Spring Book Study– Chapters 1 and 2

Melody is 11 years old.  Being blessed, she was raised in a language rich environment.  Words have filled her life and fill inside her head, but she has never spoken.  Melody wishes she could express her love for country music, tell someone her favorite song is Elvira, or share the fact that she loves both the smell of her mother’s hair after a shower and the scratchy rough feel of her father’s face.  Melody feels frustration.  Melody also feels sad, especially when people don’t ask what her name is, as if her name is not important.  Melody is important; her name is important, as well as, how she feels.  What other emotions do you think Melody feels?


Melody reflects on her early life experiences with many memories. She specifically recognizes noises, smells, and tastes.  A life without verbal expression forces Melody to recognize the true power of words. We live in a world in which it’s easy to take for granted the gift and power of words.  How can we highlight the power of words in our work?

–Katie Cohen


9 thoughts on “Spring Book Study– Chapters 1 and 2

  1. Kathleen Russell says:

    Melody feels invisible at times. Just because she doesn’t talk, some others assume that she is not smart & unable to think for herself. I feel that there are people in my school building, that assume since my students do not express themselves like “typical” peers, that they cannot contribute. Melody has the additional hardship of living in a body that doesn’t function.

  2. Karen Reynolds says:

    The beginning of this book, as we learn about Melody, made me think of my twin nieces who were born at 29 weeks. We don’t yet know what impact such an early birth will bring, I thought of how we acquire language and how we just assume typical development as babies develop. I began to wonder, as with Melody, how long it will take for their abilities to be understood. I found it ironic that Melody’s name is parallel with her descriptive skills, linked with music. I’m excited to read more!

  3. Amanda Piekarski says:

    I think Melody might feel like an outsider. She has thoughts, ideas, preferences, and memories she isn’t able to share with anyone. She is looking in at life through a one way mirror. I often look at the faces of my minimally verbal students and wonder ‘what is running through your mind!’. Melody needs those around her to ask the same question.

  4. Aimee Burton says:

    I think we can highlight the power of words by highlighting what it would feel like to not be able to use them. It’s a powerful thing to demonstrate to people through empathy training, role playing, etc., what it feels like to not have a voice to participate in activities and events around you and to not be able to get your basic wants and needs met because you can’t express them. People easily overlook those they think cannot communicate. I think it’s important to teach people that words are not the only means of communication so that they can see beyond limitations and see each interaction or behavior as meaningful.

  5. Pam Schmit says:

    The first chapter of this book was so beautiful to me. It was so interesting to consider how she appreciated words!! I complain about so many things, and then to sort of step into this world in which words are important and remembered and can’t be uttered. Wow! It took me aback. How precious are the gifts I have.
    Katie, I kind of imagine a pile of word cards taped to my door with a variety of words, or word cards (on the door) swirling around in a snowstorm, or word cards filling up a glass that is to be consumed. I like the poetic nature of this (as well as the nonliteral language aspect). I think of how the students in my school are so deficient in vocabulary -which just frustrates me-, and even though many of them can’t read, it would be fun to display words. For some reason, I really enjoyed reading “Cathedral, Mayonnaise, Pomegranate,” etc.

  6. Laura Woodring says:

    These chapters are a great reminder to select vocabulary for devices that are meaningful to our kids, and to let their preferences and desires shape core vocabulary selection.

  7. Jecel says:

    Language is Melody’s primary way of processing the world.She loves words (she can read and think deeply through them), which is ironic because she cannot speak. Melody’s descriptions of her disability are in stark contrast to her clear and humorous narration. She knows that, based on her looks, many people assume she’s not engaged with the world. Her narration makes clear, though, that she is constantly engaged and observant.

  8. Rachel Lacap says:

    I love that, despite the fact that Melody cannot speak the words out loud, the way in which she narrates this story paints a beautiful and sad picture in my mind. I can draw some parallels to my time working with adults post stroke with significant Broca’s Aphasia. How frustrating it must feel to have words, KNOW what you want to say, and not be able to SAY them. She has a great personality for living in such a frustrating situation.

  9. Lindsey Ludwig says:

    Melody is such an interesting little character. She is obviously so smart, but people can’t see beyond her physical appearance and perceived lack of communication. I currently have a quote on a chalkboard in my room that says “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” I feel like Melody is the embodiment of this quote, and hope that we, as SLP’s keep kids this quote and kids like Melody in mind when we go to work everyday. Whether we are always mindful of it or not, our ability to improve children’s communication truly helps them in virtually all aspects of life.

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