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.