Thursday, October 27, 2016

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

There are monsters in my speech therapy room.

I'm ready for Halloween in my speech therapy room, with bats and ghosts and pumpkins galore. But this week, the monsters moved in.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

Monsters have been here before, helping us to learn prepositions, concepts and telling us stories. But this time the monster was big and green and had sharp teeth. He came in when we read a favorite storybook of mine, Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly.

Go Away, Big Green Monster is great for Halloween speech therapy.

I read Go Away, Big Green Monster to my preschool and kindergarten students every year.  I try to read it at Halloween because of the fun monster theme, but it's a great story for any time of year. It does not mention Halloween, so it could be appropriate for those settings where Halloween activities are not encouraged.

The monster theme helps children face their fears. 

When you use not-too-scary monsters it's really fun. Every child has had fears, and monsters are a way for children to express and their fears and face them. With this book, they can even make them disappear!


The story begins by telling us the Big Green Monster has two big yellow eyes.

Spooky right? As you turn the pages, more parts appear. 

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comGo Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

The pages are die-cut, and you can see the layers below, giving the monster a feeling of depth. The simple, bold illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. This story features repetitive text, which is perfect to encourage the children to participate in "reading" with me and re-telling the story.

This is a great story for working on body parts and adjectives.

The monster adds eyes, mouth, teeth, nose, ears, face and hair as you turn the pages. He looks scarier as you go. The body parts have wonderful descriptions, creating an opportunity to work on adjectives: big, long, sharp, squiggly, scraggly.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comThese monster puppets are perfect for following up the story later. I have my children request the body parts to make their puppets.

I snagged this set at a garage sale, and have not been able to find another. However, if you are interested in a build-a-monster puppet set, Melissa and Doug have one, available on several sites. (I do not receive any compensation for providing this link, and have no relationship with Melissa and Doug. I simply want to point out that similar sets are available.)

You can see it HERE.

Use the "I'm wondering" strategy

Make comments and ask questions as you read.  Use the "I'm wondering" strategy to make a comment, and children will be anxious to participate and enlighten you. "Oooh, I'm wondering how those teeth feel. Sharp?  I think you're right. What else can we think of that's sharp? What do you think scraggly means?"

We also talk about feelings when we read this book. Is the green face scary? What else is scary? Are spiders scary? Are bunny rabbits scary?

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comPractice expanding sentences and articulation of velar /g/ with the repetitive text.

After the monster has fully appeared, children can practice telling him to "go away" on each page. It gives them a wonderful feeling of control and empowerment to tell that monster to leave, they love this part!

The phrase "Go away...." repeats, offering multiple opportunities to use initial /g/. Each page describes a body part, encouraging children to use 5-word sentences to re-tell the story. "Go away, sharp white teeth."


Children love re-telling the monster story.

I have used several ways to work on narratives with this story. We use these magnet board pieces while we read. They also make a great center activity when placed on a cookie sheet.

You can find these free printable storybook pieces at KizClub HERE.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

Last year I found this cute puppet with velcroed pieces at Lakeshore

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

If you don't have the budget for that, you may want to make this simple set from a few pieces of felt. It was pretty easy and inexpensive.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy


Art offers plenty of opportunities for requesting and sentence construction. 

 We have tried several projects, here are two of my favorites. 

Make a construction paper Big Green Monster.

The first one simply requires glue and construction paper. I pre-cut the body parts and put them in the bags. The children have to request what they need. I don't limit them to the colors in the book- let them be creative! Pinking shears make great scraggly hair, and a hole punch will make lots of little black circles for the pupils in the eyes. 

Try painting with this monster project.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comIf you are a little braver, get black construction paper, brushes, and tempera paints. 
1.Cut out eyes, ears, noses mouth and teeth to add to your painting. 
2. Fold a large piece of paper in half. 
3. Have the children generously paint one side of the paper. We use green, purple and blue. 
4. Then fold the paper in half again, with the paint on the inside. Press the whole surface of the paper. 5. Now, open it up. You will have two sides. Symmetry anyone? 
6. Add the paper body parts with a bit of white glue to the painted face... you can do this while it's wet. 

I love seeing how each creation is different, and that is another great topic of conversation. 


Go Away Big Green Monster Book Companion

I'm excited to share my new book companion for this story. I wanted additional opportunities to target goals with this fun story, so I created a book companion. Here are a few of the activities.

Work on final s-blends and syntax.

 There are fun round cards for final /ps/, /ts/ and /ks/. Put the silly items in the monster's tummy, and say the sentence. My children loved this activity today. You will also work on plurals, third person singular and irregular past tense "ate" with these hungry monsters.

Practice articulation and sorting by categories.

There are colorful cards for articulation of initial /m/ and initial and final /g/. The cards double as a category sorting opportunity with this mat.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

Say the sentence as you smash the dough

Expand sentences and practice articulation at the sentence level, as you smash the balls of dough on these smash mats. This was a big hit in my room. (no pun intended)

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

Wh questions, Yes/ no questions, story comprehension, object function and prepositional concepts and an open-ended game too. 

I really like to have a wide variety of activities and targets in my packs, so that I can pull one... and done. It's so much easier to pull a single pack for the day, rather than searching for multiple activities to  meet your caseloads needs.

You'll find cards for many targets. You can use them as you play Chomp! This is a fun open-ended spinner game. Use candy corn for teeth, or the included "teeth" to place on the squares in the monster's mouth. Be the first to collect a mouthful of teeth. Hope he doesn't bite!  

Have a monstrously good time.

  I hope you enjoy a few spooky activities with your children this fall. I would love to hear about your favorite monster or other seasonal activities.

Until next time!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier.

Team relationships are critical for SLPs (and everyone else) at work.  

The Frenzied SLPs are talking about team-building this week, and I am linking up with them on this important topic.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier.
How SLPs Can Build Awesome Team Relationships

You see your co-workers every day, often more than your best friends and family. These are people that can make your work life happier and easier if you build great relationships. A rocky relationship can make you dread going to work, feeling grouchy and alone.

What are the keys to successful team relationships when you are the supervisor? 

This year I have added a speech pathology assistant and a paraprofessional to my team. I am happy to say, it's going great. These tips are also valuable for many other team relationships as well. Here's what works for us.

Offer respect and acknowledgment.

Everyone wants to feel their contributions are valued. I think this is the most important of all.  Let your co-worker know when you appreciate something they have done. Acknowledge their ideas, and encourage them to run with them if it fits with what you need to accomplish. You have great ideas, I bet they do too.

You will likely be amazed at how fresh ideas perk things up in your therapy room, and your co-workers will get to take pride and feel invested in your activities and practice. My para suggested we paint pumpkins with our preschoolers and it went beautifully with targeting initial /p/ and language skills.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your work life easier and happier.
Painting Pumpkins for Initial /p/

Be clear about expectations and duties.

Talk about it, better yet write it out at the beginning. This can avoid misunderstandings and hard feelings. No-one wants to be "called out" on something they weren't clear on.

Explain what you are trying to accomplish, and why. 

It can be frustrating and confusing to be asked to do certain things when you don't understand the end goal or big picture. We need to feel invested in a worthy goal to give our best, be cooperative and be cheerful about it! I like to explain the "why" when I give a task or direction to my co-workers.

Why is it super important for my student with apraxia to repeat a stimulus word 25 times? Give a mini-explanation of block practice and motor-learning theory. (See more about CAS HERE). Why do I speak in such direct, short sentences to my non-verbal student with autism, when I give directives? Why should your co-worker  talk less and show more too? A brief overview of language processing difficulties can help with understanding and carry-over of this strategy.

Pitch in and help.

Everyone needs a hand sometimes.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier.
Articulation Cards for Go Away Green Monster Book Companion

I know our plates are overflowing, but a few minutes of offering to help can go a long way toward team-building. When you pitch in and help occasionally, your co-workers see that feel you are in this together and are not placing yourself "higher" than they are in respect. I'll bet they will be more likely to cheerfully go that extra mile for you when you need it. 

Get to know each other as a person. 

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.comWhat does your co-worker enjoy? What are they proud of? Ask about their family. People will respond much better to you if they feel you really "see" them as a person and are interested on a personal level. It builds trust and you will likely enjoy your time together much more too!

Be sure to check out more great posts on this topic by my blogger buddies in the Frenzied SLPs. 

Just click the links below.

Until next time!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Things You Should Never Say to a School-Based SLP

Sometimes school-based SLPs feel a bit misunderstood, and there a few things we would love everyone to know. 

10 Things you should never say to a school-based SLP. Which ones have you heard?

Don't get me wrong, working as a school-based SLP is very rewarding. I love my school. We have a terrific principal, and we have a warm friendly staff who can be very supportive and understanding. I wouldn't trade working with my children, and many of my parents are absolutely wonderful.

Still, speech-language pathologists are often reminded that many people at school really don't understand what we do. I am not really sure why. I know I explain it all the time, and it's something we have to work on every year.

There is no mystery surrounding the role of teachers, the school nurse, the school psychologist, diagnostician or even the physical therapist.  Yet somehow, people have a hard time understanding what SLPs do, and that we are highly trained specialists with a lot to offer.

There are certain comments SLPs hear that can make us feel less valued. 

I asked my fellow SLPs to share, and the following list are some of the most commonly heard remarks. Have you heard these, or GASP! said some yourself?  Please, if you are an administrator, staff member or parent, inform yourself and think before you say anything like the following comments.


10 comments that can make SLPs cringe!

1. "You work on vocabulary too? I thought you only did speech." 

If you didn't know: SLPs work on articulation, fluency (stuttering), language skills (vocabulary, concepts, comprehension, expression, grammar, inference and more), voice disorders, swallowing disorders, and social skills.

2. "It must be nice to only have 4 or 5 students at a time." 

Actually, it can be very difficult to address 5 sets of individualized goals at once, while taking data and scaffolding for each child. I am very aware that teachers have a demanding job, please understand we are working hard too.

3. Are you the speech teacher? 

Here's the thing: I am not a teacher. My mom was a teacher, my sister is a teacher. I am not. I do not hold a teaching certificate and have never taken education coursework. This is true for SLPs in many states.

I am a specialist with medically-based graduate training. While I highly respect our amazing teachers, when you call me a "speech teacher" it creates misunderstanding about my area of expertise and what I have to offer. Please call me the speech-language pathologist, or if that is too long, the SLP works great.

4. You play games all day, don't you?

I do play games with my young students. A motivated student is a child who is engaged and learning. The games are a tool. Serious work happens in the therapy room.

5. Can he bring his snack to speech? Speech therapy is a setting where we talk while we are learning and practicing important foundational skills for academic success. These are areas your student has demonstrated weaknesses. Your student can't do that with his mouth full, and it will distract him from the work. Please have him leave the snack behind when he comes to speech.

6. My child doesn't need to see the speech teacher. I take her to a real speech therapist after school. She has a master's degree and knows how to help my child.

Dear Parent: There is no difference in our credentials and training. School-based SLPs and private therapists both go through the same coursework and hold the same degrees. I choose to work in the schools. (This is one example why calling me a "speech teacher" causes misunderstanding).

7. He needs additional help in math and reading, so we want to start him with a speech label. What can we qualify him for?

A speech impairment is based on a speech or language disorder and is a disability requiring specialized speech services. It is not a gateway for services for children who do not qualify under another recognized disability. Please don't ask this.  It is unethical and illegal to "qualify" a child as speech impaired when the child does not demonstrate a speech or language disorder and doesn't require speech services.

8. We need your room for storage/ another staff member's office/ employee lounge or a "real" class. 

You can do therapy in this closet. It has room for a table and a couple chairs.

Ask a group of SLP's about the spaces they are given to work in, and you hear tales of the hallway, the bathroom, tiny crowded closets, an area in a noisy cafeteria or other inappropriate areas. Suffice it to say that when SLPs are given inadequate facilities to see children, there is a negative consequence to student progress and therefore the school may not be providing FAPE. There is also a negative consequence to the SLP's morale, who may feel they are last on the list, and their services are not valued.

9. You are going to make up the sessions you missed when you were at assessments, ARD/IEP meetings, mandatory trainings, or out with the flu, right? 

10 Things you should never say to a school-based SLP. Which ones have you heard? www.speechsproutstherapy.comDear teachers, admins and parents, I may not be able to. That is the real truth. When other staff members are out, a substitute is hired so that children continue to be served.

Speech-language pathologists are very rarely given qualified subs, and the burden is placed on us to meet therapy time. This is often impossible with bulging caseloads, even if we give up planning time and lunch.  If the school district would hire more SLPs, this would be possible. Please talk to them about staffing adequately.

10.  Do you have to take Johnny right now? We were about to.....

Please understand that my schedule is filled with over 60 students. There is virtually no wiggle room and as I mentioned, it is unlikely that a session can be made up.  If this is Johnny's scheduled time, he needs to go. Thank you for understanding.


SLPs,  it's our job to educate others about our profession.

It's up to us. In order for others to understand our role, and the expertise we have to offer, we need to speak up. Often. With everyone.

Don't be shy, tell others about your background. Talk about the goals you are currently working on. Discuss the challenges you have with caseloads, facilities, and scheduling. Get out of the therapy room and mingle occasionally at lunch. Give your administrators literature from ASHA to read on caseloads, and scope of practice. Advocate for your students and yourself. Share this list if you like, and keep on talking!

Until next time,

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why Back to School Just Got Less Frenzied! Super Speech Therapy Tips and a Bonus Sale

This SLP went home Friday and fell asleep on the couch.

Why Back to School Just Got Less Frenzied! Tips for SLPs

I just finished my first week back to school, and I have to admit, it kinda kicked me in the ____! 

With five ARD meetings (That's what we call IEP meetings in Texas), new software to learn, several move-in students added to my already bulging therapy roll, staff meetings, presenting my in-service on CAS, unearthing my therapy room, staff meetings, welcoming and orienting my new paraprofessional and my new SLP-A, and the staff meetings....did I mention the staff meetings? Whoooo! I was frenzied and exhausted. I'll bet you know exactly what I mean.

Why Back to School Just Got Less Frenzied! Tips for SLPs

Students start on Monday, and those bright shiny faces are expecting a great year. I'm going to help give it to them too. We are going to have fun, make some awesome progress and have our best year ever. But sometimes we need a little help, because time is at a premium.

Super Speech Therapy Tips and a Bonus Sale

The Frenzied SLPs know how crazy it can get- 

we are all headed back to school too! So we are getting together to offer you some terrific therapy tips and tell you about amazing therapy materials to cover your caseload and help make your year, well.... a little less frenzied!

So here are my tips for therapy planning:

1. Plan for high-interest themes and activities in speech therapy. 

When students are engaged, therapy becomes a breeze and a pleasure. I love themes, it keeps me interested too! We'll be thinking about yellow school buses, apples, owls, monsters, spiders, pumpkins and turkeys this fall.

2. Use visuals whenever possible! 

So many of our students with language delays are not strong auditory learners. Visuals can really help.

One of my favorite activities in my store, Associations and Describing: In The Doghouse. combines a favorite theme (pets) with strong visuals to assist children in describing similarities or associations. The describing mat gives children cues to helps them decribe the similarities. For example: They both have...., they are both part of...... The puzzle mat helps students format their sentence in reply to "How do they go together?"

The cute little puppy-dog themed game is fun, and adds a few more language opportunities. What is the dog doing? Why did his pawprints change color?

3. Using one versatile activity that's adaptable for multiple goals, mixed groups and ages will save you time and your sanity!

I aim to build in versatility to my packs for this reason- pull one and done! Associations and Describing in the Doghouse works great for pre-k to 3rd grade. Little ones work on vocabulary and basic go-togethers. Older children work on describing the associations. Modify up or down by requiring more attributes per description. Voila! Easy planning.

If you haven't heard,

Teachers pay Teachers has announced The Best Year Ever Bonus Sale for Monday, August 22nd! 

I plan to pick up some products to help me plan out my fall and early winter too,  because this one-day only sale means 28% off  in most stores. Everything will be on sale at Speech Sprouts store including In The Doghouse. To grab it at his discount, be sure you use this code at checkout: oneday.

Gift Certificate Giveaway! 

Good news, I have another $10 TpT Gift certificate to give away.  More good news! I am going to be joining in an instagram hop with 19 other SLPs who also have gift certificates to give away!! That means you have 20 chances to win a gift certificate, which are awesome odds, woohoo! It will start at 6pm ET today, 8-21-16. So head over to my insta @speechsprouts and be sure to follow me. Then at 6pm ET, head back and start hopping!

Bloggers, if you would like to link up with one of your sale products and therapy tips, add your link below!

Be sure to check more tips and great products from the Frenzied SLPs and friends. Just click any post in the linky! I hope you find some awesome new activities you'll love.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to Create an Amazing Therapy Plan for Childhood Apraxia of Speech

This is Part 5 of my series for SLPs on Childhood Apraxia of Speech: Let's Talk!

Today, we are going to talk about planning your therapy for CAS.

Create an Amazing Therapy Plan for Severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Congratulations, speech peeps, we made it through a lot of information on assessment together. I have been sharing what I learned from a top expert in the field, and wonderful clinician, Dr. Edythe Strand of Mayo Clinic.

I hope you have a better understanding of how to plan an evaluation for a child whom you suspect has childhood apraxia of speech, and a better understanding of how to make your differential diagnosis. I really think that's the hard part! We even learned how to identify emerging skills that will be great starting points in therapy.  So now, it's time to get a therapy plan going, and get some progress rolling for your student.

If you are just joining in, I recommend reading the earlier posts, and then catching up with us here. You can find the first post in this series here: Childhood Apraxia of Speech: What SLPs Need to Know. It's okay, Go ahead. I'll wait!

So let's talk about the principles of motor learning theory and making progress with childhood apraxia of speech.

This is important to your therapy plan, I promise. Let's think about this. We want to improve skills in motor planning, retrieval and carrying out the muscle movements (motor movements) needed for speech. So we need to know what research says is the most efficient way to do that.

Motor learning theory has been applied to rehabilitation of limb movements for many years, and in the last 10-15 years,  to the treatment of CAS. 

Some studies have supported it's application to speech movements, others have not. Speech is, after all, a complex behavior, involving language and motor movements. The severity of CAS appears to be a large factor.

So what needs to happen to learn a motor skill? We need practice. Lots and lots of repetitive practice of the movement. How did you learn to ride a bike? Steer a car? Did you do this smoothly at first? Probably not, but the more practice you got, the better you were.  You practiced until the movements came automatically.


First things first.

We need a few skills in place to make the most progress. The child needs to be able to imitate you, be willing to watch your face, maintain attention. If these are not in place yet, build these into your therapy plan.

Here's how:
Create an Amazing Therapy Plan for Severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech www.speechsproutstherapy.com1. The child needs to imitate your movements. Do a few minutes of warm-up, where you practice imitation of your movements.  Reinforce imitation of large movements- arms waving, clapping, then finer movements, fingers wiggling, then oral movements: moving your jaw, lips, and tongue. Talk about and practice the difference between big movements and little movements, fast movements and slow movements. Draw attention to how the movement feels. Does it feel tight? Now let's try it loose.

2. The child needs to watch your face: Hold activities and reinforcers near your face, not on the table, which encourages the child to look away. Place the child at eye level with you. Raise the child, or lower yourself! Dr. Strand sometimes puts them on top of her desk. I tried that, and it works great. Face to face, with no table in between. Attention is on your face.

3. The child needs to sustain attention on you. Use activities that are motivating, but really quick. Don't let them distract the child's focus. Get back to practice immediately. The more responses per session, the faster the progress!

Now let's talk about what motor learning theory says about scheduling practice.


How often should therapy sessions be scheduled? How many words should I work on in a session?

Motor learning theory tells us about the benefits and drawbacks of different schedules of practice.

* Mass practice may be scheduling 5 sessions in one day or one really long session a week.  It can also mean working on a very small set of words per session. You get a ton of practice in a short period of time. Mass practice will lead to quick development of a skill. However, carryover and generalization to other motor movements and words is poor. So this might be the initial option for severe, highly unintelligible children to help them be more accurate with a small core vocabulary they can use, and get them communicating verbally.  Work on only 5-7 words per session, and schedule many frequent sessions. Later, you will want to move to distributed practice.

* Distributed practice may be working on 10 different words in a set during a session, or scheduling less frequent sessions. Distributed practice yields slower progress, but better learning and generalization.

* Block Practice is practicing each word in a block of many repetitions. For instance, practice "me" 50 times, them "mine" 50 times, then "up" 50 times. You get better performance on trained words, but less generalization. A "modified" block may look like 50 reps on "me", 50 reps on "mine" 20 reps on  "up".

* Random Practice is taking those same words and mixing them up randomly. Say "mine" then "me" then "up". This yields better motor learning, but slow progress.

Vary your set of practice words and how they are presented. 

Movement sequences should be practiced under different conditions and contexts to improve motor learning. Choose a movement sequence, but practiced varied examples, different coarticulatory contexts and manners of production. For instance, you could choose a bilabial to a vowel. Your set could include me, my, bee, baby.

Don't forget prosody!

Work on this early and often. Once the child is successful in one context, practice the word or phrase loud and soft, hi and low, normal or slow. Say it as a statement or with rising question inflection. Go out! Go out! Go out? Just be sure you never segment your model. Teach "shhhhhhhoooo" and not "sh"+"oo".


What should feedback look like?

There are two types of feedback that play a part in learning:
* Intrinsic feedback is sensory information- what the child hears or sees or feels. Sensory feedback may not be enough in CAS.

* Extrinsic feedback, which provides information on how accurate the attempt was "That's right!" and what the child needs to do differently "Be sure your lips are together." This is especially important early in treatment. As a child progress, reduce extrinsic feedback, to so the child does not become overly dependent on it, and can improve self-monitoring. 

The amount of feedback needed changes over time. Start with frequent, immediate feedback, and move towards intermittent feedback with greater delays in delivery.


So what do you do exactly? 

For the child with severe apraxia, start with mass practice and blocked practice, with frequent and immediate feedback.

Create an Amazing Therapy Plan for Severe CAS www.speechsproutstherapy.com1. Start off with a small stimulus set of 5-7 utterances.
2. Plan shorter, more frequent sessions using block or modified block practice.
3. You may want to choose stimulus words with two different vowels.
4. Target functional words such as hi, bye,  out, ow or down. Check with family to see what words are important to the child: a pet's name, favorite toy, family names, his own name, are all good targets to include for functional speech.
5. Provide immediate, frequent and very specific feedback.

As the child progresses, move toward distributed practice and random practice, with less frequent feedback, delivered with greater delays.  

1. Increase the number of stimulus words: up to ten.
2. Sessions can be longer and less frequent.
3. Don't provide feedback for every trial. Make it less frequent and less immediate. I would continue to make feedback specific.


You've done it! You have an awesome therapy plan in place for your student. 

We have our diagnosis, we have identified emerging skills and functional words to target, and have designed a therapy plan with careful consideration to the intensity and frequency of practice and feedback. As our preschool teacher would say... "Kiss your brain!"

Next time I will be talking about Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cueing (DTTC) and some awesome therapy techniques, tips and tricks.

See you soon, and please don't forget to share this post so we can spread the word!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Best-Ever Books for Back to School Speech Therapy: The Kissing Hand and a FREE Treat too!

Welcome your children back to school with a favorite story: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story.

Mommy loves you. Many children feel anxious about the newness of  heading back to school, and this sweet book assures them that they are loved and will have a wonderful time. It's great for preschool to second grade, you can find plenty of ways to share and target goals too.

Just so you don't miss it, I have a freebie for you too, so be sure you read all the way through!

The story begins with a little raccoon named Chester.

Chester cries, because he is a bit scared to start school. He begs his mama to stay home with everything that is familiar to him, so he can play with his friends, his toys and read his books.

Mother gives Chester a family secret: the kissing hand. She places a kiss right in the center of his palm. Now, when Chester places it on his cheek, he can feel the warmth of Mommy's kiss, and he thinks "Mommy loves you."

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story.

Chester loves his kissing hand, and he knows his mother's love will go with him... even to school. He loves it so much, that he gives mother her own kissing hand at the end of the story. She presses it to her cheek and she knows: "Chester loves me."

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story.

The Kissing Hand is the perfect storybook for back to school.

Here's my plan for Week ONE! We'll read the Kissing Hand with my students. We will talk about feelings vocabulary. So many of my children with language goals have limited descriptions for emotions: happy, sad, and mad. Sometimes scared. We will talk about words like worried, anxious, excited, fearful.

I needed book companion activities for The Kissing Hand!

I created a The Kissing Hand Back to School Speech Therapy Book Companion, so I could address the numerous goals of my growing caseload. I am really excited to tell you about it, I can't wait to kick off my year with this pack.

School hasn't started yet, but I understand my school has already gained 76 kids this year. That will surely mean more speech therapy IEPs for me. Yikes. This year I will be supervising an SLPA and will be all about multitasking and making things versatile. Starting with week one!

I love that I have small groups, and can really give individualized attention to my children. We'll start by drawing our worries, and talk about what made us feel better.

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story.

There are plenty more activities to cover nearly everyone on the caseload.  Here are a few pictured here: Category sorting for school supplies. (Everything you see is also available in BW for those who need to be ink-conscious. I always include BW or gray-scale options for you.)

Check out the cute writing craftivity on the left:

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story. www.speechsproutstherapy.comWelcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story.
Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion for this beloved story.
There are wh and yes/no questions, following directions, story sequencing, story vocabulary and articulation too. 

I made articulation puzzles for minimal pairs. 

These will be great for my pre-k and kinders. 

I glued mine onto file folders to make it easier for little hands, and will be adding Velcro when I get back to school. The file folder makes it pretty convenient to hold the pieces. just pop them in a baggie, and into the inside pocket.

Like most of us, I have a range of ages on my caseload.

 I needed higher level activities as well. Vocabulary task cards, more advanced category cards, story map, and an open-ended board game for back to school: Scamper.

I really love using mini-book readers. 

The children enjoy the hands-on activity and they are proud to share them at home, giving additional practice. So I created Chester, Chester, I Need a a Kiss Quick! 

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! Freebie and book companion that includes this adorable
Fun reader to learn body parts and where questions.
Cut out the included heart shapes, or better yet use stickers or die-cut hearts if you have them. Fun! Stick the heart on the children on each page... on a hand, a head, a knee, and on the heart! Your students will practice basic body parts and answering where? questions with this cute little rhyming reader.

We will wrap up our first day with this cute little treat.

I created these treat toppers for a sweet little welcome to go along with the story. You can print them double-sided to include a parent note, encouraging story re-tell when the children get home. Tell the children they will get a kiss for themselves, and need to share a kiss at home with someone they love. 

You can download this FREEBIE in my store here: The Kissing Hand Treat Toppers

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too! FREE treat topper with a parent note to encourage story re-tell.

Prepping these is easy! Pop a few candy kisses in a baggie, Staple the labels on top, and you are ready to go!

I hope you have a terrific back to school, whether you are starting this week (like me) or in a couple weeks! 

Welcome your speech therapy students back to school with The Kissing Hand and a sweet treat too!  Download a FREE treat baggie topper too.
The Kissing Hand
Until next time my friends...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Best Back to School Speech Therapy Activities Ever!

I'm ready to capture my student's back to school excitement with some terrific new speech and language activities!

Who doesn't love something shiny and new for back to school? In addition to that cute new outfit, I want to knock my student's socks off with speech therapy activities that are super fun and engaging. So, I have been busy creating a few and shopping for more of the best activities to add to my wishlist.

Best Back to School Activities for SLPs Ever! Linky Party with Speech Room News

The first place I head (okay, after the Target bargain aisle) is to TPT. The problem is, there are tons of great activities and stores, and it can be time-consuming to sift through it all. No worries! I'm going to save you some time and show you what I've found. But this will make it even sweeter:

Back to school Teachers pay Teachers sale August 1-2nd

You'll save up to 28% on your picks, including everything at Speech Sprouts Store. Just don't forget the promo code: BestYear

Want the lowdown on even more activities? A big thank you to Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News for hosting her What's in Your Cart Linky. After you read my picks, head to the linky so you can have fun seeing what everyone else has in their cart!

A new speech and language activity at Speech Sprouts

I have been busy creating this summer and am excited for you to check out my newest addition to my Back to School Activities at Speech Sprouts. Ta da!

Back to School Bingo Riddles Speech Therapy activity

I have had requests for more Bingo Riddles games, 

Back to School Bingo Riddles Speech Therapy activity
Back to School Bingo Riddles
so I created this one with a fun school theme. My best-selling Bingo Riddles packs combine fun rhyming riddles with a favorite game. (You should hear me walk around the house talking to myself, as I make up new riddles. Hubby thinks I'm a bit crazy anyway!) You'll target vocabulary, inference, listening comprehension and rhyme. 

I love using it for push-in activities or large groups (plenty for everybody with 28 boards) as well as my small groups.

A sweet comment

on another of my Bingo Riddles games: "This is the 2nd year that I have used these, and I had to write a review...because I love it so much. I have used it with preschoolers, 6th graders, and all of the grades in between. All of the clues are clever and witty and fun and appropriate. I just can't rate this high enough." 

If this is your lovely comment, please e-mail me at I have a surprise for you!

Back to School Bingo Riddles Speech Therapy activity      Back to School Bingo Riddles Speech Therapy activity

Just posted today! 

Whew! Been working day and night to bring you this speech therapy book companion for one of my all time favorite back to school stories: The Kissing Hand. And guess what? Uh huh, uh huh...It's on sale, cause I want y'all to get happy and have your best year ever! Head over to take a peek at cards, puzzles, printables and a minibook reader too! Find it HERE.

The Kissing Hand Back to School Speech Therapy Companion
The Kissing Hand Back to School Companion!

 Now for a peek at some more back to school activities that I will be popping in my cart for the sale. I will have planning wrapped up for a least a month. SWEET!

Here's What's in my Cart:

First up is a pack from Mandi of Panda Speech. Some days we just need to print and go! This school-themed pack will have you covered!

Best Back to School Speech Therapy Activities Ever

Check out this resource from SLPTalk with Desiree, using paint sticks. What a fun twist on articulation therapy! My kids really enjoy manipulative activities.

Best Back to School Speech Therapy Activities Ever

Next up is this cool activity from Creative Speech Lab.  My kids will love these little pop-up style stories as they practice sentence and conversational level articulation. I love that it will work for my language kids too.

Best Back to School Speech Therapy Activities Ever

Get the conversation going with these ice breaker activities from The SLT Scrapbook.  All about me, conversation starters and partner up activities. Perfect fit for back to school and social groups too.

Best Back to School Speech Therapy Activities Ever

Enter my $10 Giveaway!

To say thank you to my newsletter subscribers, I am giving away a $10 TpT Gift certificate. To enter, sign up for my newsletter in the side column and comment on this blog post with one of YOUR favorite back to school activities. If you are already a subscriber, all you need to do is comment! I will pick a random winner at 12 noon  on August 2nd.

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Ashley Kerekes, I will email you the code for your $10 discount. Thanks to all who entered, you shared lots of great ideas.

Best Back to School Speech Therapy Activities Ever!

Good luck, and don't forget to check out more of What's in Your Cart?