Blog Archive

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

10 Fun Speech Therapy Activities with "Sneezy the Snowman"

sneezy the snowman
If you are not familiar with "Sneezy the Snowman," you are missing out on a winter engaging and entertaining read aloud for your students. Sneezy the Snowman is terribly cold and wants to warm up. He drink hot cocoa, sits in a hot tub and stands by a fire. Each time, he melts. The children know just what do to and rebuild him each time while offering a piece of their winter clothing instead. This is an excellent book for mixed speech and language groups in early elementary (PreK - 2nd grade), but can be expanded through 3rd grade while working on higher level critical thinking skills and character traits. 

In this post, I want to give you 10 different ways you can use "Sneezy the Snowman" in your speech and language therapy this winter. 
(Amazon affiliate links are included. Any purchase from Amazon links may result in a small monetary profit to My Speech Tools).

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Top 10 Gifts for Young Children

The holidays are just around the corner and we made it through the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in one piece. But for many of us, there is still a list to check and shopping to finish.  As a speech-language pathologist, I am always looking for toys that stimulate language and literacy development in young children. Young children learn through play. Play stimulates speech and language, social-emotional, cognitive, and motor development. Since play primarily revolves around toys and a child's imagination, I wanted to share with you my top 10 gift recommendations for the holidays. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why do SLPs Love Play Dough? PLUS a FREE Download

play dough recipe
Play dough is a staple with any speech-language pathologist. You can find it in our bags, our drawers, our cars, our crates, and cabinets. We stock up at the beginning of the year, replace it at the winter break and even make our own when we want to add fragrance or glitter. But what is it about play dough that makes it a "must have" for SLPs? You will want to read on to discover the secrets behind play dough in speech therapy, and then download the BEST recipe for home made play dough at the end of this post.

Friday, October 27, 2017

5 Great Thanksgiving Read Alouds for Speech Therapy

It's about time to put away the jack-o-lanterns and bats and pull out your turkey books and Thanksgiving therapy materials. There are several different themes you can incorporate in your lessons, including: gratitude, family, the first Thanksgiving, save the turkey, and MORE! In this post, I want to share with you my favorite read alouds for speech therapy. These great books are perfect for mixed groups (articulation, language, fluency, social skills) as well as for connecting the curriculum to your students' communication goals.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Why do SLPs Focus on Categorizing Skills?

Have you written a goal like this: "Given the name of a familiar category, student will name at least 3 items in the category (ex: vegetables, fruits, pets, etc.) on 7/10 trials." or "Given 3 related items, student will identify the category (ex: cow, horse, pig) on 7/10 trials." As a speech-language pathologist, I know that students with weak vocabulary skills may exhibit difficulty categorizing pictures, objects, words and concepts. So when a child demonstrates difficulty grouping like items together, further assessment and intervention may be warranted. So why do speech-language pathologists need to focus on categorizing skills? At an early age, young children begin to recognize shapes, colors, and familiar people. The ability to sort, add order and create working systems is key to developing a rich language foundation. In this post, I want to explain 3 reasons why speech-language pathologists and classroom teachers should strategically focus on categorizing skills as part of their instruction and intervention.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Room on the Broom Speech and Language Activities

One of my favorite books to read with students in October is Room on the Broom. This wonderfully illustrated book with repetitive lyrical text is widely popular among teachers, parents and speech-language pathologists. The classic "defeat evil with kindness" theme appeals to all students. 

As a speech-language pathologist, I am always  on the lookout for fiction and non-fiction books that can be used to target multiple speech and language goals. Room on the Broom is one of those books that can be differentiated to target multiple receptive and expressive communication goals. 

In this post, I want to share 14 ways to use Room on the Broom in your speech therapy sessions, as well as direct you to the author's website for more resources to incorporate in your therapy sessions. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dollar Tree Hacks and Bargains for Speech Therapy

Are you on a school supply budget? Do you wish you had more money left over after you shopped for your own children's school supplies? Are you looking for bargains that will help you stretch your dollar for speech therapy? I have shopped at Dollar Tree for several years now, and I am always impressed with the office supply items and back-to-school resources that are available in late summer. Dollar Tree has also marketed many different patterns and designs when it comes to poly-folders and composition books. 

In this post, I want to share some of the resources I've found at Dollar Tree and give you a few new ideas for using everyday items you find at Dollar Tree.

Friday, September 15, 2017

How to Create a Fall Sensory Book Bin

Fall Sensory Bin
Sensory play is an important part of a child's development. Children learn through exploration using their 5 senses. Through taste, touch, smell, sight and sound, children develop social, emotional, cognitive, motor and language skills. Sensory bins provide learning opportunities while having FUN. Since children love to make messes, you might want to think of it as "mess in a box."  For children with sensory impairments, sensory bottles, bags and bins can also be very calming by providing the exact stimulus their sensory systems are seeking.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for speech therapy literacy and language activities. Children are always fascinated with pumpkins, acorns, squirrels, apples, scarecrows, and farm activities. This opens up opportunities to experience some amazing books, as well as provide hands-on learning opportunities in sensory filled activities. In this post, I want to share with you tips on creating fall sensory book bins.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Speech Therapy Goals and Activities for "Boo Hoo Bird"

Using Books in Speech Therapy
I wanted to sit down and write this post today to share an amazing children's book I found that can be used to target a variety of speech and language IEP goals. While searching for books to teach social skills, I came across this sweet book by Jeremy Tankard, Boo Hoo Bird, that I honestly had never heard of and now absolutely adore. In Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard, Bird gets bonked on the head with a ball while playing catch with his friend Raccoon. "Boo Hoo Hoo," Bird cries. Raccoon, Rabbit, Sheep, and Fox try to cheer him up. What will make Bird feel better? This story is ideal for students in PreK through second grade.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Top 10 Back-to-School Books for Speech Therapy

Are you looking for a fun back-to-school read aloud to start the year with? Do you want an attention grabber that will spark an excitement for learning this year? For me, starting a new school year is an exciting time of the year. New room decor, new school clothes, and newly sharpened pencils. But what I get excited about is NEW books! In this post, I want to share with you my top 10 back-to-school books for speech therapy and why I recommend them.

(disclaimer: This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Any purchases made through the links may result in a small profit for My Speech Tools.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

8 Tips for the New School SLP

As a speech-language pathologist, I have had the privileged of working in several different settings both full time and PRN. As a school based SLP, I continue to work in various PRN positions during the summer and throughout the school year as I have time. My heart and energy, however, is poured  out in serving public school students with disabilities. My students make me smile and laugh everyday.

If you are making the switch this year to public school, there are a few tips I want to share with you to help you make the transition. So don't fret because change is always a little scary.

Here are my 8 Tips for the New School SLP:

1. Focus only on those things you can control. When you work in the public schools so many different things change at the drop of a hat. Here are a few examples of changes I've seen from one year to the next: school assignments, caseloads, staff members, budgets, your office or classroom location, duties, dress code, special education paperwork, district curriculum (math or reading), and of course your schedule. Every year there are changes. And let's face it, big changes can happen anytime of the year due to unseen circumstances. Because things are always changing, I have really tried to focus on my " Circle of Control."   So let's think about the things you can control. Perhaps it's your choices, your attitude, your response to others, your healthy or unhealthy habits, what you read, your sleep patterns, or your effort. These are the things worth applying your effort toward.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Part 4: Read the Nonverbal Communication

(Part 4: Read the Nonverbal Communication)

read nonverbal communicationThis is the fourth part of my 6 part series 5 Highly Effective Strategies for Managing Behavior. I encourage you to read the first three posts in the series, including: 

Part 1: Why is He Acting That Way?
Part 2: Create Routines
 Part 3: Structure for Success

Monday, July 31, 2017

TPT Back-to-School Site Wide Sale!

For many educators, summer vacation is almost over. For others, you may still have a month of rest and relaxation. Regardless of your contract start date, you do not want to miss the Teachers Pay Teachers Site Wide Sale!

August 1st and 2nd are special days for educators and TPT, and I want to share this sale with you! During this 2-day sale, you can save up to 25% off your total purchases using the #BTSReadyWithTpT code at checkout.

I want to highlight some special additions to my store for back-to-school and fall.

1. Back-to-School Speech and Language Pack This speech and language comprehensive packet includes activities and ideas for back-to-school. The packet includes an "All About Me!" Banner, a game board,writing prompts, and much more!

Friday, July 21, 2017

5 Reasons Why I Chose the Happy Planner PLUS a FREE Download

Are you looking for a new planner? What features do you look for? What type of layout do you like? How much do you want to spend on a planner? 

During the summer, I take time to relax, binge watch a show on Netflix, and get inspired with new ideas for the upcoming school year. One important task I take on in the summer is finding my ideal planner for the next school year. I don't write much down during the summer so I tend to use my iPhone for planning the few appointments I have each week.  So when I started looking at planners for the 2017-18 school year, I searched Pinterest and Amazon, watched You Tube videos, viewed online store products like Office Max and Wal Mart, and used Google search to figure out what would be the best choice for me.

In this post, I want to share my new Create 365 Happy Planner with you, show you some of it's features and provide you with a few resources and ideas specifically for educators and speech-language pathologists. Also included in this post is a link to a new product I created just for my readers. You definitely want to read to the end of this post for my new free download.

Friday, July 7, 2017

4 Reasons You Should Follow Me on Bloglovin'

bloglovin' my speech tools
Do you follow several educational and lifestyle blogs? Is your inbox full of weekly blog posts you wish you had time to catch up on? Do you have posts bookmarked for later to read in your "free time?" As the internet explodes with bloggers, I have found the most efficient platform for managing blogs is Bloglovin' This site allows readers a single platform to view thousands of blogs on any subject.

As a blogger and entrepreneur, I enjoy sharing my experiences, ideas, and resources with my customers, readers and followers. I have become part of a greater community of professionals. Bloglovin' offers easy access and organization of blogs and posts by subject or feeds.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Speech Therapy Organization Ideas: Plastic Zipper Envelopes

Are you looking for a way to keep your thematic books and book companion materials organized and stored neatly? For years I kept my thematic materials stored in file folders. It worked for a while, until my material resources started to multiply. I found myself loosing items such as sentence strips, task cards, vocabulary visuals, manipulatives, and craft samples. That's when I decided to try out plastic zipper envelopes for a few book companions. This has been an organizational transformation for my materials. I wanted to share with you what I have found to be an organizational gem.

In this post, I will show you three different ways I use plastic zipper envelopes to organize my thematic books and book companions.

Friday, June 16, 2017

What You Need to Know About Boosting Tier 2 Vocabulary

Vocabulary is a key component to learning. Not only is it an important part of communication, but it is one of the essential layers for establishing literacy. The National Reading Panel, 2001 identified Vocabulary as one of the 5 key components for learning to read (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, Text Comprehension). In addition, vocabulary is learned indirectly through conversation, life experiences, media, and listening to stories, as well as through direct instruction such as: word studies, frequent exposure and use, and a systematic approach. Vocabulary is essential for academic success, and both RtI (Response to Intervention) and speech-language therapy can be an important factor in remediation for vocabulary deficits. 
In this post I will outline what you need to know about Tier 2 Vocabulary, offer 8 fun intervention activities, and provide you with my Tier 2 Vocabulary FREEBIE!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Speech Room Organization with Bins

Organize Your Speech Room with Bins

using bins organzieDo you have piles of therapy materials set aside for the week? Are your piles and stacks of materials getting mixed up and disorganized? I have found an organizational strategy that works to keep the stacks and piles organized. In a previous post, I talked about organizing your speech therapy room using Command Hooks. You can read about how to utilize that vertical space in your therapy room HERE

In this post, I am going to show you how I organize my grade-level group materials in different bins.

Friday, June 2, 2017

3 New Vocabulary Games using Apples to Apples

vocabulary games
Apples to Apples is a FUN word game of matching adjective cards (green cards) to noun cards (red cards). The winner is the player with the most matches.  Speech-language pathologists are known for being creative with materials and adapting what we have to meet our students' needs. Apples to Apples can be adapted to address target goals in articulation, language, fluency and social language skills.

 For months, this game sat in my closet untouched. My students were not successful playing this game as it was originally designed and I knew it needed to be adapted. I especially wanted to add visual support to target semantic features and language flexibility in a way my students would be successful. 

In this post, I am going to teach you how to play 3 of my favorite fast and fun games using Apples to Apples to target academic and functional vocabulary skills.

Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Reasons to Use Graphic Organizers in Speech Therapy

speech therapy
When do you use graphic organizers? Do you use them to pre-teach concepts, or during brainstorming activities? Do you use them during lessons to target specific skills such as comparing and contrasting with a Venn Diagram? Do you use them at the end of a thematic unit to assess comprehension? I hope the answer is all of the above. Graphic organizers use symbolic language to communicate and connect visual information in the brain. Once I understood that graphic organizers use visual language to represent concepts, I knew they needed to be incorporated into my lessons regularly.

In this post, I will give you 5 reasons why you should be using graphic organizers in your speech therapy sessions, PLUS I am offering my Graphic Organizer FREEBIE through this blog post.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Managing Difficult Behavior Part 3: Structure for Success

structure for success
This is the third part of my series on managing difficult behaviors in language impaired children. I encourage you to read both the Introductory Post and Part 2: Create Routines for some background information in this series on managing difficult behavior in your speech therapy room. In this post, I am want to outline 3 ways you can structure your speech room for success.

1. Eliminate Unnecessary Visual Stimuli
As much as I love colorful and stimulating classroom decor, some of our special needs students just cannot handle the visual stimuli. In a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University, kindergarten students in brightly decorated classrooms were found to spend more time off task and made less academic gains than those in sparsely decorated classroom. For special needs students, systematic structure, visual schedules, behavior charts and anchor charts for learning can be useful decorations. Think about your speech room, is your classroom decor structured for success? You can download my Wh-Question Anchor Charts FREEBIES HERE.

2. Adjust Your Schedule
Sometimes you just have to switch things up a little. What may have worked for the first few months of school, may not work anymore. Groups may need to be adjusted and students switched from one group to another. I reprint my speech schedule at least once a month. I currently have a large number of first graders on my schedule that receive speech and/or language services. Their needs have changed throughout the year. They have matured at different rates, some have learned to read quickly, while others struggled. I have added students, dismissed students, updated goals at annual review meetings, and changed direct service times. In the past, I've also moved students from the morning to the afternoon. Be flexible and be willing to switch students around in order to structure for success.

3. Collaborate with Others
Communicate regularly with classroom teachers, counselors, and other special education staff that interacts with your students. Use cohesive language when referring to behavior. Talk to other professional about simplifying language for your language disordered students. Be available to draw and/or write social narratives to address skills that need to be learned (asking permission, sharing materials, rules for the restroom, etc.). Collaboration creates structure for success.

If you have found ways to structure your speech room for success, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and sign up to

Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter and receive access to more tips and free resources.

Lisa, SLP

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Speech Room Organization with Command Hooks

command hooks
One thing I really try to do for myself is stay as organized as possible. For me, I am a more effective therapist when I am organized. In our profession, we have resources for multiple ages and grade levels, various levels of disabilities, specialized curriculum, and tools and toys for just about every holiday.

I think if there was one organizational MUST HAVE for your speech room, I would suggest you invest in Command Hooks. You can find Command Hooks HERE on Amazon, or other stores such as Michaels, Wal-Mart, and Target.

In this post, I want to share three different ways you can organize your speech room with Command Hooks.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Teacher Appreciation

My Speech Tools
There is one week out of the school year that being called the "Speech Teacher" has it's perks. Teacher Appreciation Week has always been something to look forward to in my district. In the past we have had fun things like an extra planning time; free appetizer and drink coupons in our mailboxes; snacks and dessert bars; lunch provided and jean passes. It's usually something everyday from Monday through Friday. Teachers are the pillars of the community. Everyday I trust educators to take care of my own children. I trust them to keep them safe, to love on them, teach them and mentor them. As a speech-language pathologist, I have worked in many different settings. Education is where my HEART is!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Managing Difficult Behavior with Routines

create routines in speech therapy
This is the second part of a 5 part series for managing difficult behaviors in language impaired children. You can link here to read the introductory post. 

How is your day structured? Do you have a morning routine that involves drinking coffee or hot tea? It is widely known that students thrive on routines. If we consider our busy lifestyles, we can admit that we all feel more successful when we work with a routine. For students with communication impairments time concepts are often very difficult to understand. Knowing what is coming next may decrease anxiety and increases focus and endurance for longer periods of work time.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Teaching Basic Concepts using Rosie's Walk

Why do we teach basic concepts?

Teaching Basic Concepts
Basic Concepts are essential for success in school. Early concept development begins as young as six to nine months with “more juice” and “all gone.” For school age children, basic concept knowledge is needed for following directions and participation in every aspect of the classroom.

Here is a list of basic concept categories that students need to comprehend and use in the classroom. Most concepts should be well developed by first grade (age 7-8 years).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Grouchy Ladybug: Speech Therapy Activities for Mixed IEP Groups

The Grouchy Ladybug: Speech Therapy Activities for Mixed IEP Groups

 Do you need some new ideas for mixed groups?

Grouchy Ladybug ideas
The Grouchy Ladybug  by Eric Carle is an all-time favorite with early elementary teachers for introducing and teaching elapsed time. There are many different speech and language goals that can be targeted using this picture book during a shared reading activity and follow up extension activities. I typically use this book with students in second through fourth grade. It can also be adapted for older students in alternative curriculum classes with comprehension skills at this level. The Grouchy Ladybug is a fun and interactive book for mixed IEP groups.

I’ve listed some possible IEP goals that you can target during reading and extension activities.

Tier 2 Vocabulary: Aphids, stinger, eerily, “happened upon,” encountered, tusks, flippers, arrived, claws, horn, insist, screeched.

Categorize and Associate: Students associate animal with their characteristics (yellow jacket/stinger, elephant/tusk, lobster/claws, rhinoceros/horn, etc.)

Wh-Questions: Students answer “Who, What, When, Where,” and “Why” questions to show comprehension with visual support using my Wh-Anchor Charts FREEBIE.

Sequencing and Story Retell: Students have the opportunity to retell using the vocabulary, “first, next, then, last.”

Compare and Contrast: Students can compare and contrast the two ladybugs, the lobster and whale, the elephant and rhino, or the stag beetle and praying mantis using a Venn Diagram from my Mega Graphic Organizer Bundle FREEBIE or list Similarities and Differences using a T-Chart on chart paper.


They Grouchy Ladybug

Story Comprehension

Using text support, students identified story elements, including: character, setting, problem, solution. Students then completed a story map graphic organizer. Students can work cooperatively to complete a group story map on chart paper or fill in individual story maps by differentiating the activity based on their ability to write and illustrate their ideas.

The Grouchy Ladybug

Character Traits

Students identified the time day and made text-to-self connection. “It was five 'o-clock in the morning when the ladybug woke up. Why do you think he was grouchy?” Students made inferences that the ladybug was still sleepy or was hungry for breakfast. Another inference can be discussed towards the end of the story.  Based on what we know about a ladybug, “Why do you think the ladybug was so tired at the end of the day?” Finally, “How did the ladybug change at the end of the story and why?  These Inference skills can be targeted through discussion, turn-taking comprehension games, task cards, or with a character change graphic organizer. We used the Ladybug Comprehension and Inferring Graphic Organizers FREEBIE from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Articulation Practice

Spring Ladybug Articulation

Students practiced their articulation speech sounds using my Ladybug Articulation Packet.

ladybug activity Grouchy Ladybug


 Students created their own ladybugs by using the supplies of their choice. This was an opportunity for students to cooperatively plan, sequence and problem-solve an activity.

Author's Purpose and Theme

My campus is one of 289  Leader in Me Lighthouse campuses in the world. Teachers and staff help students connect the 7 Habits with classroom content. My students were able to practice Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind by knowing their goal for the session, as well as Habit 5: Seek first to understand then to be understood by discussing the Grouchy Ladybug’s treatment towards his friends.

The Grouchy Ladybug is an Eric Carle Favorite that students may have already read in class during a math lesson. With prior knowledge of this story, students readily engaged in activities and were eager to expand and share their experiences with this story.

What books do you use to target story comprehension skills?

Comment and send me an email. Sign up to receive future blogs sent right to your email. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up with new products and freebies!

Grab the three FREEBIES linked throughout the post and check out these other products that can be easily paired with The Grouchy Ladybug.        

 Lisa, SLP

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

5 Highly Effective Strategies for Managing Behavior: Part 1

(Part 1: Why is He Acting That Way?)

Manage Difficult Behaviors
Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like that thirty-minute therapy session was a “total waste of time?” Be honest, we’ve all felt that way. Do you remember that session where little “Johnny” just couldn’t sit still? He couldn’t follow directions, stay on task, sit in a chair, stop making noises, and a sticker just would not motivate him. There are some days I feel like we don’t get anything accomplished in our therapy groups. Those are the days I am ready to just take those little friends back to class and hand them off.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Create Amazing Adapted Books for Practically Free!

One thing you should know about me is that I love to shop at thrift stores. I am not careless in buying just anything, but I do like to find some hidden treasures. That is where I find the BEST books to adapt for my therapy sessions.

Next time you drive by your local thrift store or Goodwill, turn around, go back, and check out their children’s book section. Most thrift stores in my area sell children’s books for 25 to 50 cents each. Hardback children’s books are typically 75 cents.

So why should you shop at the thrift store?
Children’s books donated to thrift stores are often gently used, high interest, and may even be donated from home-school parents or classroom teachers thinning out their book bins. I have found Dr. Seuss books, Tomie DePaola, David Shannon, and Kevin Henke sets at Good Will in the past. Of course, I snatched them up!

Monday, April 10, 2017

4 Simple Games Using Easter Eggs

Easy Articulation GamesDo you need a motivating articulation activity that results in a high number of repetitions? Plastic eggs are enticing to children and only come out of our speech closet for one to two weeks out of the year. There are so many different ways to use plastic eggs in language therapy and play-based therapy.  I want to give a few fun examples of how plastic eggs can be used in articulation therapy that results in up to 100 repetitions in a session.

First, put small picture cards with the target sounds inside the eggs. Students choose an egg and say the target word, phrase or sentence. I often have students roll a die and produce the number of repetitions shown on the die. For older students have them multiply the number times two or three. If the student rolls a four, multiply it times two and the student produces eight repetitions of the target.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Do You Want to Target More Goals in Your Speech Sessions?

I have an amazing group of PreK students that I serve on my campus. One group in particular, my group of 4-four year old boys. Taught me all about being flexible this week. Like so many other days, I had a specific lesson planned, the book picked out, manipulatives ready and my outline of my IEP-driven lesson planned out. When those boys, however, walked in my room, they quickly reminded me that they had already done "work" in the classroom and wanted to PLAY. I heard the words, "Can we play instead?" Who am I to argue with the requests of 4 year olds to play?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Complete Frog Unit for Your Speech Therapy Groups

frog unit springHappy Spring everyone! It is raining and chilly in Texas. But just wait, it will be warming up tomorrow. That's how often the weather changes in the Texas Panhandle. As I sit and work on my lessons for the month of April, I realize I keep changing my mind about themes, books and activities as much as the weather is changing. There are so many exciting and wonderful Spring themes, and it can be a little overwhelming to plan thematic units and literacy units for mixed IEP groups, mixed grade levels, and mixed ability level groups.The one theme all my students absolutely LOVE is FROGS. Fiction or Non-fiction, kids (and adults) love frogs. I want to share with you some of my ideas on using frogs in therapy. There are some amazing books, activities, and media that you can use in your therapy this month, and it's all about FROGS.