using the boy who harnessed the wind in speech therapy

Frequent Speech Sounds:

/w/ initial
/l/ medial and final

Themes:

Black History Month
perseverance
drought
windmills
engineering
innovation
energy
Africa
imagination

Book Details:

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

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

By William Kamkwamba

When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land. Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy's brilliant idea can light up the world. Complete with photographs, illustrations, and an epilogue that will bring readers up to date on William's story, this is the perfect edition to read and share with the whole family.

This heroic Black History Month book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotion issues like poverty and believing in yourself. It is also great for character analysis and for targeting figurative language as well as for describing! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode
autobiography
expository text

Narrative Concepts:

sequencing
vocabulary
character analysis
social/emotional
figurative language
adjectives
verbs (mental state)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (present progressive)
text features
theme/message
inferencing
predicting
illustration study

Sequencing:

order of events William took to save his village from drought

Vocabulary:

harness, Malawi, magic, scanned, matze, hoe, scorched, drought, sulked, windmill, electricity, misala, generator, pangas, gale, heaved, surged, village, mango, gush, bearings, tinker

Character Analysis:

William learned how to make a windmill to save his village despite others not believing in him.

Social/Emotional:

poverty
culture
willpower to make change
believing in yourself
learning English
daring to dream

Figurative Language:

imagery
personification (the sun rose angry each morning)
similes (watching hungry people pass like spirits, wobbled like a clumsy giraffe)
metaphors (monsters in his belly)

Grammar:

adjectives
verbs (mental state)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (present progressive)

Text Features:

moving text
epilogue

Inferencing:

How do you think William felt working in the fields?
How do you think his family felt when it didn’t rain?
How do you think William felt when he couldn’t go to school anymore?
What does William think about windmills?
What did the townspeople think of William and his invention?
How did William feel about his windmill?
What do you think William’s village looks like today?
What do you think William would do if this book continued?

Predicting:

What do you think William dreamed about?
What do you think the people will do if it doesn’t rain soon?
Where do you think William will go?
What do you think he will look up first?
What do you think William will do to help the drought?