using Hidden Figures in speech therapy

Frequent Speech Sounds:

/th/ final
/air/
/bl/
/pl/

Themes:

Black History Month
Women’s History Month
perseverance
math
space
airplanes

Book Details:

Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary, Middle School

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

By Margot Lee Shetterly

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at mathreally good. They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world. In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as “colored computers,” and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career. “Will inspire girls and boys alike to love math, believe in themselves, and reach for the stars.”

This motivational Black History and Women's History Month book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like perseverance and racial and gender equality. It is also great for character analysis and for targeting comparing and contrasting as well as for a variety of verbs, sequencing and inferencing! It is also great for targeting sounds including: /th/ final, /air/, /bl/, and /pl/! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode
biography
expository text

Narrative Concepts:

sequencing
vocabulary
character analysis
social/emotional
text features
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (mental state)
complex sentence structure
theme/message
inferencing
illustration study
comparing/contrasting

Sequencing:

order of events that made the four women pioneers in history

Vocabulary:

aeronautics, segregation, computers, experiments, wind tunnel, improve, engineer, prevent, analyze, turbulence, prepare, program, orbit, nation, commit, experts, trajectories, equality

Character Analysis:

The women were told their dreams were impossible and instead of giving up, resistance from others sparked persistence and ultimately people changing their minds about them and their work.

Social/Emotional:

self-confidence
believing in yourself
treatment of blacks vs. whites
treatment of women in the workplace

Grammar:

verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (mental state)
complex sentence structure

Text Features:

timeline
biography
glossary

Inferencing:

How do you think the four women felt about doing math for a living?
How did Dorothy feel when she applied for the position?
How did others feel about Mary and Dorothy getting such jobs and taking math classes?
What did others think about Katherine’s work?
How do you think the women felt when they were told what they wanted was impossible?
How did Katherine feel when she was the first woman to be able to sign her name on group reports?
How did Dorothy become an asset to the workplace?
How do you think Katherine felt when John Glenn asked for only her to double check the numbers?
How do you think changes in equality impact them?
How was sending astronauts to the moon a giant leap for the four women?