Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How to Improve Narrative Skills in Young Children

Young children with language delays often have limited ability to tell a narrative. 

Using storybooks in speech therapy to improve story-telling skills


Understanding and being able to tell a story are essential skills for academic success. Yet many of our students have difficulty with sentence structure and providing pertinent details. Their narratives are often disorganized and incomplete, without the correct introduction, sequence and conclusion. So how can you improve oral narrative skills?

Boost narrative skills with these easy-to-implement strategies



1. Read simple picture books to your students. 

The more familiar the tale, the better. In fact, be sure you read the same story for several sessions to improve your student's ability to comprehend and re-tell the tale.

When reading, use an excited, dramatic voice with lots of inflection to capture the children's attention. Emphasize main points. Point to the pictures and comment. Let the children point out things they notice too. Talk about how the characters feel.

Predict what will happen next. Use the word "because" as you tell the story to illustrate cause and effect. (The house blew down because it wasn't very strong). After you are finished, have your students retell the story as you turn the pages.

2. Act out familiar tales. 

Have the children direct! Have them tell you what characters you need, where the story takes place, what the problem is, and what to do first, next and so on. Encourage them to use a dramatic voice themselves as they act it out. Then have the children switch roles and act it out again.

3. Practice sequencing the pages as children re-tell the story.

Run a copy of each picture or take apart an old tattered copy and give a page to each child. Have the children put each page in order as they tell the story. You can do this in so many fun and memorable ways:

  • Make a storyboard from a piece of posterboard and glue the pictures.
  • Give one page to each child in the group and have them hold it in front of them as they arrange themselves in order, then have each tell about their page.
  • Use your whiteboard and tape each picture on the board in the correct order. 
  • Put up a clothesline, and have the children clip the page to the line with a clothespin.

4. Use storytelling puppets, magnet board pictures or flannel board pieces.  

These are terrific for engaging my students. I use them all the time and the children love them. The visuals add extra support for young story-tellers.


Puppets instantly ignite a child's imagination and they will be begging to participate. Talk to the puppet as if it's real. If you both have a puppet, have your puppet give the prompts in a conversational voice,  rather than you as the instructor. For instance, your puppet may say "Oooh, I am wondering where we are!" to elicit the location of the story setting.

Five Little Ducks Speech and Language Activities with book and storytelling pieces.

Magnet board story-telling pieces are great manipulatives.You can find many to print  I have a magnetic board at school. The side of a file cabinet can work great too if you don't have a magnet board. These are from my Five Little Ducks Unit.


Flannel board pieces. I have inherited flannel board pieces that I still love. I purchased a flannel board with a magnetic backing so it can stick to my magnetic whiteboard for an easy, large vertical surface.

Go Away Big Green Monster Story-telling pieces
Click for More Activities for Go Away Big Green Monster

A cookie sheet makes a great surface for smaller magnetic pieces. The pieces to make the monster's face is a free printable from Kizclub. They have many free printable patterns for other stories as well.


What if storybooks are too complex for your young learners to re-tell?


5.  Start with sequencing pictures

Sometimes, we need to start with pictures that illustrate a simple sequence. This encourages children to notice how the details change in each step and help children express what's happening. It also encourages the development of sequence vocabulary of first, then, next, last.

Some children may be only ready for two-part, first-then sequencing and retelling. Others may be able to sequence and retell several steps in the story.


Modify the sequencing task for learners at various levels. 


I need a variety of picture stories to keep interest high. My students also need various levels of support so I created my 4-Season Sequencing Activities Bundle. I included activities for 2, 3, and 4-step story sequences.

1. With my beginning story-tellers, I like to start with picture story puzzles. 

I tell the story first and demonstrate the sequence for my beginners. Then I mix up the puzzle and have them put it together and describe each picture. The puzzles provide extra visual support and are self-checking for the sequence. I start with 3-step, then 4-step puzzles. These 4-step picture puzzles are from my Spring Picture Story Sequencing Activities Pack.


Sequencing picture puzzles for spring speech therapy

2. Next, we sequence and re-tell with picture cards.

I begin with 2-step stories, then progress to 3 and 4-step stories. I designed sequencing mats to provide a visual structure for the cards.
This is from my Summer Picture Story Sequencing Activities Pack.


Sequencing picture cards and mat for summer speech therapy

3. We combine story re-tell with written narratives for older students.

  Of course, we know that written language skills are essential for academic success. Students with language and articulation delays,  or even a history of delays that are now resolved, are at a higher risk than their peers for difficulty in reading and writing. It's so important not to simply target oral language, but to support written language in our intervention as well. 

Many older children still benefit from picture support when writing narratives. 
I included cut and paste writing activities from 1-4 steps. These activities progress from writing a single sentence to writing a multiple sentence narrative. 

A fall writing activity with sequencing pictures for speech therapyA winter writing activity with sequencing pictures for speech therapy


What are your favorite strategies for boosting narrative skills?

Literacy-based therapy is a passion of mine for so many reasons. I am currently doing a bit of research for a presentation I'll be giving this summer. I'm getting lots of ideas, strategies, and tips that I hope to share as I learn more. (This is also why I have been out of pocket for a while, I hope you forgive me.)

How to Improve Narrative Skills in Young Children


What are your best tips?  I love hearing from SLPs what works for them. Tell us in a comment!

Until next time my friends,



  






Monday, January 22, 2018

Best-Ever Books for Basic Concepts: UP! TALL! and HIGH!

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson. www.speechsproutstherapy.com


This adorable book is perfect for teaching basic concepts in speech therapy.

I am always on the lookout for new books for my preschoolers that address basic concepts. This colorful book with the wacky birds caught my eye as I perused the library shelves because of the title... Up! Tall! and High! With a name like that, it sounded really promising and it didn't disappoint!

Up! Tall! and High! by Ethan Long is really three short and simple stories each focusing on a single concept. 

The whimsical little birds are the stars of each story and the illustrations are bright and appealing. The text is simple and repetitive, just what I look for in books for teaching early language skills.

The first story starts with a very proud (but not terribly tall) bird stating "I am tall!" 

His friend claims "I am tall!" Then a very small bird tries to one-up his buddies by standing on stilts! The book features large flaps that open to make the birds tall, very high, up and then down, adding to the fun.

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson. www.speechsproutstherapy.com

The second story is titled "I Can Go High."

The birds are at it again, trying to outdo each other, except for the penguin who can't go high because he doesn't... fly. The birds brainstorm a solution: helium balloons and up, up, up he goes, very high!

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson. www.speechsproutstherapy.com

The third story is all about "Up" and a bit of "Down" too.

The small bird is up in her nest, but her friend wants to be "up" too. Unfortunately, the second bird is too heavy, and you guessed it...they both come crashing down!

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson. www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Here are the basic concepts and a few tips for using this sweet book in speech therapy.

Talk about each page and the illustrations as you explore this book with your children. No need to rush through... enjoy each page together. Talk about:

Size concepts: tall and short
Ask the children if they are tall. Who is the tallest in their family? The shortest? How about the tallest and shortest in the therapy room? Line up and see who it is. Are there stuffed animals in the room? Which ones are the tallest? Shortest? Get out a ruler or a yardstick and see.

Size concepts: small, medium, large
The birds are different sizes. Point out who is large, medium and small. Grab some play dough and make some nests, small medium and large. Add some eggs and sort them by size. Are large birds always tall? Could they just be wide?

Position concepts: High and Low, Up and Down
Check out your bookshelf if you have one in the room. Find the high shelf, and then the low one. put small toys on the shelves. Are they high or low? Put some up high on a door sill or filing cabinet, and others down low. Let the children be the teacher and tell you which ones are high and which are low.

Grab some chairs. stand on them or sit cross-legged in them. Are you up? Now sit on the floor. Where are you? Down.

Wh questions
How did the small bird make himself tall?
Can you think of some tall animals?
Why couldn't the penguin go high?
How did he finally go high?
What else goes high?
Where did the birds sit when they were up?
Why did the nest crash down?

Teach basic concepts with this adorable book perfect for preschool speech therapy. Position concepts and size concepts.Includes tips for speech therapy activities to extend the lesson. www.speechsproutstherapy.com

After reading the book, with a little imagination, you can definitely fill your session with extra hands-on practice. 

Draw tall and short people. Cut out tall and short legs for a simple creature from construction paper. Use play dough and toys. Grab some blocks and build towers that are tall and short. Take a high and low or up and down walk... and find things in those places. Blow up a balloon and hit it up high. Who was highest? Blow some bubbles. Pop a high one, then a low one. Were they small, medium or large?


I would love to hear your ideas if you try this book. 

Now I want to check out another book by Ethan Long: In, Over and On the Farm! Have fun reading, and be sure to leave a comment if you know of other terrific books for basic concepts.

Until next time my friends, 

Friday, January 12, 2018

How to Build Language with 3 Easy Snowman Activities

Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game


Snowman crafts and games are perfect activities for winter language-building.


Children love snowmen. Even my preschoolers who have never seen snow are fascinated with the idea of snowmen. Who can blame them? There is something magical about snow that changes the world to a fresh white canvas and can be rolled into gigantic balls by mitten-covered children. Build a snowman and you have a new friend in your yard that is uniquely yours, even if he or she is temporary.

So why not use this naturally engaging theme to elicit all kinds of language and articulation practice too? 


We did just that last week and this week too in speech therapy. These snowman activities were created for three sessions of my large-group intensive preschool program, but are also terrific for in-class or small groups.  Too simple for older children? Nope! My bigger kiddos begged to play the game, and are always up for crafts.

On the first day, we read Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright. 

In this adorable book, Sneezy makes some ill-considered choices and melts several times. You would think he would avoid hot chocolate and campfires. Silly Sneezy!

After the story, we made melted snowmen.


 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game
Didn't these turn out cute?


Kiwi Crate shared a similar project, and it is perfect for Sneezy the Snowman!

You will need construction paper, paint, a brush, scissors, glue and wiggle eyes (or cut-out circles)

1. Cut out the snowman parts.
For my preschoolers, we pre-cut these. Older children will love cutting out a hat, scarf, carrot nose and even arms by themselves. For extra fun, you can use twigs for arms. You can use wiggle eyes, or hole-punched black circles work well too. (My kids absolutely love using my 3-hole puncher!)


Language Targets:
Vocabulary:  Talk about snowman vocabulary as you talk about each piece. What do you put on a snowman?  Maybe a hat, scarf, carrot nose, eyes, sticks, arms, buttons and mittens or gloves.

Categories: Have the children tell which items are clothing. What about the carrot? Can you think of other vegetables that would make funny noses? What can you use for eyes and buttons? Which parts do you find outside in nature?

2. Next, paint a swirly snow puddle on blue construction paper.
Paint this in the middle, rather than going edge to edge.

Talk about how snowmen are cold and frozen until they melt.

More Language Targets:
Vocabulary: paint, brush, swirl, puddle

Categories:
Things that are white. Snow is white. Can you think of other things that are white? (milk, teeth, polar bears, sheep, paper, glue, moon)

Things that are frozen and can melt. (ice cream, ice cubes, icicles, ice pops).
Why do they melt?

Verbs and object function: melt, paint, dip, brush, spread What do you do with a brush?

Regular Past-Tense Verbs: How did you make the snow? (painted)

Position Concept: Middle. Show me the middle of your paper. Show me the middle of the puddle.

3. Finally,  add your snowman parts, scarf and hat on top of the white paint. A dab of white glue will help ensure they don't fall off!


 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game


On Day 2 We read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehler

Snowman at Night is another one of my favorite winter stories for speech therapy. The snowmen come alive at night and slide to the park for all kinds of fun snowmen games! 


Snowman Squares


 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game



After reading the story, we made these cute snowmen, mosaic-style!

You will need construction paper, scissors, a marker, and glue.
1. Have your students cut out white squares or use a paper cutter to cut out the squares ahead of time for young children.
2. Create the snowman's face by overlapping the squares.
3. Add a carrot nose and snowflake squares.
4. You can draw circles for the eyes and mouth, or use paper circles.

On Day 3 We read Snow Friends by Christina Butler

In this sweet story, Bear wakes up to a beautiful white world and ventures out to play. The problem is, Bear is all alone, so he decides to build a snowman for a friend. While he is rolling the snowballs, he meets two real friends, Otter and Rabbit who help him, and up up then playing together all day.

After the story, we created these easy snowmen.


Paper Plate Snowmen


 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

"

This craft is super simple and easy for your youngest students.  Again, pre-cut a few simple parts for young children, or have your older students cut their own pieces. Offer several colors and let them choose!

1. Cut the top off the paper plates.
2. Cut out hats, and noses. you can take a marker and add a "hat-band" as shown.
3. We used our school die-cut machine to cut out circles for the eyes and mouth, plus shapes for hat decorations.
4. Grab some glue and let the children create!


Language Targets:
You can target the language targets above. In addition talk  this craft lends itself to talking about:

Same and Different: When the projects are finished, have children describe how their snowmen are the same as the others, and how they are different.

Story retell: Have the children retell how their snowman was made, step by step. Older children can write it out.
Sequencing and ordinal concepts: What did you do first, then, last?




Snowman Game


 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game
We had a "blast" with this fun snowman game in speech.




Watch the video to see this fun snowman game in action!

This game was a huge hit! You'll need a box, a plastic cup, craft knife, glue, construction paper, cotton balls or white pom-poms and an empty squeeze bottle.

1. Trace the large end of the cup about 2 inches from the lower bottom of the box.
2. Cut a hole for the cup and insert. 
3. Make a snowman face from construction paper on the bottom of the box, and cut over the cup for the mouth.
4. Add eyes, a nose, and a hat.
5. Cut out a red tongue about a foot long and laminate to make it slippery.
6. Glue one end of the tongue to the cup and drape the rest down on the table. You're ready!

To Play:
After your students answer a question or say their words, give them a "snowball" to place on the tongue. Take aim with the squeeze bottle and blow the snowball into his mouth. Fun!


These snowman activities are just right for targeting articulation too.

You can practice syllables and /sn/ blends with these activities too so they are perfect for mixed groups.  (Sneezy, snowman, snowflake, snip, snow, snowball, sniffle.) When engaged in craft activities, have the children say their word or sentence before they glue each part.

If you would like more activities for a great winter story, take a peek at my Snowman at Night Speech Therapy Book Companion. 

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game


I hope you enjoy a little snowy fun in speech!  


Until next time, my friends.





Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Fear of Missing Out? Read The Best of SLP Blog Posts




SLP/ Speech Therapy Blog Posts / Speech Sprouts

Are you missing out on the best of SLP blog posts?

It's terrific that there are so many SLPs out there sharing their expertise, insights, ideas, and resources. But that's just it... there ARE so many! In the last few years, speech and language blogs have exploded. You can't possibly read every single post out there, I know how busy you are! Everyone has their favorite bloggers, but you may be missing out on some truly terrific content by others.


What if you could find the very best SLP blog posts... in one spot!


I asked some of my SLP blogging buddies to share their most popular, truly awesome, most-proud-of posts from the past 2 years, to make it easy for you to find that must-read content. Take a look, have you missed any of these?

I hope you find it's a treasure-trove of SLP goodness! I had sooo much fun reading these posts! Pin and bookmark this blog post, and come then back when you are ready to read more. Any other super-fabulous posts you'd love to nominate? Tell us in the comments. Happy reading!


The Best of SLP Blog Posts Round-Up:

Want to learn more about AAC?


I Made These 3 Mistakes Teaching the Picture Communication System, Have You? by Lisette at Speech Sprouts (Me!)
Pretty simple, certainly low-cost, and easy enough for anyone to implement, right? Actually no. Read about the mistakes I've made (and you can avoid!) teaching communication interchanges using PECS. I was honored to have this post quoted in the ASHA Leader this year!

7 Ways to Get Started with Young Emerging Communicators by Susan Berkowitz
How can you add more AAC and communication opportunities for students with multiple challenges? From incorporating AAC in story time, adapting symbols for children with cortical impairments, choosing switches, or making large, classroom-sized communication boards, you'll find great ideas in this post!

You Call That Reading Instruction? Not for AAC Users! by Susan Berkowitz
Susan talks about why incorporating shared reading and discussion is so important to build background knowledge for literacy skills and shows us how to go beyond the typical "what" questions by providing a robust vocabulary in a child's AAC system.


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Need ideas for articulation?


Childhood Apraxia of Speech- What SLPs Need to Know by Lisette of Speech Sprouts
If you haven't read my series on CAS, this is the post to start with. I share the information I learned from the amazing Dr. Edythe Strand. I promise you'll come away with a deeper understanding and strategies too. It's a must-read!

Mirror Neuron: The Science of Sight in Speech by Lindsey of Speechy Things
What are mirror neurons, and what does that have to do with articulation therapy? If you are a bit of a science geek like me, you'll want to read this post to find out! Don't forget to grab Lindsey's freebie handout for parents on the importance of having a child "watch me".

Road Maps for Speech Sounds: Organizing & Books for R by Ashley of Sweet Southern Speech
Take a peek at Ashley's favorite book suggestions for incorporating stories with R practice. Have you read The Horse in Harry's Room? While you're there grab a free download. Thanks, Ashley!

Frontal Lisps by Lindsey of Speechy Things
Seven things you can do with those frontal lispers who will just NOT generalize. Have any of those?


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Like to get organized?


Articulation ToolBox DIY by Ashley of Sweet Southern Speech
If you love organization hacks, you'll want to see how Ashley turns a craft storage container into a color-coordinated masterpiece! Make your own labels or purchase labels to match your favorite colors. Easy Peasy!

Organizing Your Data for Progress Reports by Mary of Old School Speech
I have to admit it- progress reports are one of my least favorite chores! See how Mary uses Google Drive and Google Sheets to keep data and give you those averages at lightning speed when it's progress report time.

Scheduling Efficient Make-up Therapy Sessions by Viola of the 8th Word Wonder
Handling large-group make-up sessions is a challenge. Viola shares some great ideas for group activities that will get everyone engaged.

10 Reasons to Use Speech Folders by Jennifer of Speech Therapy Fun
Jennifer shares how using speech therapy folders keeps her organized and saves her sanity! If you want to give it a try, be sure to download Jennifer's freebie while you're there.


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Plan to get your students moving?


Using Balls in Therapy by Collette of Alberta Speechie
Collette shares how to use communication temptations, target requesting, turn-taking, following directions, expanding sentences and more using every child's favorite toy. Bounce one in your next session!

Five Ways to Use the Hallway in Speech Therapy by Jennifer of Speech Therapy Fun
Have some speech-on-the-go fun with these five hallway games that will turn travel time into therapy time!


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Preparing to up your assessment game?


Language Assessment: Don't Forget the Language Sample by Collette of Alberta Speechie
Learn how you can find out a plethora of information about a child's language skills using a simple language sample. Be sure you download Collette's handy form to help you analyze your next language sample- the link to this great freebie is at the end of her second point.


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Thinking about professional issues?


The Post That Broke My Heart on Several Levels by Mary of Old School Speech
Many school-based SLPs are discouraged with their work environment. We see many posts on social media talking about job burnout and dissatisfaction. Read Mary's advice from the trenches on how to make things go better when you are feeling "stuck".

10 Things You Should Never Say to a School-Based SLP by Lisette of Speech Sprouts
Have you heard some of these? Whether you agree with each point or not, this post sparked plenty of healthy discussions. Get ready to advocate and educate.

Busy SLP? 5 Tips to Make Your Life Easier and Less Stressful by Kristen of Talkin' With Twang
Unfortunately, a huge challenge for SLPs is that we're super-busy and time-stressed. How do you take care of yourself when trying to keep up? Read these important reminders and tips, then resolve to put a few in place!

Skipping ASHA by Kim of Activity Tailor
I know I have major fear of missing out when ASHA is coming up. Kim talks about her decision to skip ASHA for the first time in seven years, and why it's really ok. What do you think?

The Importance of Work-Team Relationships by Laura of All Y'All Need.
Do you work as a licensed assistant or supervise one? Read Laura's 5 tips for relationship-building and making a great team!


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Gathering resources for parents and teachers?


Developing and Improving Language Skills on the Playground by Darla of Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room
A terrific post with wonderful, easy-to-understand language development suggestions for parents of young children that can be implemented on the playground or when cuddling with a storybook. Refer your parents to this one and check out Darla's book suggestions... I know I will!

Comprehension Difficulties in the Classroom and How You Can Help by The SLT Scrapbook
This blog is written by a dynamic UK husband and wife duo. They packed this post full of practical suggestions for increasing comprehension in the classroom. You'll want to share this one with your classroom teachers.

Making Therapy Fun! by Speechbloguk
Another UK duo is behind this blog. Read and share how parents can practice and keep their children motivated.


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Ready to boost those language skills?



Building Your Students Vocabulary by Mia of Putting Words in Your Mouth
Did you know that high-performing students know about 2x the number of words as low performing students? See where SLPs can focus to have the greatest impact. And don't forget to download Mia's Tier II freebie to get you started.

I Spy Sensory Bin To Build Language by Felice of The Dabbling Speechie
You'll love this colorful jumbo straw sensory bin and tips for eliciting plenty of language while playing "I Spy". Felice has you covered with a free download for you to use with your next bin!

Why You Should be Using Barrier Games by Allison Fors
Allison loves barrier games for learning language skills, walks you through how to use them and has great suggestions for using toys in barrier games too. She has a free barrier game download for you too!


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Brushing up on therapy skills and approaches?


I Played Card Games Wrong and How I Fixed It by Laura of All Y'All Need
If you're playing card games the traditional way, you may find that some of your students get frustrated. Laura shares simple strategies to fix that and shares great tips on how to make the most of language learning while playing games.

Resonant Voice Excercise is Better Than Vocal Rest? by Kristie of A Tempo Voice Center
Have you heard about the "scream study?" Learn why the traditional prescription of vocal rest may not be the most effective approach in your repertoire.


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Listening on your list?


Listening Comprehension and Following Directions With Magnet Sets by Kim of Activity Tailor
Instead of barrier games, how about barrier stories? Kim buys her magnet sets in pairs. Read how she tells a simple story as the scene is constructed, targeting listening and language!

7 Games To Encourage Listening in a Group by Helen of Speechbloguk
You'll love Helen's ideas for group listening games, and your students will too! Have you played Potato Salad or I Went Shopping?


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Working with children with autism?


8 Things You Need to Know When Working With a Student Who Has Autism (#1) Mia of Putting Words in Your Mouth
Do you wonder where to start with some students? Learn why joint attention is KING and watch the video Joint Attention Test. Find out how to speak less and play more to establish the basis of communication!

3 Reasons I Use Visual Session Schedules in Speech & More! by Mandi of Panda Speech
Mandi shares why a visual schedule during therapy sessions can benefit any student and shows how she uses them. Grab a free session schedule and first-then board while you're there!


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Pondering social skill development or play skills for students on the spectrum?


Six Ways to get MORE From Social Skills Interventions by Donna of Badger State Speechie
Is it that your student needs direct instruction to be taught the skill, or just needs more practice?  Donna shares how to approach different needs and teach the vocabulary to go with it.

Can I Talk at You? by Heidi of Smartmouth SLP
Do you have students with high functioning autism that are very verbal, but don't know how to have a give and take conversation? Heidi breaks down the skills we can be looking for and working on.

Autism: Teaching Playskills With a Shoebox by Linda of Looks Like Language
I bet you've seen work jobs used in structured teaching. But how about using a shoebox to visually sequence play skills? I love this social skills idea and Linda shows you step by step how to set it up and use it.

Practical Tips for Treating Echolalia by Linda of Looks Like Language
If you're ready to work on changing echolalia into more functional language skills, you MUST read this post! Linda shows you how to use visuals, scripts and repetitive books and gives plenty of tips along the way.


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Love story-book based therapy?


10 Terrific Storybooks for Speech Therapy and How to Use Them by Lisette at Speech Sprouts
Read my round-up of terrific storybook suggestions by the SLPs at Speech Spotlight. Will you find a new favorite? I did!

How to Use One Book to Make Speech Fun and Functional by Hallie of Speech Time Fun
Grab a terrific book and use it across your caseload! Hallie shares plenty of ideas and strategies for addressing goals with books in therapy.


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Considering Volunteering Your SLP Skills Abroad?


SLP on a Mission... A Look at My Trip To Honduras by Kristen of Talkin' With Twang. Kristen did just that... and shares her experiences with us. Read about her work with the students of a Christian school and a special little girl named Elsi who happens to have a cleft palate.


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How About Using Videos in Speech Therapy?


Do You Know the Biscotti Kid? by Heidi of Smartmouth SLP

Did you know Sesame Street has a library of social-emotional videos on YouTube that you can use? Read how Heidi incorporates the video The Biscotti Kid to teach whole-body listening. Awesome!


I hope you enjoyed this list, and maybe even found some new favorite SLP blogs to follow.

SLP/ Speech Therapy Blog Posts / Speech Sprouts
Pin & share with your slpeeps!

Please share this list with your SLP peeps if you enjoyed it! What topics would you most like to read and learn about and in the coming year? Leave your suggestions, because I'll bet there is an SLP blogger with just the expertise you are looking for who would love to share.



Until next time my friends,


Sunday, November 5, 2017

2 Quick and Easy Turkey Day Games for Free: Just Don't Eat Tom!

Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Games Freebie: Don't Eat Tom! www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Turkey Day is around the corner and you need a tantalizing therapy plan. 

What have you got cooking? Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday tailor-made to get your students talking about food, feelings, friends and family. And fun. Whew! Lots of /f/ there. But here's the thing:

It's November. You're tired. Your students are wired. It's the reality of the season. 

If you're like me, you've been going full steam ahead on referrals, assessments, and meetings. Hunched over your computer or driving to your next school while you wolf down lunch. Do this, finish that, and oh! Don't miss any therapy sessions. Yeah, that's tired me talking. Time-starved fall can be tough!

On the other hand, our students have had Halloween, a week of dress-up Red Ribbon days, fall fun events and so, soooo many assemblies. Wiggle city and chasing squirrels. Sound about right?

So how do you lasso your student's attention for the next couple of weeks? 

Time to make the most of quick, simple and highly engaging activities around the holiday and season. Make 'em low-prep. Because you don't... have...time.  Don't stress, I've got you covered!

I am so very grateful for you, my sweet and supportive followers, so I have created a couple yummy freebies for you.

2  Quick, Easy (and Delicious!) Thanksgiving Game Freebies

Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Games Freebie: Don't Eat Tom! www.speechsproutstherapy.com


Don't Eat Tom!

Start by choosing a goal and six words or prompts for each student. You can write those in the box, or pop a Quick List in the box. (I've included 5 different Quick Lists for you!)

Here's how to play:

  1. While one student isn't looking or out of the room, the remaining students choose a character to be "Tom".
  2. Put a small treat on each character. This could be candy, popcorn, cereal or even bingo chips or tokens if food is a no-no.
  3. The first student then names the picture, answers a question, or says their word the number of times shown in that square. 
  4. The student eats or collects the treat on the square, moves on to the next square, and repeats. 
  5. When the student gets to the treat on "Tom", everyone shouts Don't eat Tom!" and their turn is over. 
Of course, the object is to avoid Tom and collect or eat as many treats as you can!


Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Games Freebie: Don't Eat Tom! and Dinnertime! www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Dinner Time!

The graphics were so cute, I made a matching game too for my little ones. This is great for teaching Thanksgiving food vocabulary, colors (find one that's green), categories or following directions. (Find a yellow vegetable.)

Print an extra set or two of cards and play Memory or Go Fish! too.

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What are Quick Lists?

These are handy little 2-inch square lists that I have made for several packs now. Read more about my Quick Lists here: 3 Sure-Fire Ways to Conquer Mixed Group Madness.

I've included Quick Lists to target these skills:


• Name a food that is___. (roasted, crunchy)
• Describe the food.
• Name the category members (desserts, dairy)
• Which do you ___? (Name a food that matches the verb...bake, slice)
• Use the words in a sentence. (She likes, he cuts) (verb and s-blend practice)


Quick Lists and No-Prep BW sheets for stress-free holiday sessions!
Quick Lists & No-Prep BW activities for stress-free sessions!

No Color Ink?

I know many of you don't have access to color printing, so I always try to make a BW version for you. You can also use the BW version as a coloring activity or home practice sheet. See? You've just covered a whole lot of bases with just one little set. So go download HERE!

Please leave feedback in my store if you do, I appreciate that so much!

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Want more great Fall Speech Therapy Activities?

Here are fall activities in my store you'll love:

Any age:

Thanksgiving Mixed Group Magic Quick List Activities A whole pack of no-prep BW activities: color by number, mystery squares, puzzles and more.
Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles Perfect for any size groups, children solve the rhyming riddles to play.
Autumn Vocabulary Games: Open-ended games for each fall month. Spell Autumn to win!

For littles K-1st grade:

Pumpkin, Pumpkin Where Can You Be? A fun send-home reader and plenty of therapy activities for concepts.
Fall Picture Story Sequencing

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I'm wishing you all a stress-free November and a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Games Freebie: Don't Eat Tom! and Dinnertime! www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Download these FREE games here.
Holiday hugs for all. (Yes, I am a hugger. But mostly with my peeps, and that's you!)

Don't forget to download your freebie. Can't wait to hear from you!

Until next time my sweet friends!






Friday, October 20, 2017

Monkeyshines in the Speech Room: Adorable Five Little Monkeys Craft and Language Activities

 Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree...the story.



We made this this adorable Five Little Monkeys Craft after reading the storybook. My preschoolers absolutely loved it! Add a tie for boys, a boy for girls. Too. Cute! www.speechsproutstherapy.com


My preschoolers love those naughty little monkeys who boast: "You can't catch me!" So do you think you can capture the attention of a group of preschoolers for the second day of Five Little Monkeys Pre-K speech therapy? Oh yeah. You bet.

We talked about Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed in my last post and I shared a cute FREE little monkey dot marker activity. (free download for subscribers!) Be sure to take a peek. We had lots of fun, and my sweeties were definitely up for more.

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Day two was all about Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree.


Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree: Fun preschool speech and language activity ideas www.speechsproutstherapy.com


Of course, we started off by reading the adorable story by Eileen Christelow. Repetitive stories like this are perfect to encourage children to participate. Do the fingerplay actions as you turn the pages, and your preschoolers will enthusiastically chant the rhyme along with you.

Each time the crocodile sneaks up another monkey we make "jaws" with our two hands, open wide and ...SNAP! One more little monkey missing.  Oh no! On the upside, it's terrific practice for the /sn/ blend!

Here are the fingerplay motions:

1.  Five little monkeys swinging in a tree. 
 (Hold up your hand with all five fingers hanging down, and make the monkeys swing!)

2.  Teasing Mr. Crocodile, You can't catch me! (point to your shoulder with your thumb)

3.  Along came Mr. Crocodile swimming quietly...... (put your palms together and make him swim through the water.)

4.  SNAP! (Move your hands apart like jaws, then clap your hands together.)

5.  Repeat with four fingers and so on, until there are no monkeys left!


This puppet gives me story-telling super powers!


Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree: Fun preschool speech and language activity ideas www.speechsproutstherapy.com

When I saw him on a trip to New Orleans, I knew I had to have him. Did I buy jewelry or a cute dress while there? Nope. I was drooling over the puppets in a little toy store.

I'm pretty much always in the preschool frame of mind. Love, love my littles!

While reading the story, this guy helps me turn pages, then gets ready to snap up some monkeys for dinner.

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Five Little Monkeys activities my kids totally loved.

We didn't stop there. We had to do a cute little craft, a fun game, and some send-home pages too!

Five Little Monkeys Craft


We made this this adorable Five Little Monkeys Craft after reading the storybook. My preschoolers absolutely loved it! Add a tie for boys, a boy for girls. Too. Cute! www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Make this easy Five Little Monkeys craft- simple and oh-so-cute!

We made these adorable monkeys, and of course embedded plenty of language and articulation practice along the way: body parts, requesting, /st/ (We love to say "stick in on!" as we glue a piece.) We decorated with bows. bow-ties and business ties too. I love seeing how each child makes it their own.




How do I fit in all these activities?

I have centers set up in my preschool therapy program, and our "art" center is one stop. You may not use my delivery model, but if you do in-class therapy you could do each activity as a center, or simply use the activities over several sessions in a traditional pull-out setting. Boy, does that make planning easy! Plus the repetition is fantastic for comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and story retelling.

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The Perfect Five Little Monkeys Game


In our "activity" center, we played this fun game. Say your words and you get a monkey to put in the tree! Be careful though, because the "tree top" is attached with a magnet and will fall if you don't balance those monkeys. And down below? There is a hungry crocodile of course!

The perfect game to go with Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree. Many more preschool speech and language activity ideas in this post from  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
The perfect game to go with Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree.

This game is called the "Monkeying Around Game", and I see it online available from several sources if you are looking for it. (I am not affiliated in any way with this game, and get no compensation for the recommendation- I just think it's way fun!)

FREE Home Practice Activities


I always like sending something home for carryover practice, so I created these activities. It's a freebie available in my Teachers pay teacher's store. This fun little collection of 6 activities (color by number, mystery squares, friendly faces and more) coordinates with my Mixed Group Magic and Quick List sets.

What that means is that there is a box on each activity where you can paste a custom list for each child, whether it's s-blends, initial /m/, wh questions or other goals. Head over and download this Freebie for yourself and pretty please leave me feedback in my store when you do. I really appreciate it!

Find this freebie here: Five Little Monkeys Quick List Activities.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Five-Little-Monkeys-Speech-Therapy-Quick-List-Activities-3441153
Five Little Monkeys Quick List Activities for Speech & Language
If you haven't grabbed my Five Little Monkeys Dot Marker Activity in my last post, you will want to head there too. It's free when you sign up as a subscriber! Click here to read the post:  Best-Ever Books for Preschool Speech Therapy: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

Themed therapy rocks! 


Don't you agree? I think this unit will keep your littles busy and learning for quite a while. What are some of your favorite themes and storybooks? I'm always looking for new favorites, so leave a comment and share yours!

Until next time my friends,






Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Best-Ever Books for Preschool Speech Therapy: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree Speech Therapy Language Activities www.speechsproutstherapy.com

We just finished up our Five Little Monkeys week with my preschoolers. So much speech and language covered and oodles of enthusiasm!


I pulled out this unit for my Pre-K program, but my Kinders saw some of the activities and begged to do them. (I have never met a child who doesn't love monkeys.) It was perfect for them. My second through fourth graders saw our game and wanted to play too. I love it when that happens, easy planning for me, and engagement galore.


My Favorite Five Little Monkeys Books

Eileen Christelow has written adorable books to illustrate the traditional rhymes and fingerplays, and added more adventures too! You could easily spend two weeks this unit, and there are plenty of speech and language goals to target.

My favorite titles are Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree. These books are perfect for speech therapy because they have repetitive text, simple storylines, and adorable illustrations the children love.


First,  we read Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.


Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Speech Therapy Language Activities www.speechsproutstherapy.com

The story starts out with the little monkeys getting ready for bed. They brush their teeth, Mama tucks them in and says goodnight. The little monkeys are supposed to be going to sleep, but as you probably have heard, these mischevious little monkeys start jumping on the bed as soon as Mama leaves the room.

One by one the little monkeys fall off and bump their heads in this countdown song. Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Mama makes a call to the doctor each time who admonishes, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" My children just love that the monkeys are naughty.

We use finger puppets for the monkeys. 

A felt board set or printables will work. But I have this cute little set of finger puppet monkeys that match the illustrations. It's By Merrymakers. You can find it at many stores online including Target and Walmart. (I'm not an affiliate, and get no compensation... just want to help you locate it if you like!)

 I also have a little "bed" for the monkeys. Truth...you may say stay away from the teacher giveaway table at school. ("You don't need more stuff!") But I scored this! Just saying.

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Speech Therapy Language Activities www.speechsproutstherapy.com

If you haven't acquired a little bed, you can easily make one for your monkeys. 

To make a simple bed, just put together a cardboard box, a small soft cushion, and a few dish towels. We take turns making the monkeys jump on our bed. They fall off and get a huge bump on their head of course. Ouch!

Goals you can target with Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

1. Articulation: this rhyme is sound-loaded with initial /m/ (monkeys, Mama, more) and "J" (jumping) for articulation practice.
2. Position concepts on/off. How many monkeys are "on" the bed? Who is off?
3. Verb + ing: jumping. What is she doing?
4. Regular past tense verbs: jumped, bumped, called
5. Irregular past tense verbs: fell
6. Regular plural: monkeys
7. Answering Where? Questions. Use finger puppets or printables to place monkeys in various places and positions. Ask "Where is the monkey?"

More Five Little Monkeys Activities

After reading our story, we went to the table for some drill on our skills. We used our dot markers to complete this home-made motivational page. You do NOT need anything fancy to engage young children. They totally loved this activity that was hand-sketched from a picture we found.



Maybe you're thinking you can't draw. (Neither can I, this was sketched by my talented assistant, Susan.) So if you prefer a ready-made activity, I went ahead and made one for you! He's fun to use with dot markers, crayons, bingo chips or even pompoms and over-sized tweezers to give him a fuzzy belly!

Get this subscriber-only free download (and more!) when you sign up HERE. Already a subscriber? Just fill out the form, and I will send your link!

FREE Five Little Monkeys Speech Therapy Activity for Dot Markers & more! www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Click here to sign up and download this FREE activity! 

If you have read my blog post- Intensive Service Delivery Model for Preschool Speech Therapy, you know that I have two-hour sessions with my littles. We had several activities during our one long session, but you can absolutely target any theme across several shorter sessions.

Review and Story Re-telling

 I love being able to review and ask the children to "re-tell" what we did the last session (or at the beginning of our long session.) Bonus: You get to read the story again. Repeated storybook readings are fabulous for reinforcing vocabulary, setting up children for success in answering questions and giving them plenty of opportunities for story re-tell.

We wrapped up our session by watching This adorable video from Super Simple Songs:





If you think this was more fun than a barrel of monkeys, you will want to read about Day 2 

We couldn't neglect The Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree. Check out my next post: Monkeyshines in the Speech Room: Adorable Five  Little Monkeys Craft and Language Activities.
You'll find a fun craft, and a link to another freebie that's full of monkey business. Sorry, couldn't help myself, but I think that's all the "monkey sayings" I can muster for right now.  (Insert chuckle and a grin.

If you have some great 5 Little Monkeys ideas, please comment and share. I would love to hear them!

Until next time my friends,