Rahaf Bizreh Speech and Language Therapist
Watching short, animated videos is an excellent way to work on a variety of speech and language skills while simultaneously keeping us engaged and motivated. Some ways these videos can be used to target goals include:
Main Idea: After watching the video, kids can identify the main idea, or the central point of the story. It can typically be stated in one sentence. In order to figure out the main idea, kids should answer the question, “What point is this movie trying to make?”
Summarizing: In order to summarize the movie, kids must identify the characters, setting (when and where the movie takes place), and the sequence of events. It also includes identification of the problem and how that problem was solved. When summarizing the movie, encourage your kids to use transition words, such as ‘first, next, then, last’ etc.
Predicting: While watching, frequently pause the video whenever a character is about to make a decision or a problem is introduced. Have kids make a prediction about what might happen next using the phrase, “I predict ______ because _____.”
Problem-Solving: Watch the video and identify the problem and the solution. Then, discuss other ways the problem could have been solved as well as the pros and cons of each solution. Then, have kids determine which solution they would have chosen and explain why that would be the best choice.
Grammar/Sentence Structures: Periodically pause the video and have kids create a sentence about what they’ve watched by using a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, so, etc.) or subordinating conjunction (although, until, unless, if, etc.). Another option is to have them come up with each of the following sentence types: declarative (statement), interrogative (question), exclamatory (exclamation!), and imperative (demand).
Making Inferences: Ask questions about the movie that require the kids to make an inference. In order to make inferences, kids use what they see and what they already know (background knowledge) as evidence for their answer, ‘why’ or ‘do you think?’ and the answer cannot be directly stated or observed in the movie.
Articulation: For kids who are practicing their sounds at the word level, go on an articulation word hunt! Whenever kids see an object in the video that contains their sound, they should write it down. For kids who are practicing at the sentence level, they make a sentence for each word that is written down, and kids who are practicing the sound at the conversation level can either summarize the video or tell their favorite part while keeping data on their productions.
Perspective-Taking: As kids watch the video, have them identify the thoughts and feelings of the characters. They should also explain the evidence that shows why the character feels that way using the following sentence frame: “I think (character) feels (emotion) because (evidence)”. Think about body language, facial expressions, and make connections to personal experience.
All of these videos are fantastic for practicing speech and language skills:
- Feast: the story of a man’s life as seen through the eyes of his best friend – his dog
- The Present: Jake spends all his time playing video games until his mom gives him a special present
- Paperman: an office worker uses paper airplanes to meet the girl of his dreams
- One Man Band: two musicians compete for a girl’s attention
- La Luna: a young boy goes out to sea with his father and grandfather
- Hair Love: a father learns to do his daughter’s hair
- Kit bull: a stray kitten and a pit bull experience friendship for the first time
- The Egyptian Pyramids: an archaeologist and his camel make an interesting discover
- For The Birds: a snooty flock of birds don’t want to share their roosting spot
- Coin Operated: a rocket ship-loving boy wants to make it to the moon
- Pip: a small dog has a big dream to become a guide dog
- Snack Attack: an old lady just wants to eat her cookies in peace at the train station
- ANY of the Simon’s Cat videos, such as: Let Me In, Hot Water, Fish Tank, and more!