I love to use great picture books when doing language therapy so I wanted to share a few that have been rich for teaching certain language goals for elementary aged kids.

Recently I was working with a fourth grader whose goals include being able to: summarize a portion of text read to her, re-tell relevant facts in order, compare and contrast concepts and vocabulary, predict what will happen, and answer age appropriate wh-questions.

I checked The Sea, the Storm and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry out of my public library. What a treasure that was for teaching language skills to an elementary aged child. She is also the author of The Great Kapok Tree. The story begins with a propagule seed floating to its new nesting area to start a mangrove tree. Each layer is described and beautifully illustrated with the creatures and foliage and its protective purpose for the animals. A hurricane disrupts the calm but illustrates the refuge that this mangrove tangle can be.

We took a long paper, placed it vertically and drew the different levels of the mangrove tree, the animals that lived there and the plants that provided refuge and food. We compared the different levels, animals and plants, before and after the storm in an exercise of comparison as well saw how the levels were linked through deep, tangled roots etc. We summarized sections after we read them aloud and offered three facts to back up our summary. We answered “Why? questions concerning the importance of certain structures and habitats.

I often try to link a book to today’s experiences so we looked on the internet for mangrove trees and found a site that explained the controversy surrounding cutting down the mangroves to make way for a shrimp farm, just as was mentioned in the book.