Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

We’re on Step 3 in our Literacy-Based Therapy Bootcamp series:

Post-Story Comprehension!

Have you heard the first two episodes in this series? Part one is here, and part two is here.

In today’s episode of the podcast, Marisha shares three different strategies she uses to embed comprehension activities into her literacy-based units. She talks about her approach to assessments — plus examples of scaffolding support based on the data collected — so that you know exactly how to put this information to work in your practice. 💪

First up: Marisha likes to start her sessions with a quick probe. Taking an assessment without offering support allows her to determine the student’s baseline levels independently, so she can choose appropriate activities and offer the right kind of support.

☝️ In the episode, Marisha shares examples of how she would change her approach if a student got 0% accuracy on a probe for “who” questions vs a student who gets 90% on inferential questions — so make sure you listen in to get all the details!

Remember: the level of the probe difficulty might not completely match up with the level of difficulty of the questions related to the book. It’s up to us to use our clinical judgment.

By combining internal evidence (like the data from the probe) with external evidence (like literature) and clinical expertise (because your experience matters!) we can arrive at an informed decision about the level of support to offer.

For a student who doesn’t need a tremendous amount of support, one strategy Marisha likes to use is to pull her list of questions from the book unit and present them to the student. If they struggle, she can offer support and prompts by asking more specific questions.

If they’re still struggling, another strategy is to refer back to the book or article and help then find the evidence they need to answer the question. If that doesn’t help them to connect the dots, she’ll back things up a little more and start to use some visual supports.

☝️ In the episode, Marisha shares an example of this strategy using the unit “Just A Duck” — which you can find in the SLP Now membership materials library!

Make sure you listen in to get all the details, and get your hands on these plans (plus many more) when you sign up for a free trial of SLP Now. **

For the unit, “Just A Duck”, Marisha likes to use the leveled question cards from SLP Now. The cards have “who” questions with answers in the form of people or characters, and mixed choice questions which have different options — like location, person, or time — and require a more thorough comprehension of the text to answer.

By starting the session with an activity-related probe, Marisha is armed with the information she needs to determine the best course of action for the session — whether to start the session with a simple list of questions or offer additional support, and how to scaffold that support as needed.

That’s all for post-story comprehension!

See you next time when we talk about step 4: Focused Skill Activities.

Episode Summary

In this episode, Marisha talks about:

✅ Starting the session with a probe. This helps her collect data that informs the course of treatment and the type of support to offer.

✅ Using your clinical judgment as an SLP. Combining internal and external evidence with clinical experiences helps you make an informed choice.

✅ Examples of scaffolding support. Marisha shares a few ideas of how she would scale support during the session depending on probe data.


Subscribe to the SLP Now podcast and stay tuned for our next series. We’re kicking off September by helping you get your data collection, paperwork, and therapy planning processes in tip-top shape! 💪

Listen to The SLP Now Podcast on AppleSpotifyGoogle  ★ StitcherCastbox or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Marisha Mets
Hello there, and welcome to the SLP now podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech language pathologists. Grab your favorite beverage and sit back as we dive into this week's episode.

Marisha Mets
Hey there, and welcome to day three of the literacy based therapy challenge. Today we are talking about different comprehension activities that we can embed in our unit as we're reading through a book or an article or whichever text we choose for our students. So we're going to talk about three different strategies that we can use, and I have a variety of activities that I like to pull in as needed, and I like to start my sessions with a quick probe. It's just an assessment where I don't offer any support just to see what students baseline levels are. So if they have a comprehension goal before diving into these activities, I would pull the probe for their specific goal. So whether it's answering who questions, what questions?

Marisha Mets
Answering inferential questions, whatever it may be, I'll take a quick probe and see where students are at baseline, like, what are they doing independently? And that helps me determine which strategies will likely be most helpful for the student. And granted, the level of the probe difficulty might not completely match up with the level of difficulty of the questions related to the book, so we'll use some clinical judgment there. But, for example, if a student achieves 0% accuracy on their probe for who questions before we dive into those comprehension activities, I'm going to take a step back and teach what who questions are. We're going to do some very structured activities.

Marisha Mets
But on the other hand, if a student is working on inferential questions and they get 90% accuracy on the probe, I'm not going to offer a whole lot of support as we go in, and then I would just adjust the level of support depending on their accuracy. And this isn't a hard and fast rule. This is where our clinical judgment really comes in. But I like them being able to combine my internal evidence so the data that I get from the probe, plus the external evidence of what I know works well in the literature, and then just combining that with clinical expertise and all of that good stuff to make a really fun activity.

Marisha Mets
So one thing that we can do, if the student doesn't need a tremendous amount of support, I like to just pull my list of questions from the book unit, and I'll just verbally present the questions. If they struggle, I can scaffold by asking more specific questions. That's one potential strategy. Another strategy, if they're still struggling, we can refer back to the book or the article to help them find the evidence that they need to answer that question. And then if they're still struggling, I might back things up a little bit and use some visual supports. So, for the student, for example, the student working on who questions, I might just. In the unit for just a duck, for example, we have leveled questions.

Marisha Mets
So after I go through and teach them what who means, and we do some simple practice, maybe we ask some questions about, like who is wearing red, who is sitting, who is standing, and we'll just practice, get some errorless learning down with just understanding the who question that who is a person? And then the next step would be to give them some question cards. So in the unit, we have leveled question cards and we just have a set of who questions. And then there are who questions that only have who answers. So there's only people that they can choose from or characters that they can choose from. But then another level includes mixed answer choices. So one would be a person, one would be a location, one would be a time, for example. It would have mixed choices.

Marisha Mets
So then they really have to understand what who means to be able to answer that question. So that's just an example of how I might scaffold that and use the results of the probe to determine which level of support would be most appropriate, and also how I can scale that up and scale that back. So if a student does achieve 0% accuracy on the probe, but I do that initial teaching, and they're achieving 100% accuracy with the visual choices, I might just back things up. Maybe I can just ask them pictures about a page in the book, or maybe I can just ask them verbal questions and scale back that support and have it be a very dynamic process to determine what is the most effective.

Marisha Mets
So that's what we've got for day three of the framework, and I cannot wait to dive into all of the skill based activities tomorrow.

Marisha Mets
Thanks for listening to the SLP now podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends. And don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you.

Marisha Mets
See you next time.



Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *