Holiday Fun With The Gingerbread Man
After reading a book dozens of times, you tend to memorize the pages which makes it easy to adapt the language as needed. Below are some examples of how I manipulate this book according to my 'audience':
- For children working on semantics or using 2-3 word phrases - while the little old lady is making the gingerbread man, I focus on semantic pairs: "mix dough"; "roll dough" "cut dough"; "eyes on"; "buttons on", etc. This is easy to carry on throughout the book, and a multitude of nouns, verbs, modifiers, and other easily combinable words are presented.
- For AAC inclusion - If you have a BIGmac switch or similar, record the phrase "Run run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man." Every time it comes up in the book, let the children participate by pushing the button. Pay attention to how much support is needed for appropriate timing - is each child anticipating when it is time for the phrase? Is there improvement throughout the reading or across several readings? When using a tablet with an AAC app, I like to program in the subjects of the gingerbread man's encounters, his chant, and sometimes language for sequences (first, then, next, etc.).
- General language - As we go through the book (or even during a pre or post-discussion) I like to ask wh-questions about the story and pictures, as well as ones that connect to the children personally ("Do you like cookies?" "What is your favorite kind of cookie?" Have you ever made cookies?" "What ingredients do you think go into gingerbread cookies?" "What else have you helped make?"). I think this last element is important because there aren't any wrong answers.
- Phrasing - Negation is also presented opportunely with this story. The gingerbread man continuously says "you can't catch me". You can work on yes/no with predictions as you read "do you think the pig will eat him?" or in review of the story (did the little old lady eat the gingerbread man? No, she didn't). The particular book that I have weaves in passive phrasing ("...who was followed by the...") which I like to touch on for some children.
Below are a few of the follow up activities that I will be implementing into my sessions this year. In the three weeks between December 1st and the new year, I might read this book three times with a client or group and have a different follow up activity planned for each reading.
Play-dough - Yes, I am Captain Obvious! Recreate the making of the gingerbread man with some play-dough, a rolling pin, and a cookie cutter. You can work on flexible language and semantics by making other 'gingerbread' things, or men of other types. For example, I could make a 'gingerbread' man, a 'gingerbread' dolphin, a 'peanut butter' man, and a 'cake' man - and then see what delicious combinations the kids come up with.
Technology based activities - This great post from 2013 has links to all sorts of technology based activities for this story.
- This site has some free printable templates for gingerbread man crafting.
- Paper plate gingerbread people * found here.
- Gingerbread boys and girls?! * Found here.
- These would be easy to make with materials lying around the speech-language therapy room. They could be puppets for retell and play (maybe make one for each character), book marks, or what ever your imagination can muster. I would use the characters for children who really need multi-modal input and whole brain practice in order to retain or comprehend language in stories. For example, a child who struggles with passive phrasing may have more success if it is repeated while you act out the phrase with puppets like these.
- This would be easy to DIY with a magnetic fishing pole (from that fishing puzzle we all have) and some paperclips. You could be super efficient and make it interchangeable by paper clipping target words to the bottom of each gingerbread man as needed. The paperclips enable the pieces to be picked up by the magnet, and you can easily switch out the pictures *Found here.