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Beyond Brown Bear: Choosing books and songs to facilitate early vocabulary development

Susan Hendler Lederer, Ph.D. Rachel Arntson, M.S.

The first 50 words: Assessment

Communication Development Index (CDI; Fenson, et al., 1993) Language Development Survey (LDS; Rescorla, 1989) Parent diaries

How to sort data?

Relational ­ substantive Nelson (1973)

Nominal, action, locative, modifier, personal/social, function

Bloom & Lahey (1978)

Existence, non-existence, rejection, denial, recurrence, locative action, possession, action, attribution


How to choose new targets?

Categorical Developmental (Fenson et al., 1994; Rescorla, Alley, & Christine, 2001) Phonological Functional Motivational Iconic Comprehension? Polar opposites? What parents are not teaching!

My faves (Lederer, 2002; 2007)

Words meet at least two of the three criteria

Word mastered by 50% of all NL children by 20 mos (Fenson et al., 1994) Word mastered by at least 80% of LN children at 2 (Rescorla et al., 2001) Word mastered by 80% of children with LD by 3 (Rescorla et al., 2001)

My faves: Substantive

Apple, cookie, banana, juice Dog, cat, duck, cow, bird + animal sounds (16-17 mo) Car, ball, book + bubbles (18 mo) & bus (22 mo) Daddy, mommy, baby


My faves: Relational

Greetings: hi, bye Attributes: hot + wet (21), big (21), & dirty (19) Actions: eat, go (B & L loc action), open, kiss, hug + give me (22) & wash (22) Locatives: up, out, off + in (22) & down (17) Possession: mine, me Nonexistence: all gone, no more, + all done Rejection/denial: no

How to facilitate: Focused stimulation

Paul (2006); Weismer & Robertson (2006) Vs. indirect or general language stimulation Model 5-10 times Without evoked response With evoked response (milieu teaching)



Emergent literacy skills


Stay tuned!


How to select books?

Target (s) modeled multiple (5-10) times Repetitive phrases with target Interactive (evoke a response)

Target: Duck

Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.

Red bird, red bird, what do you see? I see a yellow duck looking at me. Yellow duck, yellow duck, what do you see? I see a ....

Five Little Ducks by Raffi Target: DUCK

Five little ducks went out one day Over the hills and far away Mommy duck said "quack, quack, quack, quack" But only four little ducks came back...


Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley Target: IN

Oh lovely (dirty) mud said the cow And she jumped in it Oh lovely mud said the pig And she rolled in it Oh lovely mud said the duck And she paddled it in Along came Mrs. the tub you go In went to went the went the duck...

I Can Do That by Dr. Suzy Lederer Target: EAT

I CAN DO THAT This is a boy A boy loves to eat Let's pretend to eat a treat EAT, EAT, EAT... A girl loves to drink A boy loves to eat Let's drink. DRINK. Let's eat. EAT. Did you do that? Neat!

Dr. Suzy Lederer

Where's Spot by Eric Hill

That Spot. He hasn't eaten his supper. Where can he be? Is he in the piano? No! Is he under the rug? No! Is he behind the door? No!


The Benefits of Using Music for Early Vocabulary Development

What does research teach us? Marketing jingles ­ Music sticks in our brain

Story of Afolarin

Vocabulary ­ Music helps retention Active/Passive ­ Music increases active participation Emotions ­ Music moves us "Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without" Confucius There is NOTHING like music to create repetition without BOREDOM!

Additional Benefits of Using Music in a Focused Language Stimulation Approach

Frequent repetition. (chains of three)

Interludes of CV practice and sound effects

Exaggerated and extended sounds and words. Slower rate. Songs that invite participation. (Your turn) Combining music and movement. Natural "musical tone" of words and phrases. Using musical tunes or rhythmic raps. Putting songs into books and books into songs. Let's try a song: "Baby Blowing Bubbles"

The Spontaneous Song All Day Long! Creating your own songs throughout the day

"Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music." Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

Putting music in a child's daily routines should be encouraged. Tunes that are helpful for repetition ­ Be creative

Military Chants Universal Chant/Universal Rhythm Shortnin' Bread Skip to My Lou Are You Sleeping? Yes, even the Hallelujah Chorus Rock and Roll ­ She Loves You


Songs using a Focused Language Stimulation approach to nurture early vocabulary development Animals ­

Puppy, Puppy, Puppy

Toys, People, and Locatives

Baby Blowing Bubbles

Toys Do You See the_____ (Muffin Man) Ball, Ball, Ball La Bamba ­ (Re-written as "La bomba" ­ The Balloon)

Greetings ­

Bye Song Hi

Actions ­

Go Bebo mas

Non-existance ­

All Done

Adding music or rhythm to existing books

Add sound effects or consonant-vowels to some stories. Repeat the focused words using melody, rhythm, or movement. Adapting books to become more rhythmic and as a result, more predictable and repetitive.

Selected references: Books

Bloom, L., & Lahey, M. (1978). Language development and language disorders. New York: Wiley. Fenson, L., Dale, P., Reznick, J., Bates, E., Thal, D., & Pethick, J. (1994). Variability in early communication development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59(5, #242). Fenson, L., Dale, P., Reznick, J., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J., Pethcik, S., & Reilly, J. (1993).Guide and technical manual for the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing. Lederer, S.H. (2007). First words: From theory to therapy. Posted 10/22/07 Lederer, S.H. (2002). Selecting and facilitating the first vocabulary for children with developmental language delays: A focused stimulation approach. Young Exceptional Children, 6(1), 10-17.


Selected references: Books

Nelson, K. (1973). Structure and strategy in learning to talk. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 38(1-2, Serial No. 149). Paul, R. (2006). Language disorders from infancy to adolescence. St. Louis, MO: Mosby. Rescorla, L. (1989). The language development survey: A screening tool for delayed language in toddlers. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 54, 587-599. Rescorla, L., Alley, A., & Christine, J. (2001). Word frequencies in toddlers' lexicons. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, 44, 598-609. Weismer, S., & Robertson, S. (2006). Focused stimulation. In R. McCauley & M. Fey (Eds.), Treatment of language disorders in children, 175-202. Baltimore: Brookes.

Selected references: Music

Brownell, M. (2002) Musically adapted social stories. Journal of Music Therapy, 39 (2), 117-144. Bruner, J. C. II. (1990). Music, Mood and Marketing. J. Marketing, 94-104. Buday, Evelyn M., "The effects of signed and spoken words taught with music on sign and speech imitation by children with autism. Journal of Music Therapy, 189-202, No. 3, (1995): 32. Colwell, C. M. Therapeutic application of music in the whole language kindergarten. J. Music Therapy, 1994, V. 31, 238-247. Douglas, S. and Willatts, P. (1994). The relationship between musical ability and literacy skill, Journal of Research in Reading, 17, 99-107. Gfeller, Kate E., Music Mnemonics as an aid to retention with normal and learning disabled students. Journal of Music Therapy, 179-189, No. 4, (1983):20.

Selected references: Music

Mohanty, B., and Hejmadi, A., (1992). Effects of intervention training on some cognitive abilities of preschool children. Psychological Studies, 37, 31-37. North, A.C. and Hargreaves, D.J. (1997). Liking, arousal potential, and the emotions expressed by music. Scand. J. of Psych., 38:4553. Overy, K. (2000) Dyslexia, temporal processing and music: The potential of music as an early learning aid for dyslexic children, Psychology of Music, 28 (2), 218-229. Smith, John A., Teaching Reading- Singing and Songwriting Support Early Literacy Instruction., The Reading Teacher, Vol. 53, No. 8, May 2000, 646-651. Wolfe, David E. and Candice Hom. Use of melodies as structural prompts for learning and retention of sequential verbal information by preschool students. Journal of Music Therapy, 100-118, No. 2 (1993): 30.


It has been a pleasure!

Reading with you! Singing with you! Sharing our passions of books and music with you!

Contact us!

Susan Hendler Lederer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Adelphi University, Garden City, NY [email protected] 516-877-4770

Contact us!

Rachel Arntson, M.S., CCC-SLP P.O. Box 1462, Maple Grove, MN 55311 [email protected] 877-876-3050



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