels and your goals for them, you can either write their responses or have your students write in their own responses in the thought bubbles on the Feel/Think/Say diagram.
STEP 5: Finally, the Thoughts & Feelings cutouts are there to help explore character thoughts and feelings on pages that don’t have a designated Feel/Think/Say graphic organizer, but still have dynamics you want to emphasize with your students.
LEVEL UP YOUR SPEECH THERAPY ACTIVITIES WITH STORYWHYS
Subscribe below to get the latest blog posts, which feature lots of speech therapy ideas for busy SLPs who want to provide fun, impactful, and meaningful speech-language therapy.
Have you heard? StoryWhys now offers the Speech and Spell series of resources. I am always trying to tie articulation work and spelling together in my therapy and I've never found any good resources out there to help me do this. So I made my own! Many more speech sounds and spelling rules to come. They'll be 50% off for 48 hrs when new resources are added to the StoryWhys store. Find them here.
Did you know book companions can be among the best speech therapy materials for elementary students? Explore all of the StoryWhys book companions for speech therapy in my store. You'll find comprehensive book companions that target many different language skills or Spotlight Series book companions that focus on one type of skill, all using high-quality, beloved storybooks.
And get your FREE, 71-page book companion for speech therapy on the Special Offers page.