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I used to use this book every October in my speech and language groups to work on articulation, vocabulary, story retelling, and other language skills.

Why did I stop?

I really had a philosophical issue with the fact that adorable Stellaluna the bat was not accepted by her “foster mother” (a bird) because she looked and acted different. That main concept rubbed me in all the wrong ways. As an adoptive and cross-racial family, I do not want my children to ever think that they have to look or act just like me to be part of my family.

Philosophical issues aside, this book full of vivid images, rich vocabulary, and great story telling. Stellaluna gets separated from her mother and ends up in a bird’s nest. She is raised by the bird family for some time, but her many differences are pointed out and she feels isolated and alone. She flies far away one night and gets lost, only to be found by a bat. Stellaluna is joyfully reunited with her birth mother. She introduces her bird friends (former “foster siblings”?) to the bats. They discover that although they have many differences, they can still be friends. Happy ending.

Speech Therapy Ideas:

1. This is a great book for articulation practice. Everytime a word such as “Stellaluna” comes up, point to the child working on /st/ or /l/ sounds. Everytime “bird” comes up, point to an advanced /r/ student (not a beginner!). There are many great opportunities for working on multi-syllabic words within this book.

2. Introduce idioms as “idiot phrases” because they do not mean what they sound like. Here are a few I’ve worked on:3. Practice vocabulary including defining, synonyms, and antonyms. Here are three levels of difficulty that I came up with one year:

4. Have the child retell the story using correct sequencing and descriptive language. Include the characters, setting, problem and resolution.

5. Compare and contrast birds and bats. Make a list either writing or drawing the differences and similarities.

6. Make these boa bats. Practice retelling the steps involved so that the child can teach someone else how to make the craft. These bats are so adorable that I have one hanging in my home every Halloween season.

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  1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE Stellaluna! It’s such a beautiful book. I cannot wait until I get some slightly older and less wiggly kids and I can read fun books with them.

  2. looks like a good book! I have never heard of it before!

  3. I loved this book when I was younger. I should pick it up for the kiddos!

  4. It sounds like a great book, knowing that it ends with everyone accepting each other, that is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have I mentioned to you that I think you are a genius? Seriously. Your ideas are always so creative. You rock!

  5. I’ll have to check the library for this book. I love that there is a happy ending ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. These were great ideas and I love the story. I think the ending really brings it all together. As a former speech student, I just want you to know how much I appreciate speech teachers. I had a terrible lisp and when I get tired or nervous, it creeps back in. I can see using voicethread (www.voicethread.com) with some of these lessons too. Thanks for sharing.

  7. we have this book and I’ve never ever thought of it in this light– the acceptance issue or the speech. Hmmm, may try some of these tips on the five year old.

  8. About voicethread: let the students draw their own picture of an important message of the story, or an event, or a character. Take a digital photo of it and upload it into voicethread. Then let the student talk into the computer (or microphone) and tell the story about the picture. If you do antonyms or synonyms or definitions, they could do a picture of this and talk about it on voicethread. Other people could add comments and the students could hear them. I have seen voicethread used with students as young as kindegarden.

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