Wild About Books Wednesday...Mooseltoe

Today I am linking up with Scarlett from Speech Is Sweet for your weekly installment of the “Wild About Books Wednesday” linky party! I’ve been absent for the past few weeks but I am so glad to be back today, talking about one of my favorite books to use before Christmas! This book is always a crowd pleaser in my therapy sessions...Do you know what book it is?

It’s ..... Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini!!!!!! If you haven’t read this book before, you are missing out! I love it and so do ALL of my kids! 

In this story Moose is all about the holiday spirit! He shops, he bakes, he decorates...but...boy, oh boy does he make a mistake! You will have to read this book with your student’s to find out Moose’s mistake and the hilarious solution he comes up with! 

Guess what?!?! Yes...I have a book companion in my TPT store to help you out! It even comes in both color and black and white!!! Click here to check it out
Here are a few ways I use this book in my therapy sessions:

*Sequencing- We read the story then we use the story retell mat found in my book companion to correctly sequence and retell this silly story! 
*Comprehension Questions- Some of my kiddos can expressively answer the questions about the story but some of them need visual choices in order to answer comprehension questions. 
*Following Directions with Prepositions- So many of my kiddos need to work on both following directions and prepositions...let’s combine the skills together!
*Same and Different: I have several kids who struggle with finding objects that are the same and finding objects that are different. 
*Synonyms and Antonyms: Vocabulary is always a major focus in our therapy sessions! 
What else can we work on?

*Inferencing (in book companion)
*Categories (in book companion)
*Figurative language (not in book companion)

How would you use this book in therapy?

See you soon!

The Speech Owl

5-Star Ideas for SLP's: Snowmen All Year book companion by Speech Made Simple

Today is the last day of school before Thanksgiving break here in Tennessee! Some of you are off all this week while others of us work part of the week. What are your Thanksgiving plans? I have some big plans...I’m prepping everything I need for therapy from now until Christmas/Winter Break! This time of year gets so crazy, I’m trying to decrease a little of the stress and anxiety! 

To help you with planning, some of my favorite SLPs decided to do a little product swap. Check out all 10 of our 5 star product reviews (links at the end of the post) to see what you MUST have for your therapy sessions! 

I am so excited that I get to review a great Book Companion (Snowmen All Year) from the super talented Brittany at Speech Made Simple! If you haven’t checked out her TPT store you need to (click here)! Don't forget to click the star next to her picture to follow her while you're there. 

The “Snowmen All Year book companion” was created to be used with the book “Snowmen All Year” by Caralyn Buehner. In this adorable book, a little boy wants his snowman to last all year long so he can play with him, teach him new things and take him new places. Brittany did a great job making the book companion compliment the book!
I love all of the different skills addressed in this book companion! It makes it so much easier when I can address the many different needs of my students with a single product! Look at all the skills we can work on...

*Comprehension Questions 
*Yes/No Questions
*Following Directions
*Verb Tense
*Writing AND

Because I was short on prep time this week I didn’t even cut the cards apart for most of these tasks. (Cut out the cards for each task and throw in her “lose a turn” cards and you have an instant SLP game!)

Three lucky groups participated in giving the companion a try!
Here are some pictures to show you some of the things we did....

We answered the comprehension questions (I wrote initials on each card) and placed a blue smiley face on the card for a correct answer and a green smiley face on the card if a prompt was required. I love the variety of questions she included! The best part...the kids loved it! 
We filled in the appropriate pronouns: Writing practice and pronoun practice in one...WIN for the SLP! 
We followed directions and worked on prepositions! There were 4 worksheets so we could decide what picture we wanted to work on! (We didn’t have time to color but we did cut and paste.)
*We worked on categories with these fun worksheets! (Again...we didn’t have time to color.) There are several category worksheets...we only had time for one. 
*We talked about how a snowman and a snowball are similar and different! The kids were amazing on this one! (I wasn’t sure how we would do since we don’t get a lot of snow here.) Brittany included 2 more graphic organizers for mittens vs. hats and winter vs. summer as well! 
*We even used this fun game board to reinforce our articulation practice!
We seriously had so much fun reading this book and using this book companion in our therapy sessions this week! This one is definitely going into the therapy plans! Make sure you grab a copy by clicking here!!!!! You don’t want to miss this one!

Want to see what my friend Lyndsey had to say about my book companion for Mooseltoe?! Click here

And...make sure you stop by the rest of the blogs while you're at it. Just click the links at the bottom of all our blog posts! 

See you soon! 
The Speech Owl

One Is A Feast For Mouse...Wild about books Wednesday

I am so excited to share one of my FAVORITE books!!!! Since today is Wednesday, I am linking up with Scarlett over at Speech is Sweet for “Wild About Books Wednesday” and I’m linking up (a day late...as usual) with Mrs. Jump’s Class for “Book Talk Tuesday”!

Since Halloween is in a few days...I’m moving on to planning for Thanksgiving!

“One is a Feast For Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale” by Judy Cox is one of my all time favorite Thanksgiving books! In this absolutely adorable book our sweet mouse friend sneaks out of his hidey-hole to find some yummy food. As Mouse scampers over to the table he sees a luscious green pea. He decides a pea will be enough for him and starts to head back home. As Mouse is walking across the table he starts to notice more and more food scraps. Mouse gets greedy and all kinds of craziness ensues! Go grab the book to see what happens next!

I am so excited to use my new book companion, “One is A Feast For Mouse: A Book Companion for Language” (click here) to introduce my kiddos to this book! Here is how I am going to use this book in therapy...
(Click on any of the images to see the Book Companion in my TPT store!)
***Vocabulary- There are so many Tier 1 and Tier 2 vocabulary words in here!!!
***Sequencing- We are going to use the retelling map and booklet to sequence and retell the story. A few years ago, I made large drawings of Mouse and all of the food, so we are also going to use the felt board while we read! I’ll post pictures later on facebook (click here) and instagram (@thespeechowl). Make sure you are following me on both!
***Comprehension Questions- Some of my kiddos are going to expressively answer the comprehension questions and some of my kiddos will have answers presented visually in a field of 3. 
***Categories- We are going to work on several different category sorts!!!
***Plural Nouns- We are going to work on plural nouns using the Tier 1 vocabulary from the book!
***Past Tense Verbs- We are going to work on past tense verbs based on the events in the story!
***Synonyms and Antonyms- We are going to determine if word pairs are synonyms or antonyms. We are also going to produce synonyms and antonyms and do a worksheet for each!
What else...
We can also discuss what we want to have at our Thanksgiving feasts (there is a page with visuals for this).
We can talk about greed. 
We can talk about what we are thankful for.

See you soon!
The Speech Owl

Why I love using books in therapy...

Why I love using books in therapy...

“Literacy is perhaps the most important factor contributing to academic and economic success, and also plays an important role in social interactions.” (Spracher, 2000)

“It seems increasingly clear that the literacy achievement gap that is already present for many students when they enter kindergarten must be effectively closed in the early years of school.” (Foster and Miller, 2007)

  1. I can address a wide variety of vocabulary! My students often have difficulty with comprehension because of their lack of vocabulary knowledge. When we introduce a new book into our therapy sessions we go through and identify important Tier 1 or Tier 2 vocabulary words. We match Tier 1 words with pictures and actions if necessary and we use context clues to help define Tier 2 vocabulary words. When we determine the meaning of our Tier 2 vocabulary words we often act them out. For example, we are currently reading “Pumpkin Soup” by Helen Cooper. One word my students had difficulty understanding was paced. Once we determined through context clues what paced meant we all stood up and started to pace. Now when I ask what pace means everyone of my students can tell me. 
  2. I can address comprehension skills! This one is obvious! My students often perform significantly better on comprehension tasks when the story is read aloud to them, rather than requiring them to read the story themselves. We work on both receptive and expressive comprehension skills. We use often use the text and picture cues to help when needed. We work hard on using context clues as a strategy to increase comprehension.
  3. I can address sequencing! Sequencing is a prerequisite skill for my students writing summaries of the books they have read. My fourth graders are required to write a summary of the books they have read before they take an AR test. 
  4. I can address high frequency sight words! When we come across a sight word, I will often stop and allow my students to read.
  5. I can address main ideas and details! This helps with those difficult summaries and improves writing skills. 
  6. I can address pragmatic skills! We can determine the problems in a story and brainstorm the best, most socially acceptable solutions. 
  7. I can address speech sounds! I will often have my students read the words containing the speech sound we are targeting. 
  8. I can address rhyming, blending, segmenting, and print awareness! All of these skills are imperative for increased literacy awareness! 
  9. I can address descriptive qualities, as well as, compare and contrast! For the younger students we might discuss categories, same/different, what does not belong, etc. and for the old students we can compare and contrast items in the books, styles of books, authors, etc. 

These are only a few of the ways I can use books to support speech and language goals! 

I love that I can use both fiction and non-fiction to keep my students engaged while addressing almost all of our language skills/goals. I will do everything I can to keep my kids interested in books and reading! 

Why do you love to use books in your therapy sessions!? What are your favorite books to use?!

If you missed my post about tests and success with my fourth grade students click here to read. 

There is currently a giveaway going on over on The Speech Owl’s facebook page. Head over there, like my page, and comment on the post to win my newest book companion before it’s up in my store! Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 28th at 8:00pm CST.
Click here to go to my facebook page. 

See you soon!
The Speech Owl

Spracher, M.M. (2000, April 25). Learning About Literacy: SLPs Play A Key Role In Reading, Writing. The ASHA Leader.

Foster, W. A and Miller, M. (2007). Development Of The Literacy Achievement Gap: A Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Through Third Grade. Language, Speech and Hearing Services In Schools. 38 173-181.

Tests and Success!

Tests, tests, tests!!!!! Everything is so test driven these days! I get it...but...is this really what’s best for our students with language impairments or academic delays?!?!?! Some people may not like my answer to that question, but I say NO! NO, it is not what is best for some of our students! This year, I have seen more of my children break down crying because they feel like they are drowning and they feel like everyone thinks they are “stupid”. Not kidding...one of my kids told me he thinks all the kids in his class think that he is stupid! That absolutely BROKE my heart! Don’t get me wrong, our teachers and special education teachers are amazing! They are doing everything they can to make sure all of our kids are as successful as possible. 

This got me thinking...What can I do to make sure even if my students are struggling, they feel like they are accomplishing something? 

Some of my students are required to take AR tests on books they have read. Before they are allowed to take the AR test they have to write a summary of the book. My first thought was, AR points may make them feel more successful. If they are able to keep up with the amount of points others are getting maybe they will feel like they are on a level playing field. I have one student who figured this out on his own. He reads short, simple books, takes a lot of tests and has the most AR points in his class every week. 

This is where my journey has begun...

Here are some initial observations (I doubt they surprise you)...
  1. Even though we spend tons of time working on main ideas and important details, my kids can’t write summaries (at least not very well). 
  2. My kids have extreme difficulty taking notes from a book.
  3. The questions aren’t always the same “type” of comprehension questions we ask in therapy sessions. 
  4. One test had a questions that wasn’t even in the book! Good thing my kid guessed correctly because my guess was wrong!
  5. Some of my kids are trying to read books that are too high for them so they “look” like their peers. Unfortunately, this is also why they have no to few AR points...they can’t pass the tests. (I think we’ve solved this problem.)
Here is how I am trying to improve this problem (I'm going to use these tests to my advantage!)...
  1. I talked to all of the teachers and we came up with a plan...When I see the students I will work on one specific book for 2 weeks (every kid hears the book at least 2-4 times, unless they are absent). During these sessions we work on comprehension and inferential questions, as well as other skills related to their goals. All the goals are somehow related to the book we are reading...I make sure of it. If they are working on defining words, the words come from the book. If they are working on synonyms and antonyms the words all come from the book.
  2. At the end of the second week we sit down as a group and discuss the sequence of events and important information from the book. The students all contribute sentences to write a summary. I write the summary and then they copy the summary in their notebooks. For my higher group, they write the summary on their own and I check to make sure it includes the appropriate information.
  3. While students are writing the summary we start a group rotation. One student will come to me and take the AR test. I read the AR test aloud to all of the students in a one on one situation. When that student finishes the test they return to continue writing the summary and send the next student over. 
  4. When the student has finished the AR test and finished writing the summary there is another skill center set up. 
Somehow, we have managed to fit all of it neatly into our 30 minute session and I can get data every single day! And guess what....All but one kid made a 100% on the test and earned 0.5 AR points. One student made an 80%, but still...up to that point the student had 0.0 AR points. They were ALL so proud of themselves!!! One of the kids has even started to take his own “real” notes on his nonfiction texts! If the kids catch me before the day starts or at the end of the day before they leave (if I’ve finished seeing kids) we will sit down with a new book, read it, write our summary then take another test. My kids beg me to take AR tests now! 

This is why I do what I do! I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when they know they just did something AMAZING!!!

The Speech Owl