Have you ever asked a child about his or her day and were met with a blank stare and/or an “I don’t know?” Have you ever had a parent say to you, “I ask her what she did at school but she never tells me!” You are not alone!
In my practice, I have found that “personal narratives” (i.e. talking about events that have personally occurred) are so difficult for children. In order to discuss a personal narrative, children have to:
- Recall the details of what happened
- Recall the order of events that occurred
- Retrieve the language to tell us what happened
This is hard for children!
As a result, I created a “Today At School” resource that I use for all of my clients. I use this at the start of every session, whether the child is working on articulation, language or social communication. I have a few versions depending on the age of the child and/or the amount of support the child needs. For example, I might ask a 4-year-old what they made at school but would not ask this to a 7-year-old. I use sentence starters for a younger child (e.g. today I played with…) but have the actual question for an 8 year old (e.g. who did you play with?).
Here is an example of the type of resource I have created:
The resource asks children some variation of:
- What did you learn about?
- Did you make anything?
- What did you eat?
- Who did you play with?
- What did you do at recess?
- What was hard today?
- What did you do a good job at today?
- What are you excited for tomorrow?
Not only does this help with personal narratives but it also works on the following:
- Obtaining a language sample
- Obtaining a conversation sample for speech sounds
- Understanding social interactions at school
- Talking about future events (“what are you excited for?”)
- Learning about the child’s self awareness in terms of what is hard and what is easy for them
- Helping to build confidence by talking about what they did a good job with at school
Whenever I send this home with parents, I receive amazing feedback. Parents can’t believe how much information their child gave them about the school day. Do you have any similar tools that you use? What has helped your client’s with personal narratives?