Rhyme Time! Week 1 Freebie

Summer is for fun, and who says that rhyming games can't be fun? Playing word games with your kids over the summer is a great way to help them keep their skills strong for back to school time!

There are free printable word games on this blog all summer long! If you missed the last set, start here to play with beginning and ending sounds.

Learn tips to help kids withe pre-reading skills at Looks Like Language!
This week's download starts off a rhyme series. The picture are adorable, so keep coming back all summer to get the complete set!

Don't forget to play rhyming games in the car, too! 


Start with basic games:
- Do a round robin where one person starts with a simple one syllable rhyming word like  'at.'  Everyone takes turns naming a rhyming until someone runs out of ideas. See if you can beat your last group score!

Make it harder:
-  Play a game for giving clues for something you can see around you. first give a rhyming clue. Then give a describing clue. Then tell what it is for. Three strikes and you are out!

"I'm thinking of something that rhymes with 'grouch.'
It is (color.)
You sit on it."

For older kids:
Play the same games but use 2 or 3 syllable words only!

Kids love this fun that builds articulation or phonics skills!
Are you seriously in the business of helping students with their pre-reading skills? Try this fun game with 48 different picture cards!

What word games does your family like to play?

Enjoy- Linda

3 NO COST Tips to Help STOP Summer Time Lag!


Did you know that students who don’t keep expanding their vocabulary over the summer come back to school in the fall lagging behind their peers who continued learning?

It is just one way to measure growth, but is closely tied to many skills needed for school success.

Parents, what you do with your children at home is so important! You CAN help your kids to be better prepared for school each and every year. These ideas are NO COST, but they do take a bit of time. And you don't even need to leave your home for most of these!

Stop your kids' summer time lag with these no cost tips from Looks Like Language!
3 tips to help stop that summer time lag!

Vocabulary:

Choose a word of the week and give a thumbs up for every time one of your kids uses that word in a sentence. The winner earns an easy prize:
• Stay up 15 minutes later (or in bed later in the morning)
• Choose the next cereal to be bought
• 1 chore to be shared by the other kids one time
• A star next to their name on a piece of paper on the fridge
• Play word games where you take turns:
-naming something in a category that starts or ends with a letter.
-describing something until someone guesses it.
-going through the alphabet to name an item you would find in a place.

Read:

Reading is the most important thing you can do! If your kids totally resist trips to the library, try these ideas:

• Try a manga (comic strip pictures) book.
• Read the comics together if you get a paper or have computer access.
• Make something your family loves to eat and have your kids read the recipe to you.
• Have your kids read the labels at the store to find out how much sugar or salt are in the food.
• Find a show or movie with subtitles that you have access to and take turns reading the script.


Tell a story:


For school practice, the stories have to have a beginning, middle and end that are connected by a main idea. Try these ideas:
• At a shared meal, tell something about your day.
• Tell a story about something that you will always remember.
• Tell about the worst time you ever had at (place)
• Tell about the last episode of their favorite tv show. Does it make sense even if you haven’t seen the show?
• Tell a wish/hope story, like:
      - If I could could travel anywhere...
-If I won a shopping spree at my favorite store...
-If I invented a _____...
-If I was stranded on an island...
-If I had a personal robot...

Whatever you do, just keep on talking!
Have a great summer! Enjoy- Linda

Having Fun Learning Emotions! Week 1 Free Activity Set

Emotions are such a vital part of our communication process. Try imagining how you would feel if you had to go through an entire week with out being able to express how you felt about events in your daily life. What effect would that have on you?


Have fun expanding vocabulary for emotions with this free download from Looks Like Language!
Anger? Frustration? Powerlessness? All of these and more? We know it would not be good.

Many of our students lack the vocabulary to really express how they feel about things that they have to deal with or are requested to do. Even if they can label the basic emotions of happiness, sadness and anger, is this really enough?

I don't believe it is. So, I have made this printable download free and available to everyone as a way to get started expanding your children's or students' skills. You only stand to gain from this, so why not download it now?

My newsletter followers get the complete set in one download, often with exclusive freebies. Interested? Just sign up for my bimonthly newsletter mailing list now. No spam, no sharing emails, and you can unsubscribe at any time, although I hope you will love it and stay with me!

Come back next week for the next section of the set!

Enjoy- Linda

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

Listening for beginning or ending sounds in words is such an important pre-reading skill! Did you play word games on car trips growing up?

There's a reason for that. Playing around with sounds and words before entering school builds knowledge that you need in order to start learning the written language system of reading, spelling and writing.

Free printable game downloads at Looks Like Language!
This fun download can help you get started with your own kids! Download it here.

Then be sure to play some sound games, too!

* I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with cat. You need it for a sport.

* I spy something that starts with this sound: (Try to make just the first sound without adding "uh" "ah" "ee" or any other sound.)

* See how far through the alphabet you can get your child to give an answer.
   - Ann packed her suitcase with an apple.
   - Bobby packed his suitcase with a belt.

Where/when to play? Any time you are:

- sitting in a car
- taking a walk
- doing dishes
- washing clothes
- basically during any physical activity when your mind is free

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@

Enjoy! Linda

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

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!
Help your child with pre-reading skills! Find out more at Looks Like Language!

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 Phonological Awareness 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 phonological awareness 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!
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