Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Visualizing with Camilla Cream

Welcome to another edition of Wild About Books Wednesday! If you're new to the blog, each Wednesday I choose a book and discuss how it can be used in speech-language therapy. Also, if you're a fellow blogger please join the linky party! All you have to do is use the picture below and link up with a new or recent post about how you use a specific book in therapy.
Camilla Cream is one of my favorite characters! David Shannon's A Bad Case of Stripes is absolutely amazing! It chronicles the struggle of one little girl, Camilla Cream, who is afraid to be herself. She spends a great deal of time thinking about how to impress other people and often goes along with the crowd. She even forgoes her favorite food, lima beans, because no one else likes them. While this story has a wonderful message about finding oneself, the thing that stands out the most is Shannon's detailed illustrations - making it the perfect companion for teaching visualization.
Visualization is a reading comprehension strategy that is typically taught in the regular education classroom; I often hear teachers reminding students to "make a picture in your mind." It is a fantastic strategy, but for many students with language disorders it can be difficult to master. That's where we (SLPs) step in! We have to teach visualization, but in a therapeutic manner.

I always begin with a nice think aloud (another fantastic strategy, for another Wild Wednesday haha). I read the first page of A Bad Case of Stripes and I literally stop after each sentence and explain the picture I'm painting in my brain. Example: "Camilla Cream loved lima beans." then I would say... "I am making a picture of a little girl in my brain, she's sitting in front of a plate of lima beans and smiling because she loves lima beans." After my extensive modeling on the first page, my students begin to take the reins.

I pass out dry erase boards and equip each student with an arsenal of dry erase markers. We stop at frequent intervals so that each student can stop and sketch what they are seeing in their mind. We discuss their sketches and then we compare the pictures we made in our head to the pictures David Shannon illustrated (I don't show them the book's illustrations until after they talk about their own pictures). This is such a fun and engaging activity. I can't even tell you how much students love sketching and how much they love this story! It truly is perfect for introducing students to visualization! Camilla's transformation in this book is very alarming, as she wakes up one day covered in rainbow stripes (what a mental picture that makes) and quickly becomes unrecognizable as the story progresses. She becomes a brightly colored pill, sprouts roots and tails, and even melts into her bedroom! It's a wild journey.
Visualization can be challenging, but Camilla's story makes it fun!

Have you used this book in therapy? What are your ideas? Have a wild Wednesday!

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