Thursday, April 02, 2015

Reading Comprehension Strategies for Hyperlexia & Autism: Use Books with Speech Bubbles!

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Looking for reading comprehension strategies for hyperlexia and autism? Try using books with speech and thought bubbles and find out how they can help improve comprehension skills.

One of the main struggles for children with hyperlexia and autism is comprehension.

Through my research and personal experiences with my son, who has hyperlexia, I have discovered that books that use speech and thought bubbles have helped him to understand what he is reading.

I will explain why speech bubbles can help improve reading comprehension in kids with autism and hyperlexia in more detail below. I have also included a list of books that make effective use of speech balloons, making them great choices for children with autism and hyperlexia.

Reading comprehension strategies for hyperlexia - how books with speech and thought bubbles can help improve comprehension

Reading Comprehension Strategies for Hyperlexia & Autism

Once upon a time, I took a course called "Children and Media," where I discovered some amazing resources on autism and hyperlexia.

One particular article that I came across while preparing for my research paper was one by Susan Gately called Facilitating Reading Comprehension for Students on the Autism Spectrum. The article has numerous practical tips for improving reading comprehension in autism. She even mentions hyperlexia, which is exciting for me because there rarely seems to be anything available on the topic of hyperlexia.

Anyway, what I found particularly interesting in this article was the brief discussion on speech and thought bubbles.

It certainly wasn't the first time that I came across the idea of using speech and thought bubbles with hyperlexic readers. I recall reading about the use of comics and graphic novels for hyperlexia elsewhere, but cannot remember the source, as it was something I read during my early research on hyperlexia.

But why speech bubbles?

How Using Books with Speech & Thought Bubbles Can Improve Reading Comprehension in Hyperlexia & Autism

Using speech and thought bubbles can improve reading comprehension because they:

  • Help children understand the emotions, thoughts, and perspectives of characters in a story
  • Visually show the difference between what a character says and what they think
  • Show children the difference between thoughts and actions
  • Help children to understand the role of phrases such as "he said...", "...said the teacher," etc. in stories by turning those abstract phrases and concepts into concrete visuals 

How speech & thought bubbles improve reading comprehension, especially for children with autism and hyperlexia from And Next Comes L

Recommended Books for Improving Reading Comprehension in Autism & Hyperlexia

The obvious choices for books that use speech balloons and thought bubbles are comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels.

However, in my experience, comic books and graphic novels end up being too visually stimulating for my son. It is also difficult to find comics and graphic novels that are developmentally and age-appropriate.

So here are the 5 best book series that use speech balloons and thought bubbles and are appropriate for using with younger children with autism and hyperlexia.

5 awesome book series for children that use speech & thought bubbles and how they can improve reading comprehension, especially in autism and hyperlexia from And Next Comes L

1. The Pigeon Series by Mo Willems

Pretty sure Mo Willems is the master of using speech balloons and my boys love the Pigeon series. He's a quirky and sassy little Pigeon and the books make my kids laugh hysterically!

The Duckling Gets a Cookie?!
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

2. Balloon Toons Series

These are like short comic books for early readers. Here are a few of titles in this series that we have enjoyed, but there are many others.

Dinosaurs in Space
Baxter the Tweeting Dog

3. Elephant & Piggie Books by Mo Willems

The Elephant and Piggie books have been favorites in our house for years now. Both of my boys love them. What makes these books particularly awesome for kids with autism and hyperlexia is that the speech balloons are color coded to match the character that's speaking. So Elephant is grey and has grey speech balloons, while Piggie has pink speech balloons to match her pink complexion.

There is a Bird on Your Head!
Can I Play Too?
We are in a Book
I'm a Frog!
Should I Share my Ice Cream?
Watch Me Throw a Ball!
Let's Go for a Drive!
Elephants Cannot Dance!

4. Scribbles and Ink Series by Ethan Long

I just learned about this series from the last Scholastic book order. I haven't read the books in this series yet, but I did take a peek at the inside of them on Amazon. They have a similar feel as the Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems and use color coded speech balloons.

Scribbles and Ink, The Contest
Scribbles and Ink, Out of the Box
Scribbles and Ink
Scribbles and Ink, Doodles for Two

5. A Binky Adventure Series by Ashley Spires

A series of graphic novels about a cat. My son really enjoys these books.

Binky the Space Cat
Binky Under Pressure
Binky to the Rescue
Binky: License to Scratch
Binky in Charge

More Ideas You'll Love for Reading Comprehension Strategies for Hyperlexia

Tips for Improving Comprehension in Hyperlexic Kids

Speech Apps for Working on Comprehension & WH Questions

Free Printable WH Questions for Guess Who

Reading comprehension strategies for hyperlexia - how books with speech and thought bubbles can help improve comprehension