Monday, January 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are looking for sound-loaded storybooks for speech therapy, I have you covered! Read this post: Sound-Loaded Storybooks for Articulation- Find 'em Here by Phoneme.

Until next time my friends, 

Friday, January 12, 2018

How to Build Language with 3 Easy Snowman Activities

Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the story, we made melted snowmen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

On Day 2 We read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehler

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

Snowman Squares

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

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

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

On Day 3 We read Snow Friends by Christina Butler

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

After the story, we created these easy snowmen.

Paper Plate Snowmen

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game


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

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

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

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

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

Snowman Game

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

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

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

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

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

These snowman activities are just right for targeting articulation too.

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

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

 Easy Snowman Activities for Speech Therapy: Crafts and Game

I hope you enjoy a little snowy fun in speech!  

Until next time, my friends.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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

SLP/ Speech Therapy Blog Posts / Speech Sprouts

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

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

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

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

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

The Best of SLP Blog Posts Round-Up:

Want to learn more about AAC?

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

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

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


Need ideas for articulation?

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

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

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

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


Like to get organized?

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

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

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

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


Plan to get your students moving?

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

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


Preparing to up your assessment game?

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


Thinking about professional issues?

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

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

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

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

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


Gathering resources for parents and teachers?

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

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

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


Ready to boost those language skills?

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

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

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


Brushing up on therapy skills and approaches?

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

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


Listening on your list?

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

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


Working with children with autism?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Love story-book based therapy?

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

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


Considering Volunteering Your SLP Skills Abroad?

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


How About Using Videos in Speech Therapy?

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time my friends,