Thursday, December 31, 2015

Winter Speech Therapy With The Mitten

The Mitten is one of my very favorite books for winter speech therapy.  

This sweet and simple story is a Ukranian Folktale beautifully re-told and illustrated by Jan Brett.

The Mitten Story: Best-Ever Winter Storybooks for Speech Therapy

The story tells about a young boy named Nikki who wanted snow-white mittens. 

His very wise grandmother, Baba,  didn't think that was a very good idea. Nikki might lose them in the snow. But she knits them for him anyway. Sure enough, he does lose them!

What child can't relate to getting so busy playing that they have lost an item?  (Judging from the many, many jackets that are left on our school playground, I think it's most of them!)

Pretty soon a little mole discovers the mitten, and burrows inside to stay warm. He is soon joined by a series of forest animals: a hedgehog, rabbit, owl, fox, badger and and even a bear. The mitten stretches and stretches as each animal wiggles in. Finally one more animal, a tiny, tickly field mouse arrives to sit on bear's nose. Bear sneezes, the mitten explodes, and animals scatter everywhere!

The Mitten Story: Best-Ever Winter Storybooks for Speech Therapy

Nikki catches his mitten in the air and heads home to a confused grandmother, who can't imagine how Nikki stretched the mitten out.


Here's why this is a terrific book for language development:

1. Children can relate to the busy boy who loses his mitten. Perfect jumping off point for story-telling. Did you ever lose something? What happened? How did you feel? Did you ever find it? How did Baba feel at the end of the story?

2. Animals: Children love re-telling a story with animals. What fun to have this delightful series of forest creatures. It's a great opportunity to introduce some new vocabulary like hedgehog and badger.

3. Simple repetitive plots such as this one aid young children in comprehension and story-retelling.

4. Sequencing. First the mole squeezed in, then the hedgehog, then.....

5. Verbs: Lots of great action words to discuss: knitted, dropped, tunneled, hopped, snuffled, swooped, poked, lumbered, swelled, tickled, scattered, caught.

6. Describing and categories. The hedgehog was covered in prickles. How did they feel? What else is sharp?

Activity and Game Ideas:

I love using hands-on art activities, so creating our very own mittens will be perfect! There are plenty of fun ideas on Pinterest, see some on my Winter Pinterest board HERE.  

If you have a die-cut machine at school, you can cut out plenty of mittens and add articulation words, synonyms or  antonyms. 

For young children, hide some mittens and play Where is the Mitten? Where did you find it? Under, behind, on top?


The Mitten: No-Print Story Companion

I have created a brand-new book companion for you to accompany this wonderful book!

 I needed some great therapy activities to use this winter after reading the book. My kids have really enjoyed my other No-Print language units, so I designed this one with several fun interactive activities.

The Mitten Story: Best-Ever Winter Storybooks for Speech Therapy

Disclaimer: The book is not included, and should be purchased separately. I am not affiliated with the author.

The file is interactive on a computer, tablet or interactive whiteboard. I am fortunate to have a whiteboard, and it's great to have a group story time with the children coming up to touch each answer. I also use it on my Ipad, as shown in the pictures.

The Mitten: No-Print Story Companion includes five activities:  Wh and Yes/No questions, simple analogies, describing and story re-tell. Both text and pictured answers are included, so both readers and non-readers can answer the questions.

The Mitten: No Print Story Companion

The Mitten: No Print Story Companion

The Mitten: No Print Story Companion

Embedded in the activities every few slides are fun motivational activities: 

What's Different? Find the Mitten, Help Nikki Get Dressed and Match the Snowflakes.

The Mitten: No Print Story Companion
CLICK HERE to view on TPT

I would love your feedback on NO-Print activities. Do you prefer No-Print activities, Printables or enjoy having both?

I hope you stop by often, I can't wait to share more great books with you this winter!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What are the 100 Best SLP Blogs and Websites of 2016?

Want to find the very best websites and blogs for SLP's? There is so much great information out there, and wonderful fresh ideas. But where to start?

TOP 100 websites for SLPS 2016 - Speech Sprouts is honored to be chosen
Great List of  top SLP bloggers and websites

The list is out!

Every year Kidmunicate does a comprehensive round-up of the best SLP blogs out there. I am very excited to tell you that Speech Sprouts is listed in the top 100 for 2016!

I feel like I am in fantastic company, along with well-established blogs by friends and colleagues like Activity Tailor, Putting Words in Your Mouth, Natalie Snyders, All Y'all Need, The Speech Room News, and so many more.

You will definately find great new blogs to explore, and you can also check out excellent sites for SLP resources, information on disorders, and SLP technology websites.

Taking this journey with you is an adventure!

This nomination has me reflecting where we have been together over the past year. Let's see....

We've talked about my favorite sound-loaded books:

Sound-Loaded Storybooks List
Free Sound-loaded Storybooks List

Using puppets in therapy:

Using puppets in speech therapy:Story-telling
My Favorite things: Puppets for Story-telling

Holiday crafts with awesome language opportunities:

Free Stocking pattern and /st/ cards to stuff inside!
Free Stocking Pattern and /st/ cards to stuff inside!

Spreading the word and advocating for our kids:

Word Retrieval Demonstration
Demonstration: Perfect for Faculty Meetings
Tips and handouts for teachers

Getting our kids up and moving:

Where is the Bus? Get 'em moving in speech therapy.
Wheels on The Bus

Art because its FUN! (And kids will go home and TALK about it!)

Apple Stamping
Apple Stamping
Dot Marker Fun in Speech Therapy
Dot Marker Fun

And of course some great prizes, freebies and therapy resources too!

Apple Freebie
Apple Freebie

FREE same/different activity: Buttons for Corduroy

Quantity Concepts for Spring: Frogs and Flies
Teach Quantity Concepts with this Spring Freebie

So What's in Store for 2016?

I hope to honor my selection by bringing you some great content in 2016. You know I love storybooks and my littles, so there will be plenty more literature-based ideas to come.

 And you may have discovered that I love doing hands-on, messy, artsy, manipulative activities that engage my kiddos.I totally believe in the power of play to make learning stick. And themes. Love themes.And not just for little kids!

Are there certain areas of practice you feel unsure about? 

Maybe Fluency? Apraxia? Adapting activities for early communicators or even those that are non-verbal? I would love to hear what is on your mind. Lets tackle some of those areas together.

 I'll be showing you what we have been up to in my therapy room, and I hope to hear about yours too.


In the meantime, Head over and check out the 100 SLP Blogs Best list at Kidmunicate.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Frozen Toes, Ice Skates and a Giveaway!

The year is winding down, and I have been blessed in so many ways this year!  

December is time for giving, and I am joining the Frenzied SLPS in giving back to you! We will each be posting on Facebook about our holiday traditions and giving away one copy of a favorite product from our store as a little way to say thanks for a wonderful year. There will be one post with a giveaway each day, so be sure to follow and enter each one! Here is mine, and I would like to tell you a bit about it.

Winter Pronouns, I Like Skating!
I Like Skating: Interactive Reader Focusing on Pronouns

I live in Texas now, but as a child my winter memories were filled with frosty winter activities in upstate New York. 

My mom was raising three of us on a very limited income, so we didn’t count on store-bought fun. We went outside and enjoyed the snow with building igloos, making snowmen and snow angels. Catching snowflakes on my tongue and watching the bright red cardinals and chickadees hunt for berries on top of the crusty snow. There was a nearby pond which froze quite solid, and the neighborhood children would ice skate there. I yearned to go too, but I didn’t have a pair of skates.

Then one year, when I was about 12, there they were! Under the Christmas tree there was a brand new pair of silver and white ice skates. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My brother got a pair too, in black. I couldn’t wait to go try them out, and as soon as I could, got dressed in layers and layers of clothes, grabbed my shovel (when there had been a snowfall, you had to shovel the ice first), my brother, and headed out the door.

We trudged about an eighth of a mile through the snow to get to that pond. I can remember how exciting it was to lace up those skates and glide (although very wobbly at first) along that frozen surface. Cold nose, frozen toes where ignored. I was in heaven.



Those winter memories are near and dear to my heart, and I would love to give away a copy of my I Like Skating: A Reader Focusing On Pronouns. The repetitive storybook has skaters to attach to the pond on each page- perfect for practicing pronouns as you answer “Who will skate with me?” Then each child can make a cut and paste mini-book to take home for more practice. In my therapy room, when we are finished, we do a little “skating” by putting pieces of leftover laminate under our feet and gliding around the room!

Winter Pronouns, I Like Skating!
I Like Skating

Would you like to win a free copy? Head over to Facebook HERE, on December 11th, 2015 and leave a comment about a favorite winter memory of yours. I will randomly choose one winner from the comments. . Be sure to leave your e-mail too, so I can send a copy if you win.

May snowflakes melt on your tongue!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

SLPs Love Cookies! A Virtual Christmas Exchange

My friend Annie over at Doyle Speechworks came up with the fantastic idea of a virtual cookie exchange. Who doesn't love getting together with your girlfriends and  swapping cookies, stories and a lot of laughs?

It just so happens that yesterday I did just that - in person. Hosted by my friend (and her Mom) who teaches an integrated preschool class, she had tons of great ideas. Charlie Brown's Christmas theme:  how cute!

 Twenty-two women brought 6 dozen cookies to share and taste-test. 

Sugar overload! Everyone made six dozen cookies, all the same recipe. We chopped up one dozen to taste and judge. Best-tasting, Best Christmas theme, Best overall. There was candy too.

Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap- maple bacon shortbread and a delicious linky too!

Delicious fun. I was definitely sensing a theme as they announced the winners: Chocolate, chocolate! (Note for next year)

 Here's what I brought to the party:

These little guys have big maple and bacon flavor- yum! They didn't really need dressing up,  but you could add a little "snow" and give them a thin coating of icing to make them white if you like.

Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap- maple bacon shortbread and a delicious linky too!

Want the recipe? 

Just save the recipe image to your computer and print.

Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap- maple bacon shortbread and a delicious linky too!

Each participant brought baggies filled with three cookies each and popped them in these cute take-home goodie bags that were ready for us. We even got pages for our cumulative recipe books. This is the third year I have attended, and we get the recipe pack each year, so it's growing!

Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap- maple bacon shortbread and a delicious linky too!

Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap- maple bacon shortbread and a delicious linky too!

Love Cookies? Be sure to  hop over to Doyle Speech Works and read more great posts with recipes in a delicious virtual cookie swap.

Here's hoping your Christmas will be sweet and merry!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Best-Ever Books for Speech Therapy- Press Here

I love using children's books in speech therapy.

Do you know that euphoric feeling when you finish a session and say, "Wow! That was terrific!"  You feel that you thoroughly addressed your student's goals and everyone was truly engaged.  I often get that warm fuzzy when I use storybooks in our session. Whether used as the focal point, or jumping-off point, children's literature is perfect for speech therapy.

Best-Ever Books for Speech Therapy- Press Here

Maybe you are just getting started incorporating literature into your sessions, or maybe you are already a fan, and would like to discover more great stories to use. Either way, I would love to share with you some of my very favorite storybooks and how I use them in speech therapy.

You can find storybooks for nearly any speech and language target, 

but it can be a challenge searching and reading through them at the library, to find books for specific targets. I plan to make it easy for you, by regularly featuring storybooks that are terrific finds for therapy (And classroom too!).

My caseload consists of age 3 through fourth graders, so you can expect I will cover books for that age group. I will be covering lots of language ideas, and some articulation too!

Why use storybooks in speech therapy?

1. BUDGET-FRIENDLY- Storybooks are the perfect therapy tools, and so many are available for free in your school or local library. FREE. Yep, I like that. Especially since my speech therapy budget is "Ahem!" Well.... let's just say non-existent!

2. SUPPORTS LITERACY- Books make including literacy in your therapy a breeze. Point out titles, text, story elements:characters, settings, problem, solution.

3. HIGH INTEREST- Great books captivate children's interest, allow you to incorporate themes, favorite topics, and seasonal topics too.

 4. REPEATED PRACTICE -Great for repetitive practice. My young kiddos especially LOVE to read and re-read their favorites, which is excellent for comprehension. Story re-tell, wh questions..... tons of therapy gold there.

5. EASY TO MODIFY - Modify your leterature -based therapy up or down for mixed groups and special needs. Pre-teach vocabulary, modify your reading rate, add pauses for processing, simplify wording as you read, ready-made visual supports in illustrations.

4. HOME PRACTICE - Storybooks are perfect for parents too.

Now on to our book review:

Today's find is Press Here by Herve' Tullet.

Best-Ever Books for Speech Therapy- Press Here

Do you have kids working on verbs?

This imaginative story is jam-packed with verbs and your kids can join in the action using the book itself. Press here. More dots appear!

Best-Ever Books for Language Learning with Littles- Press Here www.speechsproutstherapy.comBest-Ever Books for Language learning with Littles- Press Here www

 Tap this, rub there,shake it!

Best-Ever Books for Language Learning with Littles- Press Here

Now blow..... each time I turn the page to see what "happened" my preschoolers squeal with delight. What a perfect way to talk about past tense too!  "Press here. What did you do?" Work on pronouns: " Kyle tapped the yellow dot. What did he do?" We also love to predict what will happen before we turn the page.

The primary-colored dots totally captivate my kids. Ok, me too! I couldn't wait to turn the page and see what happened next.

Best-Ever Books for Language Learning with Littles- Press Here

There are lots of ways to extend the book. 

You can shake the book. What else can you shake? Tap? Blow on? What happened when you tilted the page?

Bring in different things to shake: a maraca, a tambourine, rainstick,  baggies or plastic jars (large medicine bottles work well) with beans or marbles, another filled with water and colored oil, another with flour or sand. Shake them, guess what's inside if you can't see it. Are they the same? How are they different?

Goals You Can Target with Press Here.

  1. Verbs- present and past-tense
  2. Wh question- What happened?"
  3. Prediction
  4. Quantity vocabulary: more
  5. Size vocabulary: small, medium, large

Looking for books that repetitively feature articulation targets?

I have a list of my favorites for articulation targets that you can download for free... Read about it in my post here: Sound-Loaded Books for Articulation.

FREE Download: Sound-Loaded Storybooks for Articulation
Click Here

If you love storybooks, be sure to follow me and stop back often. 

I will reviewing more of my favorites, and you are sure to find some therapy gold for your speech room!