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Book Reviews

Targeting Language Delays

IEP Goals and Activities for Students with Developmental Challenges

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Targeting Language Delays serves as a handy tool for adults who work with children with special needs.

Written by a speech-language pathologist whose experience includes working with special-needs children, Targeting Language Delays: IEP Goals & Activities for Students with Developmental Challenges offers a workbook-style approach to developing language skills. This isn’t a book for a general audience, but what author Caroline Lee has created is a useful resource for parents and teachers, filled with exercises and worksheets that target specific language goals that can be modified to particular needs.

Each exercise in the book is aimed at one specific language goal, from following directions to the classification and categorization of words to developing auditory memory. In each case, Lee explains which students are the appropriate audience for the exercise, based on specific language challenges. She also creates detailed instructions for how to emphasize a language concept, including the use of visual and context clues to reinforce that concept. The book begins with more basic language goals, such as understanding concepts like “no” or “same and different,” with the activities and targets growing in complexity.

For example, verb tenses are a common problem for anyone learning language, and Teaching Language Delays includes strategies using both repetition and student expression to teach them. In the case of teaching the present progressive tense, Lee suggests encouraging the child to listen for “is” and “will,” then modeling sentences using multiple tenses for the same action, while gradually increasing the level of difficulty. Lee then suggests using pictures with different stages of an action, and asking questions (such as “what is the cat doing?” and “what will that cat do?”) that get the child to apply what they’ve heard modeled. In addition to practice during the lesson itself, this guide encourages reinforcement of the same concepts when watching a television show or observing other people’s actions in day-to-day life.

Lee regularly includes ways to tailor a specific exercise to both readers and nonreaders, and she includes examples of tracking worksheets educators or parents can use to chart which words or concepts a child has mastered or is still struggling with learning. The lessons build on one another, as well, so learners who have come to understand basic concepts can apply them to more complicated situations, like learning sentence structure and demonstrating auditory memory.

Targeting Language Delays serves as a handy tool for adults who work with children with special needs. The book’s range of exercises and levels of targeting should help those in need of extra assistance when developing children’s language skills.

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