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Using Hypothetical Statements During Shared Story Reading in Speech Therapy

Updated: May 26

Text reads "dialogic reading during shared storybook reading"

Hi friends!

You may have read about using dialogic reading practices during shared story reading, but there are other strategies out there that might work better for some of your students!

If your students are not responding as you’d hoped to dialogic reading practices, try using hypothetical statements!

A study by Lohse et al., (2022) found when using hypothetical statements rather than instructive statements, children’s responses were longer and contained more self-generated explanations.

Picture of a teacher reading a book to three students. The three students are raising their hands and they have thought bubbles with a light bulb in them above their heads.

The authors think when adults express uncertainty through hypothetical statements, children are encouraged to speculate about alternative explanations and ideas!

Try using hypothetical statements by using the word maybe! Let's take a look at some examples!

Picture from the story If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Text reads - Instructive: …he’ll want to put on a puppet show. He’ll need some cardboard and paints. Hypothetical: …he’ll want to put on a puppet show. Maybe he’ll need some cardboard and paints.

Picture from the story Dragons Love Tacos of dragons eating spicy tacos. Text reads - instructive: Uh oh! They ate spicy tacos. Tell me what you think will happen next. Hypothetical: Uh oh! They ate spicy tacos. Maybe something bad will happen.

Picture from the story We're Going on a Leaf Hunt. Text reads - instructive: We can’t go through it. We have to go around it! Hypothetical: We can’t go through it. Maybe they will go around it.

Do you use hypothetical statements with your students? How has it impacted your therapy sessions? Feel free to share in a comment below!

Happy reading! 💛

Three grey mountains with some white snow on to. A small heart in a speech bubble. Four boot prints underneath the mountain. The name Sarah in pink, blue, peach, green, and purple colors.

References (2)

Lohse, K., Hildebrandt, A., & Hildebrandt, F. (2021). Hypothesis in adult-child interactions stimulate children’s reasoning and verbalizations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

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