Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine Books for Speech Therapy

Hi Loves!

It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is here!! I love incorporating the Day of Love into my speech therapy sessions because it is the perfect opportunity to focus on friendship, kindness and inclusion! 

You guys know that I'm an advocate for incorporating books into your therapy session to promote literacy and to instill the love for reading into your students. But in addition to that, you really can work on articulation, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, grammar, MLU, and every other student goal using just a single book! 

There are many amazing Valentine's Day books out there that work great in both the classroom and at home, but I compiled a list of my favorite Valentine books for speech therapy below, as well as a few suggestions for why I love them! PS: Amazon affiliate links are also included, k? 

1. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli is BY FAR my favorite book to teach around Valentine's Day. It is a wonderful story about a man who was lonely and sad until a random act of kindness changes his entire outlook on life. It promotes kindness, inclusion, and friendship. I have two different book companions available for this one: One that is in color with a few black and white pages sprinkled in that you can find HERE, and a second that is completely no prep-just print and go-available HERE

2. Who Will Be My Valentine This Year, by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki, is a fun, short story about a hippo looking for a valentine. She gets turned down by several other animals due to their differences, until she discovers in the end that they were only kidding, and differences are fun! 

3. The Night Before Valentine's Day, by Natasha Wing, is another fun favorite! Part of a "Night Before" series by the same author, it details lots of activities for the day before Valentine's Day and is full of seasonal and themed vocabulary! 

4. Happy Valentine's Day, Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer, is an adorable lift-the-flap book perfect for your younger kiddos. Little Critter is at school and having a valentine's day fun! We use a book companion for this one found HERE.

5. Froggy's First Kiss, by Jonathan London, is a cute book for all of your students who love Froggy! Froggy works hard to make the perfect valentine for someone special....his MOM! 

6. The Berenstain Bears' Funny Valentine, by Stan & Jan Berenstain, is the perfect book for teaching about friendship for Valentine's Day. I love the character lessons taught in the Berenstain Bears books, and this one is no exception! 

7. The Biggest Valentine Ever, by Steven Kroll, is another favorite for the holiday! All of the books in this series follow the adventures of two mice friends who are both extremely competitive. 

8. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose, by Lucille Colandro, is another fun book from the Old Lady Series. My students love these crazy books so much! We work on sequencing, comprehension, vocabulary, and more. Jenn from Crazy Speech World has a great companion to this book that we use. You can find it HERE

9. Will You Be My Valenswine? by Teresa Bateman, is an adorable book about a pig on the farm looking for a Valentine. It's full of rhyming words, figurative language, and excellent vocabulary! 

10. Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse, by Laura Numeroff is a precious little board book perfect for young students in Pre-K! I love how it introduces the character of Mouse as well as valentine vocabulary in brightly illustrated pictures! 

11. Love Monster, by Rachel Bright, is a super cute book that is a student favorite! It's perfect for teaching about inclusion, being different, and fitting in. 

12. A Crankenstein Valentine, by Samantha Berger, is a super funny book about a boy who becomes cranky thanks to the yucky day of love! My boys love this one! 

13. The Day It Rained Hearts, by Felicia Bond is a precious book about sharing, being thoughtful, and friendship! 

14. Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine, by Herman Parish, is filled with funny figurative language that your students will love! My daughter has fallen in love with Amelia Bedelia thanks to this book. We've used it for language therapy and in our social skills fun! 

15. Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine, by Barbara Park is a great book for older students! I love the Junie B. Jones books and my students do also! It can easily be read over a few different sessions, too! 

Which amazingly LOVEly Valentine books did I leave off the list? Let me know!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

February Themed Speech Therapy Activities

Hi Loves!

With as quickly as this school year is flying by, it's hardly surprising that we're already into February, but here we are! With three holidays in February, it's a fun month for themed therapy and introducing new vocabulary. Below, I'll detail my favorite February Themed Speech Therapy Activities, including some Amazon affiliate links for the books.

We kick the month off with Groundhog Day. Most of my students aren't familiar with what Groundhog Day is all about, much less the history behind Groundhog Day. We use this History of Groundhog Day packet to learn about how this fun holiday originated, make predictions about whether or not he'll see his shadow, debate over whether winter weather or spring weather is better, and learn awesome new vocabulary words like burrow, dignitary, marmot, and more! 

After Groundhog Day, we go back to Bears for a week. By this time in South GA, we're experiencing some early signs of Spring, including temperatures in the 70-80's. Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson is one of my favorite books for bringing on Spring. Bear Wants More includes the same characters as the other beloved Bear books, which is excellent for continuity when working on story elements. In Bear Wants More, Bear wakes up from his winter slumber, and he's starving! We incorporate food into this unit as well, and discuss healthy vs. unhealthy food choices too! You can find the book companion for Bear Wants More HERE

After Bears, it's time for Valentine's Day! Valentine's Day is such a fun holiday to incorporate into speech! We read lots of Valentine's Day books and use Valentine's Day themed activities to work on 
speech and language goals! These are just a few of my favorite Valentine's Day books! 

Probably my favorite Valentine book of all is Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. It is a precious story about friendship, love, and the importance of kindness. It's the perfect way to incorporate kindness into your lessons while working on speech and language goals as well. I have two book companions available for this book. One is a color book companion that requires printing and laminating (with a few black and white pages mixed in), and the second is completely NO PREP, so you just print and go! 

See the colored companion for Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch HERE and the no prep companion for Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch HERE


After reading the book, we discuss random acts of kindness and brainstorm ways we can show random acts of kindness to others. There are black and white valentine cards included as well for giving to others. 

This No Prep Valentine packet has over 100 pages of various pages for targeting loads of speech and language goals. I love that this one packet allows me to work on just about every goal on my caseload for grades K-5th! 


I love using these candy counting and sorting pages with both real candy hearts and these sticker candy hearts (perfect if you're not allowed to use candy in your schools or have students with allergies!)

 I love, love, love teaching holiday histories to my students to incorporate factual information in with the fiction and fun! This History of Valentine's Day packet is great for working on vocabulary, comprehension, and more!

Finally, I have quite a few older students working on vocabulary and analogies. They get tired of working on the same analogies over and over, so I like to spice it up with introducing themed analogies from time to time. These Valentine-themed analogies have been awesome for extra practice that also incorporates our seasonal vocabulary as well!

Next, we're on to President's Day. As a history buff myself, I love incorporating history lessons into speech therapy! My History of President's Day packet is full of activities from patriotic vocabulary, to Bingo Boards, compare and contrast pages for the different presidents, short bios on many of the more famous Presidents, and even comprehension passages and questions for the history behind how President's Day became an official holiday and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. 

Finally, we wrap up the month of February by starting life-cycles, which we'll finish in the coming weeks of Spring. We always start with the frog life cycle, which is a student favorite...especially with the boys! You can find the From Tadpole to Frog book companion HERE and the book HERE

What February themed speech therapy activities do you do? Are there others I've missed? I'd love to hear!!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Winter Themed Speech Therapy Activities

Hi Friends!

January is such a fun month for theme-based therapy! Because I'm located in South GA, most of my students have never seen snow. Especially snow that sticks! I love using the month of January for a winter theme so they can learn about other parts of the world that have colder climates, animals that thrive in winter weather, and winter holidays. Using Winter themed speech therapy activities gives me a chance to teach them about meaningful vocabulary that they don't hear or come in contact with on a regular basis. While many of these students have never traveled out of our state, studying about other climates, cultures, and geographical locations allows them to realize that the world is a lot bigger than what they see in their hometown.

Below, I'll detail many of our winter themed speech therapy activities. Affiliate links are included.

We start the month of January learning all about winter weather, winter activities, snow, and how to build snowmen. On the first day I introduce a new theme, we spend a few minutes brainstorming vocabulary related to that theme. Later, we'll learn about the Arctic and Antarctic. We study the weather, the geographical location, and animals that live there. We compare and contrast the Arctic and Antarctic as well. I draw a simple map on the board to give them a visual perspective, and I reiterate over and over for several weeks that polar bears and penguins do not live together!

I love reading The Snowy Day, Just a Snowman, and The Biggest Snowman Ever to introduce my students to the different snow activities. I have a book companion for Just a Snowman available HERE. We use the Melting Snowman to practice snowman sequencing, and then the kiddos love watching the snowman melt before our eyes! Here's the affiliate link for the melting snowman!


I also found a pack of soft, fake snowballs a few years back, and they LOVE having a (safe) snowball fight in the therapy room!

I also found the snowman inflatable from the Target Dollar Spot this year, but similar items are available on Amazon. When the students answer a question or use their target sound correctly, they get to toss a snowball into the snowman's hole. Whoever has the most points at the end of the session wins!

Though we don't play games in therapy every day, we do bring out the board games for reinforcement from time to time. These are my favorites that go along with our winter theme!

This year, I also incorporated a Yeti Week into speech! I found this adorable book, Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti, at the book fair and made a companion packet for it specifically geared towards my younger students (pre-k through 2nd grade). The students LOVED the interactive book and the Yeti board games that pair perfectly with it! You can find the companion HERE.

These are all excellent books for a Winter Theme! I love using both fiction and nonfiction texts in therapy for each theme!

While we talk about lots of different animals that live in the Arctic and Antarctic, we take a close look at penguins and polar bears.We spend several days talking about penguins and reading one of my favorite children's books, Pierre the Penguin by Jean Marzollo. You can read an entire blog post on Pierre the Penguin HERE. I found the inflatable penguin bowling set at the Target dollar spot, but you can also order a similar one from Amazon.

Pierre the Penguin is a fantastic non-fiction children's book about an African penguin named Pierre. He lives with 19 other African penguins in the California Academy of Sciences museum. Pierre loses his feathers and is too cold to swim. The aquatic biologist that cares for the penguins sets out to find a way for Pierre to get warm again. It is an amazing story about problem solving, kindness, perseverance, dedication, creativity, and love. I have two book companions available for Pierre the Penguin as well. One has color activities (with a few no-prep pages sprinkled in), and the second is completely no prep, so you just print and GO! You can find links to both below. When you're finished reading the book, the California Academy of Sciences museum has a live penguin camera in their penguin exhibit! You can pull it up in your classroom and watch the penguins eat, waddle, dive, and swim in the water!

Click HERE for the color Pierre the Penguin book companion. 

Jenn Alcorn from Crazy Speech World has a great penguin craft that works great with this book!  You can find it on Teachers Pay Teachers HERE

Click HERE for the No Prep Pierre the Penguin book companion.

After a week of learning all about penguins, we then spend time learning about polar bears! Another favorite nonfiction book is Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World. It's an amazing book about an orphaned polar bear and his zookeeper who raised him from a little cub. The book encourages preservation of our polar bears and other Arctic animals and the importance of taking care of our environment to protect their habitat. The book companion is linked HERE. 

Darla from Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room has a great Feed-the-Polar-Bear activity HERE. My students were so motivated to practice their sounds on the fish and then feed them to the polar bear! 

We also use my Arctic & Antarctic No Prep Pack to practice our speech and language goals while continuing to learn about the Arctic and Antarctic. It's over 100 pages of no-prep activities for tons of speech and language goals. I use it with almost every student on my caseload from kindergarten to 5th grade! You can find it HERE.  I also have a Winter No Prep Speech and Language Unit available HERE.

Because vocabulary needs to be taught, re-taught, and taught again over and over as much as possible, I incorporate the themed vocabulary into as many activities as possible. This Arctic/Antarctic Vocabulary and Comprehension packet teaches themed vocabulary words and factual information about the animals of the Arctic and Antarctic. You can find it HERE.

These vocabulary pages are my FAVORITE! The students write the word, identify the parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms (when applicable), define it and draw it, and use it in a sentence. They have vocabulary books that we keep throughout the year with all of their themed vocabulary pages in them. At the end of the year, we can look back and review all of the vocabulary words we've learned throughout the year!

Finally, I use this Arctic Baby/Mommy Match-up FREEBIE as another way to work on vocabulary while also providing a game for reinforcement. You can find it HERE!

After our Arctic and Antarctic units, we do a week on Bears in general. We learn factual information about the types of bears, where they live, and how they are similar and different. One of my favorite fictional books to use during this week is Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson. You can find the book companion HERE.  The students love learning about how bears sleep a lot in the winter (although it's not technically hibernation)!

During our Winter theme in January, we talk a lot about the season of Winter and the weather. Towards the end of January, we wrap up our Winter theme with Groundhog Day. It's the perfect transition to show how Winter is coming to a close, and Spring is on the way! I think it's really important for students to know why we celebrate certain holidays, so I often teach the history behind the holidays we celebrate. My History of Groundhog Day packet can be found HERE, and it teaches vocabulary and history while targeting comprehension, vocabulary, and more! Bingo boards are also included for vocab practice and reinforcement.

My student intern helped the students make an adorable groundhog craft too. It's a puppet, so the students enjoyed making them come in and out of their burrow!

Do you use a Winter Themed speech therapy activities in therapy? Are there any activities I missed? I'd love to hear!!