Day 12: Opening Activity – Sharing a Story in the Morning Circle with the Child with Special Needs

This is a post out of the “31 DaDay 12- Opening Activity – Sharing a story in the morning circle with the child with special needsys of Morning Circles for the Child with Special Needs”.  You can find the main page for this series here.

The natural progression after introducing story-time is actually sharing a story in the morning circle. Even though you might be sharing additional stories/ books throughout the day, the story that is shared in the morning circle should be a special one.

I like to choose one or two stories/ books each month to use exclusively in the morning circle. One or two means that I retell or reread the same story each morning over a span of several weeks.

While this might seem mundane to you, it’s one of the most beneficial ways to engage your child in story. The first day, he might not show much interest. But, after several days of hearing the same verses or words or pattern of words, your child will start to anticipate certain parts. He may even participate in the actions or signs you use.

Ideas for sharing a story in the morning circle:

  • keep the storytelling or book-sharing short — it will be more powerful than forcing your child to listen to a long story in its entirety
  • select stories with a simple beginning, middle and end when starting off (you want success in the circle, not frustration)
  • use a visual story strip to sequence the story (an image representing the beginning, middle and end of the story; or, if it’s a cumulative story, an image representing each new part/ character, etc.)
  • select stories that incorporate action verbs (pull, push, etc.) and exaggerate the movements
  • select stories that reinforce theme/ monthly vocabulary
  • don’t ask questions (no testing of comprehension – storytelling in the circle is purely for the joy of literacy)
  • use ASL signs , PECS, AAC device to accompany the story
  • use one or two props (puppets, a scarf, etc.) — don’t overpower the story with props, however
  • occasionally, memorize a story and tell it from memory
  • encourage your child to hold the book (with the intention of teaching right-side up), and to turn the pages
  • some days, point to the words you are reading – exaggerating the pointing
  • intentionally leave out or change a predictable part of a story and watch for your child’s reaction
  • after you’ve introduced two stories in the span of a month, have your child choose which one he wants to hear today

How do you share stories in your morning circle?

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