PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Senses

May 12, 2016 by - 2 Comments

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Senses
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SLP Karen Natoci has always promoted multi-sensory paths to learning. In this month’s installment of PrAACtically Reading, she dives into the topic of our senses, something that is part of many curricula used in special and general education. You can read about her ideas for implementation, see her students’ work, and download the lesson plan and supporting documents in this engaging post. Happy reading!


PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Senses

Book Series:

For students at the emergent reading level:

  • The Five Senses: Touching, by Rebecca Rissman
  • The Five Senses: Smelling, By Rebecca Rissman
  • The Five Senses: Hearing, by Rebecca Rissman
  • The Five Senses:  Seeing, by Rebecca Rissman
  • The Five Senses: Tasting, by Rebecca Rissman

For learners at the Conventional Reading Level:

  • Hearing, by Sharon Gordon
  • Smelling, by Sharon Gordon
  • Seeing, by Sharon Gordon
  • Touching, by Sharon Gordon


Additional vocabulary focus:  nose, ears, eyes, mouth, hands, smell, see, hear, taste, touch

Additional language to provide an opinion:  awesome, bad, icky, yucky, yum, pretty, sad, bumpy, smooth.



This month, we decided to spend time reviewing the five senses and blend some nice sensory experiences with language.  We read a book each week (above) and in PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Sensespreparation, we gathered items to experience that particular sense.

We gathered the following objects for each of the books listed:

SEEING, we gathered: lights, pictures of art, pictures, kaleidoscope, view master, funny colored glasses, light box.

HEARING, we gathered bells, drums, a keyboard, and samples of different music to listen to.  We included sound effects such as:  animal sounds, conversation, and other sounds from a variety of objects such as alarm clock, car engine, someone typing.

TASTING, we tasted across a spectrum of flavors: sweet, chocolate, sour, salty, caramel, hot, cold.

SMELLING, included bath salts, a few candles (rose, lemon, vanilla), peppermint, something pungent (like vix) Lysol, floral smells, perfume, to name a few.

TOUCHING, we found textures, bumpy, smooth, rough sand paper, wet, rubbery (items found at the hardware store).  For this we also included heavy and light items.

The books seemed to focus on the part of the body and what it does.  This provided a great opportunity to point to our body parts and notice these parts on our classmates.  These books work very well in the general education classroom. Teaching to this maximally supported communication level allows for some wonderful thinking by the gen ed students while the students who are AAC users or who need more language support can address the content. The general education students are able to engage in the lab activities by providing much more detail gathering information on the sensory items.  Students with complex communication needs provided their opinion about their experiences with an object.

In another option, the child can choose how they want to interact with the object.  For example, if shown carrots (taste) they can choose whether to touch it or see it or taste it, perhaps, allowing to integrate the senses a little bit!

For the final project, we created five centers and children brought in something to contribute to the sensory center.  We opened up our lab to another classroom to share our experience.

Here are some photos of their work:

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Senses


PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Senses

You can get the lesson plan and DLM Essential Elements here.

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: The Five Senses


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This post was written by Carole Zangari


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