Let me introduce you to your new favorite book for reading with a child using an AAC device. Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop written by Todd Tuell is a packed with core words and a fun story. When I first found the book I thought it might appeal to active boys, but it didn’t strike me as an overly useful book. I was so wrong.
Ninja, Ninja is about a little boy who is pretending to be a Ninja. He slinks around his house, hiding under, behind, and above furniture. He makes himself short and tall, fast and slow, quiet and loud. (See where I am going here… so many strong core words! The opportunities for using prepositions are endless.) He karate chops his brother’s balloon (which causes his brother to cry – He feels sad), and knocks over his brother’s blocks. (Joey immediately said “messy” on that page.)
Finally his brother hides from him in a leaf pile, jumps out and surprises him. Then the boys join forces and multiply their ninja talents. It’s predictable, simple, and silly, but oh so perfect.
On our first read Joey was able to tell me what he saw in the pictures. I could ask “Where is the ninja?” or “What do you see?” and Joey could use his device to tell me the ninja was under the couch, behind the chair, on the bookshelf, etc. He could predict what was hiding in the leaf pile (he said pigeon), and we could talk about how the characters feel throughout the story. We could even count the ninjas.
Once Joey was familiar with the book he could help me read it with his device, helping me with Ninja, tall, short, under, hide, stop, and all the prepositions out there. It is a fun story that’s simple text allows for strong engagement.
Now if only I had a ninja doll and doll house furniture so we could act out the story in real life. Then again, maybe the Elf on the Shelf isn’t that different from that sneaky ninja.
*** In regards to last week’s post about Joey’s language plateau, Joey is back on target. Immediately after I wrote that post he went back to using 29 or 30 words in a ten minute block. I am still sure if it was a problem with his device, or because he was tired or was experiencing a developmental shift (or if my lessons weren’t engaging.) Hopefully his upward pattern will continue this winter. Stay tuned.