Review: Rachel Cross, Headteacher, Cippenham Infant School
love about this book is the fact that it can be used to support children with or
without communication difficulties: this makes it fantastic to use with a range
of children, even including your average child as a model for those children in
a group who do have such difficulties. The book is aimed primarily at the Early
Years Foundation Stage children and staff, but all children will benefit as a
preparation for Key Stage 1 Literacy lessons, including story telling and
book has seven chapters covering:
structure and nature of story time
core aspects of language (very useful indeed for those who are non-specialists)
supportive strategies for developing children's language
framework for developing the words involved in the core stories
developing vocabulary from this point onwards - 3 levels (i) vocabulary
building, (ii) building sentences, (iii) sequencing and narrative. Also included
in this chapter are the Early Learning Goals covered within Stories for
the programme with parents and carers
make your assessments and keep appropriate records to show progress. There is a
very useful l education plan (IEP) included in this chapter
stories included in this book are
Eggs (topic: farm animals)
Goldilocks and the Three Bears (topic: things in our homes)
Line (topic: clothes)
Enormous Turnip (topic: family and pets/growing)
in the Jungle (topic: jungle animals)
story has a three-level development programme of language skills from
introducing vocabulary, sentence and phrase construction moving on to sequencing
and narrative. The work to be undertaken is written out in just the right amount
of detail to ensure that even the non-specialists can carry out this programme
but allows enough scope for individual interpretation. The plans are given
weekly for each level, broken over a two page spread into daily activities which
build on each other and including an appropriate parent/carer activity.
now had this book in use in my school for the last term I have seen first hand
the benefits of its easy to use style on the support assistant who has been
using it and on the group of children who have immensely enjoyed the sessions
and have begun to talk more about the stories and are starting to put together
more coherent, albeit short, sentences. The support assistant has been
instrumental in providing additional resources to ensure she and the children
get the most out of the activities, e.g. making a nearly full size washing
machine from a box. Many of the resources have been made with the children which
helps them to understand and become more involved with the stories.
details of courses run by the author, Rebecca Bergmann, click
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Nicky Middleton (2009)
This book is described as a programme to support the early
development of language through storytime and is mainly aimed at early years
practitioners, although childminders, parents and carers could use it as well.
It starts by explaining the difficulties some children face if they have
delayed language development, even with something as simple as enjoying a story
at storytime. The author, a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, sets out
very clearly the different aspects of language and how best to teach a child to
understand simple instructions; for example; how an adult can phrase a sentence
more simply. She explains how to look for key verbs, nouns and concepts within
popular children’s stories and how to present them in a way that any child can
The information is set out in an easy to read format, with tables detailing
various activities for presenting stories. Comprehensive weekly plans are given
for five different well-known stories, which start by building basic vocabulary
and eventually lead to the children making up stories of their own.
The book contains photocopiable resources for use as visual aids to support
the children’s learning, illustrated by Kate Wood, a Speech and Language
Therapist. All other necessary resources are listed and mostly consist of easily
available items, such as toy animals or play food.
I found the book easy to understand and the instructions were all very clear.
It is an excellent resource for use in any early years setting and I would
recommend this book to anyone caring for a child with delayed language.
I give the book a score of 10 out of 10.
£18.50 FREE postage
Reviewed by Janet Morrison, SLT,
Derbyshire County PCT in
the Royal College of
Speech and Language Therapists Bulletin 2009
book turns around story time for young children with language difficulties. It
takes what can be a confusing activity and turns it into a way of supporting
for Talking is a structured language
programme that uses familiar children’s stories (eg, Dora’s Eggs) as the basis
for a series of activities.
each story there are three levels: teaching vocabulary, building sentences and
developing sequencing and narrative skills.
Repetition is one of the key themes running through the programme, and the same
story is used every day for a week, with detailed plans setting out activities
for each day at the different levels.
book provides photocopiable resources and there are also suggestions for other
activities to meet Early Years Foundation Stage goals using the stories.
at Early Years practitioners, the book does not assume detailed knowledge of
language development or language difficulties.
introductory sections give some background information and the rationale for the
programme in a very accessible style.
activities are geared primarily towards children with delayed language
development, although the author also recommends it for children with other
practical, easy to follow book would be a very useful addition to the resources
of many Early Years settings.
£18.50 FREE postage
Reviewed by Anne Fowlie, Inclusion Consultant in
Support for Learning, Vol 24, No 2, 2009
Stories for Talking is a ‘must-have’ book. Following the
recent highlighting by the Bercow Report (DCSF, 2008) of significant numbers
of children in England with speech, language and communication needs, this
book is particularly timely. Rebecca Bergman, a specialist speech and
language therapist, has designed the contents of this book to support all
children, with or without communication difficulties, in their language
development and within a structured format that can be easily implemented.
The approach is based on the normal routine of story time, using existing
staffing structures and classroom/nursery group routines. Partnership with
parents and carers is also part of the programme.
The seven succinct and informative chapters cover: the
timing and structure of story time; what are the important aspects of story
time; a framework for developing language; the key components of developing
language; delivering a staged development of language skills; sharing the
process with parents and carers; and finally, assessment and record keeping,
together with a sample individual education plan (IEP). This first part of
the book only accounts for one quarter of the content but, at the same time,
provides the reader with all the information needed to deliver the programme
effectively. Also listed are the Early Learning Goals covered by
this approach to story time.
The remainder of the book is devoted to a wealth of
photocopiable line picture resources developed around each of five popular
stories. These resources can be reproduced, coloured, laminated and used in
a variety of ways. In addition, for each story there is a three-level
development programme of language skills from vocabulary building, through
sentence construction and on to sequencing and narrative, mapped out in
detail. Finally, for each story there is a list of opportunities to
generalise these language skills within the Early Years Foundation Stage.
When I was a teacher in a language unit, I would have found this book
invaluable. It provides the reader with all the resources, information and
guidance needed to develop language skills through story time, within the
one volume. I have no doubt this book will be well used by anyone who
For details of courses run by the author, Rebecca Bergmann,
£18.50 FREE postage
Reviewed by Hilary Lowne, Independent Speech &
Language Therapist in Afasic News, Autumn, 2009
This is an excellent
resource to use with all children in the Foundation Stage to help their
attention and listening skills, understanding, using key vocabulary, putting
sentences together and interacting with others. It can be easily implemented
by teachers, teaching assistants, nursery nurses and parents/carers wanting
to help children's receptive and expressive language skills through story
time and other suggested activities.
The first part of the book provides information on the core
aspects of language, strategies to support development, which words to
target in sessions, identifying the level of ability and measuring progress.
There is reference to target setting and a sample IEP is included.
The second part is
the very structured 'Stories for Talking' approach which breaks language
learning into 3 levels and relates these to specific stories:
Level 1 - vocabulary
Level 2 - sentence
Level 3 - sequencing
Five stories are
included with good photocopiable resources. Each story has a weekly plan for
each level giving the resources needed and the specific activities to follow
for each day. Follow-up activities can be sent home. Suggestions are also
given at the end of each story on how to consolidate the relevant
vocabulary, concepts and language skills within the EYFS.
then adapt other stories in a similar way differentiating into the various
levels according to the needs of their children.
For details of
courses run by the author, Rebecca Bergmann, click
Speech and Language