Beginning or Ending Sounds- A Free Phonological Awareness Activity Week 4

After a long day of keeping your kids busy, sometimes it is nice to have an easy to play game to settle them down. Download the last set of picture cards here and you will have a fun way to build pre-reading skills!

Build your kids' pre-reading skills with this free, fun sound awareness game!
If you missed the earlier sets, just start here!

Try some free interactive learning fun from Looks Like Language with BOOM Cards!
If you can't get your kids away from their iPads, at least you can make some of their pay time educational with the activities you can find at BOOM Learning!

Try out this free summer activity for category skills from my store!

Enjoy! Linda

Making It Work: 3 Steps for Using Adapted Books and Play



Did you leave my last post about combining books with play thinking, “Those are great ideas, but how do I do that?”  Then this post is for you!

Step 1: Choose a theme!

Having a picnic is the theme I’ll be using since it is lots of fun and has so many options. Themes allow you to :

      • Make groups work when you have to switch your groups around for make-up sessions.

      •  Coordinate with the theme being used in a pre-K or K classroom.

      • Get out a limited set of toys, books and craft activities for the time you are using the theme.

• Start collecting fun toys and activities to expand your theme for next year.

Step 2: Choose and adapt a book!

There are so many choices!

⁃ Start by looking at what you already have around or can get inexpensively. Planning ahead and looking at the Scholastic Book club choices can be a good way to go, so parents can get the same book for home carryover!

⁃ Often it is good to have a higher level book and a lower level one for your theme, so you can meet most of the goals you are working on and have a cohesive set of follow-up activities for everyone.

⁃ Look at the pictures in the book. Does the text talk about what is happening in the picture or can you adapt the text easily so that they match? Our students need to have this visual matching support to make sense of the language in the text.

⁃ Adapt the book so that your lower level students can fill in the vocabulary words while your higher level students can complete the sentences. This can be done easily if you have more than one place with a blank Velcro spot to add the missing symbols. Just choose which set of symbols to remove depending on the needs of each student or group.


Step 3: Choose your follow-up activities!

You want these activities to reinforce the language and concepts for the theme and the book. Best practice would have you read the entire book first before you focus on sections of it for skill building.

- Start with the object vocabulary. 
Find toys or bring in the real items to elicit the labels. How about a picnic basket filled with the items you are talking about? Students can take turns putting their hand in the basket without peeking and pull out an item to label.

- Re-enact the plot sequence by doing the activity. 
This is a great way to reinforce the object labels and introduce the verbs. If your students can handle it, go outside to an enclosed area and have a picnic with their favorite snack and drink. 

Do you have runners? Then have a picnic on your therapy room floor with the door closed. Still won’t work? Put a plastic tablecloth or red bulletin board paper over your table and have your picnic there while your student is in the accustomed seating.

- Now that your students have some experience with a picnic, go back to your adapted  book and see how successful they are at completing it. Note their errors to choose which follow up activities to use:

* Play having a picnic with toys.
* Do a craft to make/decorate/color the vocabulary items.
* Play a game with pictures of the activities involved in the theme.
* Watch a You-tube video associated with the theme.
* Use an interactive activity on your iPad for the theme. BOOM Cards are great for this!
* Make flip book activity for forming sentences.
* Adapt a picture worksheet to make an interactive activity, or have your higher level students just complete the worksheet.
* Have students fill in more of the symbols in your adapted book, or use additional books to expand their language for the theme.


Here are some picnic theme ideas to check out:

Try these 3 steps that work from Looks Like Language for using adapted books and play!

Try these 3 steps that work from Looks Like Language for using adapted books and play!
Try these 3 steps that work from Looks Like Language for using adapted books and play!
3 steps for using adapted books and play in therapy from Looks Like Language@

Has this given you some practical ideas? The next post will show you the materials I used in therapy for this theme to make these suggestions even more concrete!


Enjoy! Linda

Beginning or Ending Sounds- A Free Phonological Awareness Activity Week 3

Help your child with pre-reading skills! Find out more at Looks Like Language!
You might be saying to yourself, "What is phonological awareness, anyway? What happened to phonics instruction?" 

Well, phonics instruction still exists, but your kids will be a lot better prepared for it if you have fun with sounds in play before they get to school age!

FUN FACT 1:
Phonemes are the sounds, not the letters of the alphabet, that make up a language.

FUN FACT 2:
Children need a lot of practice listening to and playing with the sounds of our language before they are ready to attach them to the alphabet and written language.

FUN FACT 3:
If your child has difficulty pronouncing a sound, playing games to build skills for listening and identifying the sound can be helpful in learning to say the sound more clearly!

So, what are you waiting for? Download the free Beginning and Ending Sounds Activity and get started! If you missed the prior weeks, get started with the first download here.

If this got you curious, you can read more about the difference between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics at my friend Sarah's blog, Speech is Beautiful! 

Enjoy! Linda

Beginning or Ending Sounds- A FREE Activity Week 2

Is your school year coming to an end? Whether you just finished up or you have a bit more to go, this adaptable activity for phonemic skills can be put to use any time! Parents, you can have fun with it this summer when you are stuck inside!


Build pre-reading skills while your children play with this freebie from Looks Like Language!
It's an easy picture sound game that can also be used for comparing and contrasting skills. Playing around with sounds and rhymes is one of the best activities that parents can do to help little ones learn necessary pre-reading skills! Download it here.

If you missed the first week, click here.

I'm also very excited about BOOM Cards TM! Since I love their interactive nature, I'm having fun exploring the different possibilities for creation that they offer! 




Try some free, interactive picture fun for summer with this BOOM Card Freebie from Looks Like Language
Haven't tried BOOM Cards yet? Get started with this awesome Summer Time freebie with no reading required! Children find the item that belongs at the beach to build a cute summer picture. 

You will need to set up a Boom Learning account to play, but it is free, quick and easy to do. Then you can use it on your iPad!

Enjoy! Linda

3 Easy End of the School Year Tips- Plus a FREE Summer Homework Calendar for Autism!


The end of the school year is upon us! 
Great tips and freebies for the end of the year and summer carryover!


Whether you are finishing up next week or in June, you are probably noticing that your students are getting a bit antsy with the change in weather. Nice weather makes us all want to be outside!

Recently I read somewhere that nowadays, with teachers getting antsy themselves and starting end of the year countdowns, we are just magnifying the problem. Could that be the case in your school? I’ve been part of the education system for a very long time, and I must say that countdowns didn’t use to happen at one time.

Tips and freebies for the end of the school year and summer carryover!
Tip 1: Minimize showing your own desire for summer to your students.

We all look forward to the summer! But instead of counting down, when testing is over, try to consider this an opportunity! (I know, it is hard!)

Tip 2: Use this time of year to do all of the functional, fun application activities that you used to have more time to do!
Pick a theme and brainstorm how many different skills you can work into activities related to that theme. These are great for summer homework, too!

Literacy activities are basics! Have your students retell the story to check for comprehension  or see how well they are independently using the  sentence structures and speech sounds you have worked on. Have them ask each other questions for a change of pace with WH questions.

Cooking activities are great for following directions, eliciting verbs and spatial concepts, turn taking skills and just plain fun!

Play activities with toys related to the theme are a great way to get language samples and articulation use to check for generalization of skills learned this year.

Word games can be incorporated to elicit category, vocabulary, describing and phonemic or articulation skills. Play I Spy with My Little Eye using a busy picture related to your theme, or play I’m going to __ and I need something that starts with (sound).

Movie or song based activities are great for older students, especially if you let them choose their favorites! Just about any skill you can elicit with literacy activities will also work when using movie clips or song lyrics.

Tips and freebies for the end of the school year and summer carryover!
Tip 3: Change it up!

Whatever your usual working style, step out of your comfort zone and try a change of pace! The end of the school year is a great time for you to explore new ways of working with your students. Not only will it add to your skill base, but your students may like doing something different, especially if you are including activities that require computer technology skills. 

Did you see this post which has links to great websites to explore?

If you are concerned about how to take data with less structured activities think about these ideas:

• The real world is not as structured as a therapy session, so you need to find out if your students can use any of the skills independently. Compare how many times the student used the skill independently during the session now versus what they were able to do at the beginning of the year. Use a rubric to let you ball park the data.
• Many students with a limited skill base are able to produce the desired response largely because of the environmental cues you have unknowingly structured for them. Try going to a different location or even just change how you are sitting in your room. Are they still able to use the skills?
• Think about using the overall information you’ve gained about each each student as baseline data for decision making about next year’s IEP goals.

Whatever you try, have some fun with it! Your students will thank you!

SUMMER TIME HELP!
Tips and freebies for the end of the school year and summer carryover from The Frenzied SLPs!
We don't want our kids to backslide over the summer, and neither do parents. 
Thanks to The Frenzied SLPS for organizing this Summer Speech Carryover to give a variety of great tips to help us all out!

I know that while I was working, I could find plenty of help for my students working closer to grade level, but 
what about our students who are on the autism spectrum and communicating minimally

We certainly don't want them to backslide! The added difficulty for coming up with a summer plan for these students is the uniqueness of their skills and needs.

My free download for maintaining communication and keeping routines at home over the summer can be downloaded here. I hope it is a helpful guideline for parents this summer. It certainly is something I wanted to have but never had the time to create!

Be sure to click here to get more useful tips to help you out this summer from The Frenzied SLPS!

An Almost Magical Week for SLPs!


Get some great deals at TpT!
Not only is the end of the school year in sight, but this week there are 3 sales to help you change up your regular repertoire of activities! (More ideas on that are coming later this week in my regular post.)

Today, May 7th, is the next to last #SLPMustHave sale for this year.

I've been busy updating my Autism File Folder Picture Sentence Building sets and am halfway done. The newest version has modified FitzGerald Key color coding to coordinate with Proloquo and other AAC devices.

While I am working on the sets, I'm also adding some adapted books to reinforce the vocabulary and concepts. You know I adore adapted books!

Check out the #May2018SLPMustHave sale at TpT!
What this means for you is that, today only, you can get the entire Outside Bundle at 50% off and the price will still be going up as the other 3 sets are updated. This is sooo worth your money!

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8th and 9th, are the dates of the last TpT Site Wide sale for this year. My entire store will be 20% off and you can use the code #THANKYOU2018 for an additional 5% off!

Everyone needs something to help them through the end of the school year! Good luck finding just the thing you need at a bargain price!

Beginning or Ending Sounds? A Free Activity- Week 1

I walked out my door today and it truly felt like spring for the first time this season! A perfect day to give you the first part of this free activity set.


Have fun with beginning and ending sounds with this free phonology download from Looks like Language!
You can have fun practicing the phonological processes of initial or final sound omissions, work on phonological skills, or just have fun being creative and letting your students find ways that the pictures are the same or different!

Come back every week for a month and you will have a complete, free packet! Or if you prefer, join my newsletter to get the entire, complete set in one download (along with some extras!) This month, my newsletter followers are getting a bonus open ended game board. 

Open ended activities are so useful when you have make up sessions to do and have to group kids with a hodgepodge of goals!

Download the first week's set here.


Rhyming and Articulation skills in one fun bundle packed full of picture cards!
Do you need some more fun sound practice for articulation and phonology skills? Check out Speech Therapy Games and Activities for Final Consonants & Rhymes

There are many pictures, sorting mats, worksheets and a fun game to keep your students practicing over and over again! 

One buyer said, "What a brilliant idea! The kids enjoy it!" And I'm sure yours will, too!
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