Monday, July 27, 2020

27 Free Online Games for Speech Therapy You Need to Know About

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like Colorful Ships and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Basketball. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy

Online games that are quick to play are perfect for speech teletherapy.

Like many SLPs right now, I'm a newly minted teletherapist due to school closures during the COVID 19 pandemic. After three months of diving into speech therapy telepractice this spring, I quickly realized that I need more tricks up my sleeve to keep my students engaged with me online! Thirty minutes of pure drill time wasn't cutting it. It wasn't long before they started looking at me with eyes that said "What else have you got?" a bunch of you, I'll be headed back to school seeing my students online, at least for now. So it's time to gather up some great resources to keep participation and interest high!

It's important to mix it up with a variety of activities to keep students engaged during online speech therapy sessions.

Especially the youngest ones. Gee- in that respect it's not unlike in-person sessions, is it?

 I may have 2-3 different activities during a session. including books, real games (I take their "turn" for them in front of the camera), puppets, toys for the younger crowd, riddles, and worksheets we could draw or write on with annotation tools. I also love Boom Cards and digital resources like interactive pdfs. I like to get my kiddos up and moving sometimes too. We all need that!

Online games are a favorite activity for my speech therapy students.

No prep for you, fun for them. If you are using a platform like Zoom where you can give your students control, any of these games are great. If you can't give students control, look at the online board games that automatically advance. You can click the dice for your students.

 I keep a document of links on my desktop so I can head over to a great online game quickly during a session. Ready for a list to make your teletherapy planning easier? Here you go!

Here are some of my favorite sites for engaging, quick-play online games.

I've played a lot of games y'all, and I've listed games from these sites that load easily, are quick to play, motivating, and won't take away too much therapy time! You may want to look through the main sites and see if there are more games you love.

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like Build a Monster and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Basketball. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Pink Cat Studio has 3 great free games and also a subscription.

Pink Cat Studio 3 fun games that you can use open-ended or for words, rhyme and more

Fun Brain Tons of engaging, quick-play games kids will love

Toy Theatre  Fun games, and lots of extras like dice and spinners

For little ones, you'll also want to check out:

ABCya  Lots of "Make-a" games and holiday games for little ones..Some games require flash player.

PBS Kids  Simple games with characters kids like such as Clifford, Sesame Street or Arthur.

Happy Clicks  I love this site of super-easy activities for very young learners

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like the Chicken Game and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Basketball. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Happy Clicks has simple games for your youngest children just touch or tap to see things happen!

Easiest online games for early learners:

Chicken Game Click your mouse and the colorful chickens squawk, lay eggs, and hatch chicks

Interactive Mr. Potato Head Gret for body parts vocabulary

Make an Icecream build your Ice cream

Fruit Fall Help the farmer catch the fruit in his basket.

Balloon Pop Use the slingshot to pop the balloons.

Feed Freddy Matching Game Feed Freddy the matching colors shapes or patterns and watch him grow!

Simon Sees: Match the monster's reflection in the mirror by changing the pattern of his three eyes.

Helipopper The monster is flying with a helicopter hat. Pop the balloons that match the color of his hat. Requires paying attention to changing hat color. 

Pink Cat Studio has three free games that can be played open-ended (you just click the answer quickly) or for a variety of skills including Wh Questions, CVC words, antonyms, articulation of digraphs, l-blends

Play Build a Monster, Smarty Pants Animal Race or Quiz Wheel Game for free.

Open-ended online games for all grades 

Frost Bite Stick out your tongue and eat snowflakes

Desert Dive: Big Blue and his friend are on a see-saw, drag Big Blue up, and drop him to make his friend splash into the pool.

Spaceship Maze Guide your spaceship through the maze. Starts easy and each maze becomes a bit more challenging.

Turtle Wax Raise and lower the slide, then let the turtle slide down. Can you make him hit the target?

Basketball Aim the ball just right to make a basket!

Play Tic Tac Toe  play the computer or another player

Connect4 Play the computer or another player

Online board games: 

Familiar and fun games for anyone.

Teletherapy speech therapy activities like these 27 open-ended online games make planning easy! Find easy games for toddlers like Build a Monster and great games for bigger kids like Frost Bite and Snakes and Ladders. #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Find games, hidden pictures, puzzles and more at Toy Theater

These games automatically play when you click the dice. Fast and easy!

Snakes and Ladders  Roll the Dice and your game piece automatically moves. Play with 1-2 players, or establish teams in a group.

The Goose Game: Roll the dice to advance. Some spaces are luck, some are not! Up to 6 players

These games require you to move the pieces. Some are strategy games best for older kids.

Checkers for 1-2 players or teams

BackGammon strategy game for older kids

Reversi Another strategy game for older kids. 1-2 players.

Games that are a bit more challenging:

Treasure Dive: The diver must avoid the sea creatures as he collects the gold from the treasure chest.

Word Turtle Create your own word search. Two levels of difficulty. Greate for articulation generating synonyms, antonyms, or category members

Visual Memory Puzzle Study the colored circles on the grid before they disappear. Can you re-create the pattern? Becomes progressively harder.

Poki Cut the Rope Feed the monster strategy game

Find 27 terrific teletherapy speech therapy activities including open-ended online games, spinners and dice that make planning easy!  #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Toy Theater also has great teacher tools you can adapt for speech therapy

Online dice and spinners for any game

Toy theater is great for these. These can be a game in themselves. Who will rack up the most points? Throw the dice or spin a spinner.

Dice: Colorful online dice in many shapes and sizes

Spinners; Choose spinners for either colors or numbers. You can choose how many spaces on the spinner too!

Online games are great to use in in-person therapy too. 

Play them on a  tablet, computer or project them on a whiteboard for instant engagement. Huge bonus- you don't have to lug these around as you travel from school to school or setting!

Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later when you need a fresh, motivating activity for your kiddos.

Grab this list of online speech therapy games for open-ended fun in teletherapy! Make planning easy with games for toddlers, preschoolers and games for older kids too. This will be your go-to list! #speechsprouts #speechtherapygames  #speechtherapy #teletherapy
Free online games for terrific for speech and language therapy.

Are you still needing to provide send-home materials, either printed or virtually?

I hope you've found some games you and your students love. Please leave a comment if you've found any more terrific open-ended games we should know about!

Stay well, my friends,

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How to Boost Language with 19 Spectacular Wordless Books for Speech Therapy

Speech and language therapy is all about talking, right? So why would you want to use wordless books in your speech therapy session? No written story, no text. Well... that's exactly why!

Pancakes for Breakfast is one of 19 fun wordless books terrific for boosting speech and language in elementary and preschool speech therapy #speechsprouts #speechtherapy  #speechtherapybooks
Pancakes for Breakfast is such a fun wordless book for your next speech therapy session!

Wordless books are magical for eliciting language! 

Of course, reading a storybook with text is a great speech therapy activity too. They usually have some fun pictures to talk about, but mainly rely on the text to tell the story. The story is "fed" to the child. That's great if you're targeting listening comprehension, "wh" questions, or introducing new vocabulary.

With wordless books, however, it's the pictures that tell the story, offering magical opportunities for children to generate their own sentences, use their inventory of vocabulary, make inferences, and activate their background knowledge as they tell you all about the pictures. Expressive language? Oh yeah!

What happens when you read a book and then you quiz a child about what you've read?

Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathon London is a storybook with text. You read the line: "So Froggy and his parents flopped outside to the pond- flop flop flop."

The conversation with a child listening usually goes something like this: You ask: "Where are the frogs going?" You may get just a one or maybe a two-word response, "the pond."

Now, think about what happens if you have a conversation about the pictures instead of the text.

Let's look at the fun wordless book by David Weisner, titled Tuesday. If you ask a child to tell you about one of the pictures, it might go something like this:  You: "Oh wow. Look at the frogs!  You may get a whole sentence in response, something like this: "They're floating up in the air with their lilypads!"

Compare this sentence with an MLU (mean sentence length) of 11 to the sentence with an MLU of 2 in the example of Froggy Goes Swimming.

When exploring a wordless book, you're likely to get a whole lot more generative language! 

Wordless books set up fantastic opportunities for:

1. Increased sentence length and complexity in the child's expressive speech. You naturally encourage more detailed responses when asking a child to tell you about a picture and what's happening.

2. Making inferences. You: "I wonder why the blackbird is flying away from the frog?" Child: "It's scared because the frogs are flying!"

3. Using descriptive words. "It's dark outside."

4. Practice with present and past-tense verbs. You: "What's happening in this picture?"  Child: "The birds see the frogs flying!" You: "Oh, no! What happened there?"  Child: "The frogs crashed into the clothes!"

5. A natural opportunity to practice pronouns. You: "Look at that frog!" Child: "It's upside down!"

6. Use of feelings words. You: "Look at his face! I wonder what the man is thinking?" Child: "He's surprised! He's thinking, What are those frogs doing outside my window?"

7. Embedded opportunities to explore story elements of characters, setting, action, problem, and solution.

8.  Literacy skills: Sequencing and telling a simple narrative. Have the child tell you the story by describing each picture as they turn the pages.

9. Toss in opportunities to practice conversational level articulation or fluency techniques as you explore and discuss the pictures together. Great in mixed groups. I think wordless books are a must-have in your speech therapy library!

Here's a list of 19 wonderful wordless books you absolutely should check out:

Try one of these fabulous wordless books in your next speech therapy session! 

Want to see if a book is right for your student's level? You can "preview" many of these books by watching a "read-aloud" or in this case a "showing" of the book on YouTube. Just search the title. Then head to the library or bookstore to grab a copy of your favorites.

I've added Amazon links for your convenience, I don't get any commission or other consideration for the links, I just want to make it easy for you to check out these great books. 
  1. Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Ratham is the story of a mischievous little gorilla in the zoo who steals the zookeeper's keys.
  2. Wave by Suzy Lee is the story of a little girl at the beach who plays with a wave at the beach that seems almost alive.
  3. A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Meyer is the story of a boy and a dog who see a clever little frog and their misadventures when they try to catch him in a net. 
  4. Found by Jeff Newman is the story of a little girl who keeps a lost dog, then has to give him up when the owner is found. 
  5. The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert is the story of a little dog who finds an umbrella and while holding it, is blown away by a gust of wind, sending him on amazing adventures.
  6. Float by Daniel Miyares is the story of a little boy and his paper boat.
  7. Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage is the story of a sneaky walrus who escaped the zoo, and the zookeeper who can't seem to find him- even when it's right in front of him!
  8. Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordel is the story of a little girl and a wolf cub who both get lost in a snowstorm and how they become friends.
  9. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson is the story of a little boy who uses a purple crayon to draw his way into exciting adventures.
  10. Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola is the story of a little old lady who craves pancakes for breakfast but runs into all kinds of problems when she tries to make them.
  11. The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett is the story of a little girl who sees a bicycle she wants to buy, but she has to find a way to get the money for it. 
  12. Tuesday by David Weisner is a story of strange happenings in the frog pond on Tuesday. (Check out this awesome animated version of Tuesday by Paul McCartney on YouTube)
  13. Chalk by Bill Thomson is the story of three friends who draw pictures with a piece of chalk and find out that what they draw comes to life!
  14. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney is the story of a fierce lion who decides to spare the mouse he's caught. Later the mouse returns the favor by helping the lion when he's in trouble. 
  15. The Red Book by Barbara Lehman is the story of two children who both find a red book and the adventures they have because of it. 
  16. Journey by Aaron Becker is the story of a lonely girl who uses a red marker to draw a magical door and goes through it to find all sorts of adventures.
  17. Spot the Cat by Henry Cole is the story of a cat who gets lost and the little boy who owns her.
  18. South by Patrick McDonell is the story of a little bird who takes a nap and wakes to discover that his entire flock has flown away. His friend, the cat, helps him find the flock.
  19. The Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan is the story of a band of tiny hunters who leave their village on a quest to bring a special treat back to the village, and their adventures along the way.

I'm always on the lookout for more great books for speech therapy.

If you have a favorite wordless book I haven't mentioned, please, please leave a comment, because I'll want to go check it out! What's your favorite? Goodnight Gorilla and A Boy, a Dog and a Frog are two of mine.

If you love using books for speech therapy...

Storybooks with text are great too. Here are 5 of my favorites plus a post full of sound-loaded books for articulation. To find more books, click the storybooks tab on my home page. 

I hope you found some great wordless books for your speech therapy sessions! Until next time...

Monday, March 30, 2020

3 Quick and Easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities You'll Love

3 Must-Have Easter Speech Therapy Activities 

3 Quick and easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring for preschool and elementary students! SLPs love the ability to target multiple goals at once whether it's language, articulation or fluency, making them ideal for mixed groups. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #Easter
Open-ended Easter game for easy speech therapy sessions 

Pull out a holiday activity and your speech therapy groups perk right up and get excited to participate. You love them too, but with a bulging mixed caseload and precious little time to prep, you need activities that are not only engaging but also super-versatile. No-prep simple or grab and go easy. Yes, please. So here you go...

1. My very favorite no-stress holiday activity is ... Bingo Riddles!

My Bingo Riddles games are great as a print and go activity, but I suggest you laminate a set to re-use. I promise you will want to use these games over again.

I've got you covered for quick and easy Easter-themed sessions, plus I've created Bingo Riddles games for five more holidays and all four seasons. Play the Easter Bingo Riddles game with bingo chips or try jelly bean markers for a fun treat.

Spring Bingo Riddles is a fun holiday alternative if you don't do Easter activities at your school.

Here's the awesome twist that makes this game so engaging...

Each Bingo Riddles game includes rhyming riddle cards for the vocabulary pictures. Rather than simply calling out a word, you read the riddle, adding a fun challenge as students guess the answers.  Don't worry, you can still show the pictures for younger students.

"Shaped like a bunny or chick, marshmallow in heaps. You'll eat us quick, because we're yummy _____." Can you guess the answer?

You can easily target listening, inference, vocabulary, rhyme and articulation as you play. You can even have students take turns reading the clues for sentence-level articulation opportunities.

Sweet comments I've received:

* This activity is so wonderful! The kiddos loved being challenged with riddles but also playing a fun game of bingo. So many language and articulation opportunities!

* This is the 2nd year I've used these, and I had to write a review on this product because I love it so much. I have used it with preschoolers, 6th graders, and all the grades in between.

* My kids begged and begged to play!

Do you have a really hard time fitting in make-up therapy?

 Shhh, I'm going to let you in on my secret.... Bingo Riddles are my favorite activity for managing not only mixed speech therapy groups and in-class therapy, but... wait for it... large-group make-up therapy too! There are 30 gameboards, so you can use it with any size group and across grades while you target multiple goals at once.

2. Next up is a quick-play open-ended Easter game for any age or goal.

You'll love how easy it is to target multiple goals at once with this fun Easter Vocabulary game. Language prompts are included, or use it open-ended for any target. Comes with Spring and St. Patrick’s Day games too, so you can use these all season long.  One of 3 Quick and Easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring! Head over to the post to see the other two.   #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #easter
Spring Speech Therapy Games: St. Patrick's Day, Easter

Be the first to collect the letters to spell Easter and you'll win!  Simple and engaging, this game will be a favorite. Try popping the cards in an Easter basket or bucket to draw from or put them in Easter eggs for even more fun.

There are actually 3 games in this super-versatile resource.

One for St. Patrick's Day, one for Easter, and one for spring. Each game has cards for 4 players. Play open-ended or use the included page of vocabulary and themed questions for language development.

I use this game with preschoolers and non-readers too.I've included directions on how to make a letter template so preschoolers can match the letters, making it a great early literacy activity as well. Find it here: Spring Speech Therapy Games: St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Spring

3. Print and go no-prep Easter for any goal? Here you go...

You'll love how easy it is to target multiple goals at once with these fun no-prep Easter Speech therapy activities!  Mystery squares are just one fun activity in this huge pack. Language prompts are included in handy paste-on quick lists, or use it open-ended for any target. One of 3 Quick and Easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring! Head over to the post to see the other two.   #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #easter
Easter No-Prep Speech Therapy Activities- Mixed Group Magic!

If you haven't seen my huge mixed group magic packets, you are in for a treat. My kids love them. 

Mix and match any one of the 62 different fun activities with any goal. There's a variety of activities great for pre-k through 5th grade, so you can use it across your caseload. Choose a color by number, mystery squares, dot to dot, paint a scene, a dot marker page or one of each for your group!

See the little empty box in the upper right of the page? 

You can paste any one of the Easter-themed Yes-No and WH questions quick lists included in the packet, or just write in your own prompts. Any activity, any goal, all no-prep. It doesn't get better than that!

Find  Mixed Group Magic Easter Speech Therapy Activities here. 

To make it even easier, I created additional Quick Lists for receptive language, expressive language, and articulation.

You can pop one of these handy little lists of prompts on almost any activity you have. I love these for data and progress-monitoring too.

 Find them here: Speech and Language All-Year Quick list bundle.

Pop one of these handy speech and language lists on any activity to instantly add receptive language, expressive language or articulation prompts for each student. Makes progress monitoring and data collection super simple too. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy
Speech Therapy Quick Lists- Prompts for any printable activity

These activities are ideal for mixed groups.

I rarely get to see homogeneous groups, because my caseload is just too large. Someone is usually working on language, another couple students on articulation, maybe someone else on fluency. Mixed groups are tricky, but these three Easter activities are terrific for mixed goals in groups. 

If you're struggling with how to manage and engage your groups, check out this post for more ideas and resources: 3 Sure-fire Secrets to Solving Mixed-Group Madness. 

You can use these Easter speech therapy activities in teletherapy too.

As I write this post, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and many SLPs (including myself!) are scrambling to find engaging materials for teletherapy.  I have updated my terms of use to allow for distance learning and teletherapy needs.

If you're using a teletherapy platform that allows students to "annotate" or draw and type on your screen share, there are several ways to use these materials.

Easter Bingo Riddles: You can play with 3 students with just one board. Take a screenshot of a bingo board. Have each student guess which direction the first bingo will be...diagonal, horizontal or vertical. Share the screenshot and have your students mark off the pictures as they solve the riddles. If they picked the direction of the first 5 in a row, they win!

Spring and Easter Speech Therapy Games:  There are 2 boards per page in the file. Share a screenshot for 2 players. You can pick the letters out of a bucket for your students. What will it be? The student can then type the letter on their board. First one to spell Easter wins.

Easter Mixed Group Magic Quick List Activities:  Share your screen and students will love coloring in the color by number or mystery squares as you talk about their goals. Use a pencil tool for the dot to dot pages or draw your way through the mazes. There are plenty of possibilities with this pack.

3 Quick and easy Easter Speech Therapy Activities that are a must-have this spring for preschool and elementary students! SLPs love the ability to target multiple goals at once whether it's language, articulation or fluency, making them ideal for mixed groups. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #Easter
Spring Speech Therapy Games for Easter, St. Patrick's day and Spring.

Wishing you a safe Spring and a Happy Easter my friends!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

50+ Terrific FREE Speech Therapy Activities You Can Send Home in a Hurry

Speech and language home practice has always been important for making optimal progress.

A huge list of speech and language homework activities you can send home in a hurry for summer and emergency shutdowns

This isn't news to SLP's. But events like the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and subsequent school closings have shone a light on the need for quality resources that can be accessed at home. Not only during emergencies but for everyday home practice, school breaks and summer too.

To help out, I've compiled an extensive list for you of free speech and language resources you can find online. Some are online games, many are printables. All are no-prep to make gathering what you need easier for you.

Free articulation resources online:

Tracy Boyd's Articulation Games: Have More Fun site has games for rhyme, syllables, CH, J, G, K, L, R, vocalic R, S, SH, TH, F, F, V, M, N

Articulation Word Lists by Home Speech Home

Printable picture cards by Testy Yet Trying

Boom Cards is offering free Ultimate memberships to teachers until June 2020 for schools affected by school closings.  These are digital card decks for a variety of skills, you can find many free decks.

Articulation freebies from Speech Sprouts for you:

This resource can be easily adapted for any articulation target by writing articulation words on the blank "teeth"

More great articulation freebies on Teachers pay Teachers: 

SH Articulation Worksheets by Talking with Rebecca

R Articulation Word Search by Fun in Speech

Articulation Activity Booklets TH by KI Speech Therapy

Free language resources online:

Tracy Boyd's Language and Word Games: Have Fun has games for analogies, antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, homographs, categories, What doesn't belong, same or different, irregular plurals, WH questions, idioms and more.

Tracy Boyd's Sequencing Fun Games include games for sequences like brushing your teeth or blowing up a balloon.

Word Search Generator from Puzzle Maker .com Send home an articulation list, synonym or antonym list, category list, etc, and have kids make their own word search.

Language Word Lists by Home Speech Home including categories, verbs, adjectives, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meanings and more.

Carl's Corner has printable resources and word lists for antonyms, synonyms, homophones, plurals, rhyme, vocabulary and more.

Looks Like Language has a great post with lots of links: 10 Fantastic Free Resources  for Customizing Vocabulary Work 

Language freebies from Speech Sprouts for you:

Quantity Concepts: Frogs and Flies by Speech Sprouts. Make a mini-book while learning the concepts more, less, altogether.

Five Little Monkeys No-Prep Speech Therapy by Speech Sprouts. Open-ended printable activities for any target. It also comes with a few Quicklists for articulation, questions, and past-tense -ed.

Hoot Owl Homonyms Freebie by Speech Sprouts

That's Fishy! Which does not belong? by Speech Sprouts Cards and sorting mats for a fishing game. Teaches category exclusion, color words, sorting by color.

More great language freebies on Teachers pay Teachers: 

Setting the Table and Language by The Speech Meadow

Groceries and Language by The Speech Meadow

Play With Dolls by The Speech Meadow

Creating Language-Rich Experiences at Home by Ms Gardenia's Speech Room

Play-based Speech Therapy Homework by Primary Punch

Scavenger Hunt Vocabulary Activities by Fun in Speech

Summer Homework Calendars for Language by Schoolhouse Talk

Printable Picture Cards for Speech Therapy by Speech and Language at Home

Pronoun Puddle Jump Activity by Twin Speech Language and Literacy

Ants on a Log Speech Recipe by Creative Speech Lab

Weather Idioms Freebie by Activity Tailor

Fictional Short Stories for Language Comprehension by Talking with Rebbecca

Bubble Gum Facts and Opinions by All Y'All Need

Free social language resources online:

Social Language Scenarios by Home Speech Home

Emotions Vocabulary by Home Speech Home

Pirate Emotions and Feelings Card Game by Communication Blessings

Articulation,  Language and Social Language Homework by Stacy Crouse

Social Skills Activities: Friendly or Not? by Looks Like Language

Social Skills Activities: TeenProblem Solving/ Social Inferences by Looks Like Language

Free fluency resources online:

Videos with practical tips for how to use speech tools from Stuttering Therapy Resources

Speech and Language Home Practice by Primary Punch includes parent suggestions for fluency, articulation and language home practice.

Fluency Skills Brochure by Primary Punch

Speech Therapy Stuttering Activities by The Gift of Gab

Free AAC Resources online

A huge list of speech and language homework activities you can send home in a hurry for summer and emergency shutdowns

How you may use these resources

Resources by many SLP authors are listed here. Please be sure to respect the terms of use included in files by each author. If you have questions, reach out to the author of that product.

Most other authors also allow printing for all your students, again please check the TOU. for those resources.

For Speech Sprouts free resources:
I am amending my Terms of  Use due to these extreme circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic for the Speech Sprouts resources in this list.

  1. Each SLP or educator who will be distributing these resources to students should download the file on Teachers pay Teachers for themselves. Parents are also welcome to download a copy of the digital file on TpT. 
  2. You have my permission to print a copy of my activities for each of the students on your caseload. 
  3. You may upload my resources to a private Google Classroom that only your parents and students have access to. Uploading resources to other file sharing sites will continue to be prohibited. 

I've also put together a PDF File with links to the resources listed here that you may download. You may share the PDF file with the list with your students and parents via Google classroom, email or a password-protected district website.

I hope this makes getting activities out to your students easier.   Download the Freebie List HERE.

I hope this send-home resource list helps! 

We're all used to summer breaks, but emergency school closing like the current coronavirus shutdowns or fire and flood emergencies can so be very stressful. Wishing everyone health and safety.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

SLP's: 5 Ways to Say NO at Work and Reclaim Your Time

Do you have a hard time saying no at work? 

If you made it through grad school and became an SLP, you were probably trained to reach for excellence in all that you do. You might even be an over-achiever by nature. 

You want to do it all: be super helpful, shine in your job, provide tip-top services, be a super team player. Then reality hits. 

There is just not enough time for all the things.

You can't be an SLP 24/7. You are enough. The workload is just too much. You're increasingly stressed out. Working late and taking work home every night just to keep afloat is the fast track to burnout city. Something has got to give. 

Am I right?

High caseloads, mountains of assessments and reports, billing, therapy notes, parent communication, data-keeping, goal-writing, meetings, traveling between locations or patients, progress reports... the list goes on and if you're an SLP you know it well. 

If you're a school-based SLP there may also be duties, special projects, special events, requests to cover a class and more. So how do you get your job done and save your sanity?

Learn to say no!

Start by prioritizing tasks and requests.

Which tasks are essential to your job? As a school-based SLP, my top priorities are:
  • providing effective therapy for my students
  • meeting IEP therapy times
  • meeting legal timelines for evaluations and meetings 

Five ways to say no to non-essential tasks.

Need a little inspiration? 

This can be your anthem!  Na to the ah to the no, no, no!


1. You may need to say no to yourself.  

Over-achiever? Learn to let some things go. Simplify.

  • Make report templates. Provide the meat of the results, don't write a book. 
  • Batch your work by focusing on one type of task at a time- do all your billing at once, prepare for all IEP meetings this month, test several kiddos in a row if you have time.
  • Go no-prep. Notice I said effective therapy, not uber-creative, Pinterest-worthy therapy. I do love a fun craft or creating a fresh activity, but when you're in a time crunch, go simple, no-prep and basic. How?
    1. Grab an open-ended game, a storybook or super simple activity and use it all day with every group. Modify it on the fly as needed to suit each group's goals. An example of this would be my open-ended seasonal Speech Therapy Vocabulary Games, or no-prep activities like my mixed group Speech Therapy Activities and WH Questions, a board game, play dough or slime.
    2. Push-in. Try in-class therapy when there are several students in the same class. This works great for me with preschoolers and self-contained classes. You can see larger groups at once and model for the teachers as well.
    3. Pull out larger groups and do a story activity or a group game. My Bingo Riddles Games are fabulous for larger groups and handling doubled-up make-up sessions.

2. Say no to chatty colleagues who can't take the hint.

There's that teacher or colleague who shows up and wants to chew your ear off about the latest gossip or gripe. Do you know her? Or him?

These people don't take the subtle hints that you're busy and they eat up your precious free minutes. How do you handle that?
  • Smile and tell them straight out you have a ton of work to get done.
  • Turn away as they talk and keep typing, working, etc. 
  • If they don't take the cue, stand up and leave... say you need to head to the office, run an errand, check something, ect. Head out the door and say see ya later. 

3. Say no to special requests and events.

Schools are notorious for having extra events throughout the year. If you are asked to bake cookies, decorate the stage, help with a special event, help plan a party and you really don't have the time, just say noooo!

You may need to practice this one ahead of time. In the mirror, or out loud if needed until it feels natural.

Don't over-explain, or give a long list of excuses. I'm sorry, I won't be able to right now. Done. Exit left. Finito.

No-Sorry I Can't. 5 ways for SLPs to say no at work and reclaim their time. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #SLP

4. Say no to extra campus duties. 

This happens a lot in the schools and it's tricky because you're usually saying no to a principal or supervisor. You may be asked to cover a class when there is no sub, proctor a test, do a regular duty, participate in an extra event.

Set some boundaries, and have a response ready.

Be cautious and use your judgment here. Sometimes you may want or need to say yes due to circumstances. If you are ready to say no:

  • Prepare ahead of time so you can have a reasonable and respectful response ready. Get the support of your special education supervisor, lead SLP, or whoever is responsible for seeing that therapy services are provided appropriately. Talk about your workload and explain that you have no time for makeup therapy and meeting paperwork timelines if asked to do extra duties- (if that's the case). Ask for their support in opting out of extra duties.
Saying NO: Stick to the facts. Offer another solution if you can. I'm sorry but...
  1.  I currently have ___ (Insert your gigantic to-do list here) on my schedule. If I'm not able to do ___ today, the school will be out of legal compliance. Would ___ be able to help?
  2.  Duties: My schedule is currently full, if I do ___ duty,  I won't be able to provide required therapy services and meet legal timelines.
  3.  Let me check my schedule, I'll get back to you by___.
  4.  If you can provide an SLP to cover my required duties, I would be happy to help.
Be sure to add: "Thank you for understanding."  This can end the conversation (or email) without leaving wiggle room for your boss to misinterpret or talk you into accepting the duty.

5. Say no to extra SLP duties. 

I think this one is the hardest of all. When you simply don't have the time to take on an extra campus, caseload, classroom, or evaluations, it's time to discuss your existing workload with your supervisor.

Be professional and direct. Be empathic, give them a valid reason you are saying no and offer alternative solutions if you can. Show them a little gratitude for their faith in you, but...

"I know you need___ handled. I appreciate you thinking of me"

"If I take that on, I won't be able to___." (meet therapy time, complete evaluations, IEP meetings within timelines, complete billing, documentation.)  Thank you for understanding.

"Please break down the most essential part of this, and how we will handle the tasks that will not fit in my schedule?

"I'll need help, so will you be assigning/contracting another SLP to handle___?"

So you have a hard time saying no?

Watch this for some great advice How to say No.

How about 50 MORE ways? Love this guy!

Here's my take when "No" just doesn't work:

Ultimately, it's the school's duty to meet timelines by providing the personnel to meet requirements.

You're pedaling as fast as you can, doing your best to keep up.

If you're required to take on tasks that limit your ability to meet requirements, it's not your fault, as long as your supervisors are fully aware of your workload and you have communicated what the consequences will be to your ability to provide therapy and meet timelines.

When that's the case, do document your concerns respectfully in an email and keep a copy. (If it's not in writing it didn't happen!) You may need this later, to show you communicated your concerns and workload.

For example:
Thank you for meeting with me about ___. I understand that ___ is important. Unfortunately, as we discussed, by adding these additional duties to my current workload, I may not be able to ___(meet therapy times, meet timelines, complete documentation or billing in a timely fashion). With this in mind, it is my understanding that you are assigning me to ____ at this time.  Is that correct? Thank you.

When I asked a group of SLPs in the trenches how they manage to say "no" they said:

  • An interventionist ordered me to cover a teacher's class during the day so the teacher could attend her child's function. I said no, got into quite a spat with the campus admins, and ended up changing from that campus. It's been great! I love my new schools and principals.
  • Pam said: We always joke we need to give new SLPs a Big Mac that is pre-programmed to say "No, I am unable to do that." No "sorry" and no excuses, just say no.
  • Breanna said: When I'm told, "I scheduled (name)'s IEP before/after school." I say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not available that day. We can either reschedule or you can hold the IEP without me." Only one person has ever asked me why.
  • The best excuse I ever heard was "Oh, I have to go home after school and keep my cat company, he gets really lonely." (Well...not sure I'd use that one!)
  • Nijji said: Last year I said no to proctoring state tests. My AP was new to our school and she said, "The speech therapist at my old school did it." I politely made eye contact and said, "I still have to meet IEP time for all the kids on my caseload." Be polite but firm. I don't think she'll ask me this year.
  • Susan said: I've always been sooo bad at saying no. I mostly say "I don't have time on my calendar to ___. My next opening isn't until ___."
  • Linda said: "I realized over time that it was okay to say no to extra responsibilities that took away from student hours or took up my personal time. I make sure I do one school-wide activity that doesn't take up too much time. That way I can say, "I'm sorry, I'm already signed up for ___ and I can't fit anything else in now."

5-Ways time-starved SLPs can say NO at work, when you just can't fit in one more thing. #speechsprouts #slporganization

Don't forget to say "yes" sometimes too.

It's good to pitch in sometimes. You want to be valued, appreciated and respected. It might even be fun to participate. Say "yes" when it fits in with your schedule. Just be sure to pick and choose based on your workload. 

 I'd love to hear how you've said "No" to the overload when you needed to. Leave a comment and let's cheer each other on.

Hang in there!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 Best-Ever Thanksgiving Books for Preschool Speech Therapy

 5 Best Books and activities or preschool and kindergarten speech therapy #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #thanksgiving #storybooks #sped #preschool

Storybooks are a huge part of my no-stress turkey week plan.

Storybooks are no-prep, rich with language and articulation opportunities, and just plain fun. They are versatile and can address a ton of goals. They're free if you borrow from the library or inexpensive if you purchase them, and are so easy to tote around from school to school if you travel. 

All of this makes them my go-to when I need a simple but effective plan for therapy.  

So how do you get the most out of your picture books in your therapy sessions?

Choose great books and read with intentional strategies! 

Story-book reading strategies to maximize speech and language opportunities:

  • Be expressive and use different voices as you read to engage the children.
  • Read the book multiple times over several sessions. Focus on different story elements each time. This increases understanding of vocabulary and content, helps boost story-retelling skills and allows you to hit numerous different targets with just one activity. 
  • Stop often during your reading to point out things in the pictures or text and discuss. 
  • Comment and ask open-ended questions to get the most language from children. Don't rely mainly on yes-no or What is it? questions. "Is he "scared?" will get you a one-word response. "Tell me about this picture." or "I wonder what he's thinking about?" will get you longer, more complex sentences. 
  • Connect new vocabulary to pre-existing knowledge A badger is a forest animal. What other animals live in the forest? Who do you think is bigger, a fox or a badger?
  • Be silly and "get it wrong" sometimes so the children can correct you. My preschoolers love that, and we get lots of giggles. 
  • Follow up each reading with hands-on or movement activities. For Thanksgiving, you can talk about dinner food and relatives or name and describe farm animals: Show me how a turkey waddles. How does a horse move? How are they the same? Different? Does a sheep say moo? What do you think they eat? (You'll probably get some interesting responses from your littles with that one). 

5 favorite picture books for the week before Thanksgiving

Turkey Trouble by Wendy Silvano 

Turkey is trying to hide before Thanksgiving by disguising himself. Plenty of farm animals and plenty of /k/ and /g/ practice (gobble, turkey)  

Bear Gives Thanks by Karma Wilson 

I love the rhyming text and forest animal vocabulary such as hare, lair and badger. Lots to talk about!

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilky

The children are on a field trip to the farm and decide they must save the turkeys and they smuggle the turkeys onto the bus. So fun!

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman

Will the people find a turkey for Thanksgiving? Lots of rhyming text and fun.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey by Lucille Colandro

If you're a fan of the "Old Lady" books, you'll love this one too. This book repeats "There was an old lady who swallowed a ____."  It's terrific for repetitive articulation practice at the reading level: Plenty of voiced th, final /z/, initial /l/ and the /sw/ blend practice. 

Tip: I'm all about buying the book, but if you just can't lay your hands on one, you can check the read-alouds on YouTube. 

Try some hands-on activities after reading your favorite Thanksgiving picture book

See how to use a farm set like this one in speech therapy to extend your preschool Thanksgiving picture-book readings. 5 Best-Ever Thanksgiving Picture Books  and activities for Preschool Speech Therapy #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #preschool #Thanksgiving #speechandlanguage
Play with a farm set to boost language skills in speech therapy. 

Make play dough pies, play with a farm set (The one above has been well-loved by numerous preschoolers), draw the character or events, or act out the story. SLPs know how to sneak language opportunities in nearly any activity!  

Here's a fun build-a-turkey game You can download in my store- and it's free!  Please leave a comment in my store after downloading, I love hearing from you!
Click HERE to go download.

Picture Books and activities for Thanksgiving speech therapy .FREE Build-a-Turkey Thanksgiving game for kids. Open-ended fun in speech therapy or small groups.Collect all the turkey parts to win! Includes Thanksgiving language quick lists.#speechsprouts #speechtherapy #thanksgiving #preschool #kindergarten #thanksgiving game
Build-a-Turkey Thanksgiving speech therapy game

Follow up with songs and fingerplays. This post has you covered with plenty of suggestions: 

14 Songs and Fingerplays for Fall in Preschool Speech Therapy. 

Ready for some simple print and go activities to cover your entire PK and elementary caseload? 

These are my favorite 3 activities for turkey week, after the storybooks of course! Click the links to see more about them.

Thanksgiving  picture books and activities for preschool and elementary-Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles game! Practice inferencing and learn Thanksgiving vocabulary with this favorite activity. #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #Thanksgiving #Thanksgivinggame
 Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles Game

Thanksgiving Bingo Riddles has 28 boards, so it's terrific for doing small or large groups. In those activity-filled days leading up to the holiday. There are lots of ways to target your goals with this one activity. It's awesome for doubling up groups and getting in some make-up therapy too.

Go no-prep with this versatile Thanksgiving pack:

Thanksgiving preschool picture books and great ideas for turkey week! Go no-prep with activities like this color by number page. Thanksgiving speech therapy activities for those tricky mixed groups. Includes Thanksgiving wh question and Yes-No question Quick Lists.  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slp  #sped #preschool #kindergarten #Thanksgiving
Try these open-ended activities with quick lists for an easy-breezy turkey week!

No Prep Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Mixed Group Magic. This no-prep pack is stuffed full of a huge selection of open-ended, print and go Thanksgiving activities. Also included are Thanksgiving-themed yes-no and WH question quick lists. What are Quick lists? Click to go check 'em out!

Finally, while this set does require some prep, it's always a huge hit with my littles!

5 Best Thanksgiving storybooks plus activities for preschool and elementary speech therapy. Read the books, then grab an activity like this Five Little Turkeys interactive book. It comes with plenty of language activities for an entire no-stress turkey week! #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slp  #sped #preschool #kindergarten #Thanksgiving
Five Little Turkeys Thanksgiving Activities.

Five Little Turkeys Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Activities.
I use the printed interactive book one day, then show on the smartboard or tablet the next session.  There are plenty of activities to last you a week or more with your wiggly preschoolers.

For more Thanksgiving speech therapy ideas, visit this Pinterest Board: Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Activities. 

I am thankful this week

 For family and friends. It's been a special week for my family with the birth of my first grandchild! 


I'm also so grateful and humbled to have been blessed with the opportunity to share my passion for helping children build their communication skills with you, my friends. And to help SLPs and parents make our crazy life a little less stressed, and a little more joyful.

Blessing to you and yours my friends. Have a great week!