Language Fun Story Time is back!
LFST is an adaptive story time for children with speech language challenges. To quote a VPL report,
For children with speech and language difficulties, attending regular Library Storytimes can be frustrating and overwhelming.
The pacing of the programs can be too fast for these kids and sometimes the children and their caregivers can feel uncomfortable in a large group when the child’s development is not typical. So to accommodate these children’s learning needs, a Vancouver Public Library children’s librarian and Vancouver Coastal Health speech language pathologist came together to create a unique program, Language Fun Storytime, for children who have speech and language difficulties regardless of any other diagnoses.
LFST participants are referred by their SLP, and the groups are kept small, typically with around 8-10 kids. Each week for 8-10 weeks, we explore one story three ways – as a picture book read-aloud, as a felt story, and with realia. The sessions are supportive and interactive, with every child encouraged to participate to the best of their individual abilities.
Each LFST kit contains a picture book, multiple smaller copies of the same book for participants to take home, handouts for families with extension activities, a felt story, puppets or toys, and usually a stamp.
Every week participants are sent home with a copy of the week’s book, which they exchange the following week for the next story, allowing families to practice what they learn at LFST.
We start the program with a simple hello song, (Hello, friends!), which gives us a chance to practice everyone’s names, and helps the group connect. We then sing Roly Poly, as it’s fun, repetitive, and introduces great vocabulary.
Then it’s time to explore the week’s story.
We first read the story together, much as we would in a traditional story time. With LFST, it’s particularly important to be mindful of your speed when reading aloud, as the children benefit from a much slower pace.
We then reenact the story using felt characters. Each child is given a chance to place the felt pieces on the board as the SLP elicits speech.
Finally, we retell the story using stuffed animals, again giving each child an opportunity to participate in the retelling.
The program really emphasizes repetition, which is beneficial for all children, but particularly those with speech and language challenges.
Once we’ve finished telling the story, it’s time for a snack break! Even the snack portion of LFST is designed to help children build language skills. Children are asked which colour of plate and cup they want, and which healthy snacks they’d like. Expected outcomes are adapted to each child’s individual level, from full sentences to single mumbled words, and the atmosphere is always kept positive and supportive.
Snack time is also an opportunity for parents to connect with each other or ask the librarian and SLP questions.
We finish the hour-long session with a goodbye song, and of course, a stamp!
There really aren’t words to describe how incredibly meaningful and rewarding it is to participate in a program like this. Every week, you actually get to see the difference you’re making in a family’s life. Several of the children in this session were in my previous session, and it’s wonderful to see how much they’ve grown!
We’re known to get a little silly at LFST, too… 🙂