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!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

3 Time-saving Hacks for SLPs I'll Bet You Don't Know.

3 Time-saving hacks for SLPs I'll bet you didn't know  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slporganization  #productivity
Discover hidden features of  Microsoft Office- hacks that will help SLPs get work done faster!

I was so excited when I figured out these time-saving hacks!

Of course, the first thing I wanted to do was share it with you.  If you use Microsoft Word and Office at work, you'll love this.

Do you find yourself typing certain things over and over each time you do an email notice or write a report?

I'm responsible for sending out annual IEP meeting notices (we call them ARDS in Texas) to parents and staff. Today I was looking over my list and emailed six parents their notices. 
I typed the same text in each email... 
"Dear Parent, 
Enclosed is an invitation to your child's ARD meeting. Please reply and let us know if you will be attending or if you need a change in date or time. You'll need the password XYZ to open the invitation. We look forward to seeing you."

Repetitive tasks are such a time-waster. And boring.

 I've tried keeping a Word document on my desktop with blurbs that I can copy and paste from, but that's a fairly awkward system. I have to open the document, copy, navigate back to my email, paste. I'm thinking... there must be a better way.

Eureka! I found these fast and easy hacks to speed up those repetitive tasks.

I did a happy dance when I figured this one out. Woohoo, uh, huh, alright!

Maybe you're emailing meeting notices, reminders, or any other repetitive type message. 

1. Do you know you can create an email template in Microsoft Outlook?

If your email doesn't change much each time you send it, this is for you. If you're using Office 2010 or newer, here's how:

  1. Go to your Home tab. 
  2. Find New group and click New E-mail. OR try the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+M
  3. Type the message you want. 
  4. Click File, then Save As
  5. In the Save as Type list, click Outlook Template
  6. Type a name for your template in the File Name box and Save.
You now have a template you can pull up that's pre-filled with your specified text. Don't worry, you can tweak it a bit or add anything to it you need to, such as editing or adding names, dates or times.

Here's how to use your email template:

  1. Click New Items-More Items-Choose Form
  2. Click Look In- click User Templates in File System. This opens the default template location. If you saved to another location, just browse for it by your template name.
  3. Find your template and open it.
Now just make any needed tweaks and send.

2. AutoCorrect

Want to automatically use a snippet without having to click and find it? Set it up in auto-correct. This can be particularly useful for snippets you use all the time. You'll be able to just type a keyword/name and your snippet will automatically replace it. Love this. Really.

Here's how:
  1. Go to File-Options-Proofing
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options
  3. A box will pop up. Check the box that says Replace Text as you type
  4. Under Replace, type the text you want to trigger the autocorrect feature. (You may want to make this something that you wouldn't ordinarily type for other reasons such as "Hello Parent" or DNQ1, so it doesn't autocorrect when you don't need it to.)
  5. In the box that says With, type the text that you want to appear in your document when the autocorrect is triggered.
  6. Select Add, OK and OK again.

What can you use autocorrect for?

There are tons of ways to use this feature. 

How about if you start typing your title, Speech-Lan and the text Speech-Language Pathologist pops up automatically? Awesome!  Other ideas for items you'll never fully have to type out in Microsoft Office again:

  1. Your official title
  2. Your school name
  3. Your email address
  4. Your signature
  5. Notices
  6. Blurbs in Reports
  7. Repetitive instructions
  8. Format of IEP goals (For instance, I start my goals with "Within 36 instructional weeks." I'm going to autocorrect the text "Within 36" to type out the whole blurb super fast!
  9. And how about those typos/ misspellings that you are frequently guilty of? Add 'em to autocorrect!

3. Autotext

This feature is super-handy too. Automatically insert a text snippet you define in documents or emails. This feature goes beyond Autocorrect because you can store your formatting, line breaks, and even graphics. It's autocorrect supercharged!

This works for Word for Office 365, and Microsoft Word versions 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.

Here's how:

  1. Type out the text you want to re-use for your snippet (or you can even insert a graphic)
  2. Press Alt+F3 and a Create New Building Block dialogue box will open. (Who knew this was there? Not me.)
  3. You can use the defaults, but you may want to add a name and description to make it easier for you to find. (I'd keep the name short but meaningful to you.)
  4. To use your new auto-text snippet, Go to Insert-Quick Parts-Autotext and choose your snippet 
  5. OR even faster:  Put your cursor where you want your autotext, then type the name of your autotext. Press F3.  

This is seriously amazing. You might want to keep a list of your autotext names handy if you create a lot of them, so you don't forget them.

What can SLPs use Auto text for? 

  1. Notices
  2. Blurbs in reports
  3. Repetitive instructions
  4. Email reminders: meetings, paperwork due, items needed from staff for evals, parent updates.
  5. Including your photo or school mascot in signatures

Note: Don't use these features to store confidential information

Once established, autocorrect, autotext and email templates are available to anyone using your computer, or that you share the document with. So be sure you don't store anything confidential that you wouldn't want to share. 

Give it a Whirl! 

I think you'll love saving time with these hacks. Leave me a comment if you give it a try. I'd love to hear how these hacks make your SLP easier! Know any other great shortcuts? Share those too.

3 Time-saving hacks for SLPs I'll bet you didn't know  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slporganization  #productivity

Until next time,