About six months ago, I realized that the books in my speech room don’t really reflect the diversity of my learners. Sure, I had great books in my speech room. But I didn’t have any books featuring children of color, children with disabilities, or children with diverse families.
So, I got to researching. I read blog posts. I watched You Tube read alouds. And over the past six months, I’ve built a speech room library that I’m proud of and that better reflects the diversity of the learners I’ve worked with.
If you want to go on the same journey, I’d like to save you some time and research by offering up the ten books I use most in my speech room. These are books I’ve used over and over again to target a variety of goals. Keep in mind, going through this process with your own speech room books helps ALL learners.
So, what books do I recommend? Here is a list of my top choices!
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Chinese New Year is celebrated somewhere between late January and late February. This book is great for children ages 3-7. We use this book for: vocabulary, sequencing, Wh questions.
This is a sweet book (yes, based on the movie) which shares that not all children look the same, and how we can understand the diversity around us. We use this book for: social skills, inferencing, Wh questions.
In this book, a young girl wants to get rid of the monsters that come to her bedroom each night. This book has a very cute ending - she realizes the monsters don’t like kissing! She gives each of the monsters a good ‘ole kiss, and they run away. This is a really lovely book, and I use it often. We use this book for: kids ages 4-8, articulation (r, s), story retell.
This is a wordless picture book full of imagination and creativity. We love the illustrations, and that it features illustrations of a variety of children: children in wheelchairs, children wearing head scarves, children of different colors, etc. We use this book for: language samples, grammar (telling about each page using full sentences), building utterance length.
Charley goes to the playground and meets Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair. He doesn’t know how to react at first, but learns an important lesson about being different - and that different is great. We use this book for: social skills, perspective taking, asking Wh questions (What would you ask a new friend?).
We love folk tales and fairy tales! In this story, the protanganist learns about being honest versus cheating, and when things don’t go your way and you may feel disappointed. We use this book for children ages 5+. We use this book for: sequencing, perspective taking, problem solving, identifying the main idea.
In this book, a stonecutter gets everything he wishes for only to realize that the best version of his life was one he already had - as a stonecutter when life was simpler and happier. Is the grass always greener on the other side? What happens when you get what you wish for? We use this book for: sequencing, perspective taking, problem solving, identifying the main idea.
In this book, a girl with vision impairment shares her school day, including how she feels about having a cane at school and getting pulled out of class to work with a different teacher that the other students don’t see. In the book, Zulay also has a goal to run around the track on her own, and her friends cheer her on along the way. We use this book for: discussing friendship skills and Wh questions (what makes a good friend?), discussing with students why they may see different teachers in school, inferencing.
This is a book about having a hearing impairment written by an author with hearing impairment. This book has illustrations in a comic book/graphic novel type format, so it’s fun and engaging to read. We’d recommend this book for ages 8+. We use this book for: listening for details, making inferences/what might happen next, specific vocabulary (audiologist, audiogram, hearing aid).
In the book Emmanuel is born in Ghana with one leg. Over time, he learns to walk, bike - and eventually becomes a word-renowned cyclist. This book has overarching themes of overcoming adversity, holding on to hope, and resilience. This book is recommended for ages 6 and up. We use this book for: sequencing, discussing grit and growth mindset, discussing disability in groups.
We hope these resources were helpful for you! If you have any favorite books, feel free to let us know. These books have enriched our own lessons, and we hope they do the same for you too.