November 10th, 2012 by

Building Speech & Language with Chopsticks {Amy Krouse Rosenthal Virtual Book Club}

It’s time for the Virtual Book Club for Kids! This month our author is Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This was a new author to me until last month and let me tell you, her books are AWESOME! We have read Duck! Rabbit!, The OK Book, Little Oink, and Chopsticks.

And I didn’t realize it, but she also is the author of the journal I used for BOTH of my children when I was pregnant with them: The Belly Book: A Nine-Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly. She writes not only children’s books, but books for us grown ups too! You can check out her website Who Is Amy to learn more about her.

If you are an SLP or an educator I HIGHLY recommend her books for targeting language, especially figurative language, idioms, irony and other non-literal language concepts because her books are FULL of these! For example, in the book Little Oink, the main character (Little Oink) is a little pig who hates doing messy things. Rather than being told to clean up, his parents nag at him to make a mess. This would be a wonderful book to target irony for those children who struggle with this concept.

And Chopsticks is no exception! This book is FULL of puns and idioms and would be excellent to target these skills as well. But I am getting ahead of myself…let’s get started!

Book Description

Meet chopsticks. They have been best friends…forever. They are joined at the hip. Until one day there was an accident and they had to learn to do things apart for a while. Full of multiple meanings (i.e. a whisk whisking) and figurative language, this book addresses how sometimes we need to do things alone (or away from our favorite people) and how that is OK.

What Skills Can You Target?

  • Figurative language and multiple meanings abound in this book! A few examples: “attached at the hip,” “Whisked away” (by a whisk),  “No one stirred, not even the spoon” and “stand on his own.” Like I mentioned above, all of the books I have read by this author so far would be fantastic to teach these higher level language skills in a FUN and entertaining way.
  • Vocabulary (aside from the figurative language and multiple meanings words) may include chopsticks, venture, stumped, unusual, apart vs together, fancy, culinary, etc.
  • The concept of together and apart. You can talk about things that we typically do alone and things we usually do with another person and then things we can do both ways. Great opportunities for language use.
  • You can use this book to talk to a child about the benefits of being away from their favorite person…like a best friend or even mom and dad. Maybe a child is sad because a friend will not be in the same class this year, or perhaps a friend is moving or going on an extended vacation. This book would be great for talking about all the positives in these situations.
  • As far as articulation, “ch” for chopsticks and the /ks/ blend at the end can be targeted with this book.
  • Storytelling/narration skills. You can make your own chopstick people (see below) and have your child retell the story or tell a whole NEW story using the chopsticks people.

Check out the Activity Guide from the author’s website HERE for coloring pages and more!

Make Your Own Chopstick People

We decided to make our OWN chopstick people because I just happened to have have a TON of chopsticks. My husband is {half} Chinese and we actually gave sets of chopsticks away for our wedding favors! We bought them while on a trip to Hong Kong a few months before our wedding and we ended up with quite a few extra sets.

I did this activity with my daughter but will be doing it later this week with some clients as well (I often do the fun activities I have planned with my clients with my daughter also. Since she doesn’t need speech therapy I tailor the activities for her learning level and work on things she is interested in.) And though we used REAL chopsticks, if you decide to do these with young children it might be a good idea to use Popsicle sticks instead as they are not pointy and generally safer. Also I used a hot glue gun to out these together so we could play with them immediately. You can alternatively use tacky craft glue so your children can put them together. It depends on your children’s ages and your goals for the activity. The craft itself can be used to work on speech and language skills (read my post HERE for information on making craft time language enriching) however this time I decided to spend more time with the product vs the process.

How To Make Your Chopstick People

  • Get yourself some chopsticks or some Popsicle sticks along with some felt, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and a hot glue gun.
  • Cut out some clothing out of felt for your Chopstick people. We did simple dresses for the girls and shirts and pants for the boys.
  • Use your glue gun to glue eyes near the top of the the chopstick. Then glue on the clothes, and then the arms (I used half a pipe cleaner).

How To Use the Chopstick People to Target Speech and Language Skills

  • Use the chopstick people to have your child retell the story. We went through the book and had our chopstick people reenact the book ;)
  • We had our chopstick people go “hang out” in different parts of the house….a little hide-and-seek game for the kids to find them and we talked about where we found them ad what they were doing there!
  • Have a little chipstick-people play! Have your children/students put on a short play. This can target storytelling, grammar, articulation, etc.

Our chopstick people also liked to party a little during nap time…

Have you done an awesome activity to go along with a Amy Krouse Rosenthal book? Link up below! We would LOVE to see!! Be sure to check out these other amazing blogs who are participating in the Virtual Book Club!
Toddler ApprovedRainy Day MumAdventures in Reading with Kids3 DinosaursRoyal BalooThe Educators’ Spin On ItInspiration LaboratoriesPleasantest Thing Edventures with Kids Two Big Two Little Playing With Words 365Kitchen Counter ChroniclesOutlaw MomMommy and Me Book ClubCrafty Moms ShareNo Twiddle TwaddleThe Good Long Road Ready. Set. Read 2 MeReading Confetti Mama SmilesJuggling with Kids- Mom to 2 Posh Lil DivasCreekside LearningCreative Family FunThe Usual MayhemTeach PreschoolPlayDrMomCraftoArtHere Come the GirlsBeing a Conscious ParentSmiling like SunshineCrayon FrecklesTrain Up a ChildSmile Play Learn

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