and the Story
Grammar Marker as a Cognitive
Learning Strategy for Children
Valerie Blackmon, M.Ed. CCC
Green Acres Elementary
Peer Review 3/28/11
the extent to which an individual
does without resources (Payne,1996).
Mental (acquired skills of reading,writing etc.)
Knowledge of Hidden Rules
Poverty Rates according to the
2009 US Census Bureau
In 2009, 43.6 million people were in poverty, up from 39.8
million in 2008
the third consecutive annual increase in the
number of people in poverty.
Between 2008 and 2009, the poverty rate increased for non
Hispanic Whites (from 8.6 percent to 9.4 percent), for Blacks
(from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent), and for Hispanics (from
23.2 percent to 25.3 percent). For Asians, the 2009 poverty
rate (12.5 percent) was not statistically different from the 2008
The number of people in poverty in 2009 (43.6 million) is the
largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates
have been published
Impacts of Poverty
Children from poverty are more likely to suffer developmental delays,
drop out of school and give birth during the teen years (Miranda,
Ethnic and language minority children, immigrants, and children from
low income families are particularly at risk for lower academic
achievement and low literacy levels at school entry (Washington,
Research has shown that the neural systems of poor children
develop differently from those of middle
class children, affecting
language development and "executive function," or the ability to
plan, remember details and pay attention in school (Payne, 1996).
Registers of Language
standard sentence syntax
and word choice of work
and school. It is
sentences, specific word
choice and adheres to
spoken between friends. It
is characterized by a 400
800 word vocabulary.
Word choice is general
and not specific.
dependant upon non
verbal assists. Sentence
syntax is often incomplete.
Is the Language of School.
Language used for formal assessments.
(CRCT, SAT, college entrance exams,
aptitude tests, etc.)
Discourse pattern is to get straight to the
Story Structure is sequential.
Most important element of story is the plot.
Majority of minority/ low income children are only able to
speak in the casual register
Characterized by a limited vocabulary.
Discourse pattern is to go around the issue before getting to
Story Structure is random and episodic.
Story Structure begins with the end of the story or part with the
greatest emotional intensity told first, is told in vignettes with
audience participation in between.
Most important part of the story is the characterization of the
people within the story.
Example of persona
remote event/story told in casual
SLP: Tell me what happened?
Student: XXX is lying on me and he did it. He hit me in the
face and then his brother said he was
and I’m like no you
get in trouble but he look at
me on the bus and then he start telling a lie cause he
know I know that and then I get in trouble cause he start
it. That’s why they not going to let him eat lunch in there.
SLP: Why did you get suspended?
Student: Cause, cause he
he’s a liar and he stole money
from XXX but he said I did but he did it and XXX saw it
get in trouble when my mom said
you’re a liar too.
SLP: Your teacher told me that you pushed XXX into the
storage closet? Did this happen?
Student: Well, he started it.
Dialect vs Register
Dialects involve the variations of a
language that depend on the place where
such language is spoken, or the fixed group
of people who speak it.
Registers involve the variations of a dialect
that depend on the social situation where
such dialect is spoken.
Cognitive research indicates that
how the brain stores memories.
Relying on a random and episodic story structure
results in disorganization and increased difficulty
with temporal sequencing, difficulty with
understanding causal relationships and reduces the
ability to predict outcomes (Feuerstein, 1980)
Something to think about…
If an individual depends upon a random episodic story structure for
memory patterns, he/she lives in an unpredictable environment, and has
not developed the ability to plan, then…
If the individual cannot plan, then he/she cannot predict.
If the individual cannot predict, then he/she cannot identify cause and
If the individual cannot identify cause and effect, then he/she cannot
If the individual cannot identify consequences, then he/she cannot
If the individual cannot control impulsivity, then he/she has an inclination
toward criminal behavior.
What does the research tell us?
Students coming from poverty lack the basic
concepts, vocabulary and
necessary to achieve academically in school.
“The true discrimination that comes out of
poverty is the lack of
lack of these unseen attributes handicaps in
every aspect of life the individual who does not
have them.” (Payne, 1996).
What are some of the cognitive issues for
children from poverty?
(Payne, 1996, Feuerstein,
Lack of a systematic method of exploration which is directly
. Learned information is gathered in a
haphazard, incomplete manner with weak semantic
Impaired verbal tools. They lack the vocabulary that makes
up the internal learning structure.
Impaired temporal orientation. The inability to organize or
measure time negatively impacts skills such as planning,
preparing, predicting outcomes, initiating and completing
What can the school based SLP do?
We teach basic concepts.
We support vocabulary development.
We model and teach Formal Register language patterns/rules.
We teach narrative skills/Story Structure
Increase the use of direct instruction of
as part our language therapy.
What is a Cognitive/Learning
Cognitive/Learning strategies are techniques,
principles or rules that facilitate the acquisition,
manipulation, integration, storage and retrieval
of information across situations and settings.
The “Filing Cabinet” analogy.
Strategies are tools and techniques we use to
help ourselves understand and learn new
How do we learn Cognitive
Strategies? (Feuerstein, 1980)
The intervention of an adult.
Mediation builds cognitive strategies.
Consists of identifying the stimulus (missing
Assigning Meaning to the stimulus
Identifying a strategy to remediate the
missing cognitive process.
Interventions that build cognitive strategies
(Idol and Jones, 1991).
Using Graphic Organizers
Teaching systematic approaches to analyzing data
Establish Goal Setting and Procedural Talk
Teach Conceptual Frameworks
Use Kinesthetic teaching methods
Teach the Structure of Language
Teach students how to Make Questions
Teach How to Sort Relevant from Irrelevant
Teach Mental Models
How can we use Braidy/SGM to improve
Planning/Goal setting/Procedural Self Talk “How do I get started?”
Focusing on “Key” information
Teach the components of Story (beginning, middle, end, main idea, plot and
Improve temporal concepts/use time order words, cohesive ties
Organize visual information (Graphic organizers, maps)
Improve comprehension through connections (text, self, world)
Use kinesthetic/tactile approach (Braidy doll, SGM marker)
Use rubric as a way to self evaluate/reflect. “Did I….”
Directly teach the structure of language, build Formal Register “Does that
sound right?” Let students write in casual then translate into formal register
Critical Thinking Triangle, Direct Consequence and Resolution (cause/effect)
, et al. (1980).
Instrumental Enrichment: An intervention
Program for Cognitive Modifiability.
Idol, Lorna, & Jones, B.F. (Eds.). (1991).
Educational Values and Cognitive
Instruction: Implications for Reform.
Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Miranda, Leticia C. (1991).
Latino Child Poverty in the United States.
Payne, Ruby (1996).
A Framework for Understanding Poverty.
aha! Process Inc.
Washington, Julie A. (2011 March, Best Practices)
Language, Literacy and
[PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from