With any type of interactive books, there are several ways that they can be used to both teach and generalize vocabulary instruction within the middle schoolers’ school days. The following are some ideas of ways to increase the interactive nature of the books and generalize the vocabulary to the real world.
- The books can be part of the morning meeting or calendar time where the students are reading as a group. Students can take turn reading from the books, identifying the vocabulary, and finding the relevant pictures in the book. Books can be chosen or developed based on activities coming up in school, like a school dance (Out and About series) or assigning homework (At Home series).
- Whether reading in a group or individually, record a repeating phrase or pages from the book on their devices and students using speech generating devices (SGD) can use them to read individual pages or the phrase from the book to increase participation.
- Program the vocabulary words on the SGD and have a student use their device to name the vocabulary in the book (using symbols on the device to say the word when shown the picture in the book).
- Set up a scavenger hunt within the classroom or the school itself where items are scattered throughout the environment and the students have to find the items in the room that match the items in the book. For instance, when reading Jamilla Goes to the Football Game, after reviewing the book several times, the students could go on a scavenger hunt on a spirit day when the cheerleaders would be wearing their uniforms and the football players wearing their jerseys. They could go outside and find the stadium, locate the scoreboard, find pom poms, locate cheerleaders in the building, and so on. They could have a checklist to check off the items as they find them in the school and win a prize for whoever finds all the items. This type of activity could also be used as homework for the students.
- Books can be used as a way to prepare for classroom community outings, like Gregory Goes to the Mall before making a trip to the mall for holiday gifts for their family. Reviewing common vocabulary and activities within the book may help the students to use their language within the mall to talk about what they see.
- Students can also work on sequencing events in stories by using the pictures in an interactive book to put in order the story after they read it.
- Finally, you can always expand on the language in book to ask questions and encourage conversation. For instance, in Trina Goes to the Library, students can be encouraged to talk about what they do when they go to the library, what their favorite part of the library is, who they see at the library, and how the librarian may have helped them at the library.