This is the second in our series of posts with quick and hopefully simple ideas for you to try this weekend. We all know that life gets busy and although we all have the best intentions of helping with home work and practising targets, it can be really hard to find the time, get everything ready and to then catch your child in the right mood to do the work. So we have decided to write these posts to help you save time and get work done!
In our first post we gave you some ideas about vocabulary. You can read that post here. Today I am going to write about retelling stories or events. We use our language in a number of ways: asking and answering questions, commenting, giving and following instructions – to name a few. Another important skill we need to learn is how to retell events or stories. This involves us remembering what happened, and the order, getting the right words and making a coherent sentence! It is actually quite complicated. It is something that many children, not just those with language difficulties, have problems with.
What you need:-
- Your child/ the children you are working with
- Your phone/ camera
You can choose the activity this week! If you happen to be going somewhere, then great you can use that. If you just go for a walk or play in the park that’s fine. With the weather this week, you may be making snowmen! Even if you stay at home and do some house work – any activity will work. The idea is that you take pictures of your child completing an activity.
Now for younger children, you may only want to take 3 or 4 pictures. So one at the start, one in the middle and one at the end. Keep it simple. For older children you can take more to make the task a bit trickier. If your older child is a budding photographer, they could take the pictures! The idea is that afterwards, you can look back at the pictures on your phone and talk about them.
If your child is just starting to use and link words, encourage them to look at the pictures and say whats happening. It’s OK if you have to say it first until they get the idea. As an example I am going to use going down a slide. For the first picture you could say, “climbing up”, then maybe your next picture is “getting ready” or “sitting down” and then the last picture could be “weeeee!” or “sliding down”.
In this way you are using the pictures to help them remember and modelling the language they need to use. You can repeat this activity as many times as you like! Most children like looking back at things they have done in photos, so it gives you more opportunities to practise using the language.
If your child is starting to use short sentences to talk about the pictures, you can introduce the time words, first – next – last to their descriptions. Again you will need to show them how to do this first e.g. “look, first you climbed up the ladder, next you sat down and then last you slid all the way down. This is an important step and teaches that the order of events is important!
If your child is already using simple sentences, try to get them add some descriptive words to make their sentences more interesting. See if they can add an adjective (these are words which describe a noun/person or thing such as red, crunchy or tall). Alternatively you could add an adverb (these are words that describe a verb such as carefully or quickly). Children typically find these quite hard – try giving them some examples or ask questions to prompt them (what does it look like? what does it feel like? etc.) Also, if needed, talk about where in the sentence the adjectives and adverbs go. For example, we say “you went down the big slide” not “you went down the slide big”.
At this level, see if your child can give several sentences for each picture. Here you want to see if they can really describe every aspect. Use questions to help. For example, what does it feel like? How did you feel? What did dad say? etc. After you have chatted together about each picture see if they can tell the whole thing back like a story. For example, “it was a cold but sunny day. We set off for the park quite early in the morning, so we were the first ones there. It was one of the tallest slides I have ever seen. I headed straight for it and climbed eagerly up to the top step. It was really high up. I sat down and felt a little anxious but excited. Then I pushed myself off and before I knew it, I was at the bottom. I went so fast that I shot off the end! I ran straight back up to have another go”. It is unlikely that your child will be able to come up with anything as detailed as this. It is just an example to show you how much language it is possible to get out of a few simple pictures of going down a slide!
Enjoy trying this activity with your child this weekend. Then come into our Facebook group and let us know how you got on.