medal lion

The Lion and the Mouse

Title: The Lion and the Mouse

Author: Aesop’s Fable

Age: preschool, early elementary

Description: A familiar story about helping one another in surprising ways

Goals/Concepts:

  • Helping others
  • Prediction
  • Perspective Taking
  • Not being a bully
  • Dramatic Play

Why I like this book: It’s a great story about not picking on people weaker than you and a reminder that little ones, even kids, can be smart and act kindly.

Ideas for Use:

  • Before reading the story, talk about what kids know about mice and lions – What size are they? What do they like to eat? Are they fierce or mellow, brave or fearful?
  • As you read the story, have the kids predict what the lion will do when it catches the mouse. This often can lead to discussions about bullying.
  • This is a great book to delve into expected and unexpected behaviors and the consequences of each. The lion released the mouse, which freed him, made him happy and resulted in the mouse freeing the lion on another day.
  • This is a great story for dramatic play. With a group of 3 – 5, have the kids take on roles of different small animals such as a mouse, bird, rabbit, or snake. Have them think about and act out how each of those characters might free the lion.
  • Acting out the story creates opportunities for motor play as the kids set up their animal homes and move like various animals.
  • When kids act out this story, they are working on self-regulation. The lion must be careful not to grasp the mouse too hard and when the lion is released from his net, he must figure out how to not struggle too hard.
  • If the motor planning element is too challenging and the kids can’t tell the story while they move, try using finger puppets or making paper bag puppets to use for a puppet show.
  • The best part of the story is that if we help someone, they may come back to help us later, and what a good feeling that is for everyone!

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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IMG_0681 (1)

More Than Enough: A Passover Story

Title: More Than Enough

Author: April Halprin Wayland

Illustrator: Katie Kath

Age: preschool

Description:   A beautifully illustrated story of Passover and the rescue of a special friend.

Goals/Concepts: 

  • Passover vocabulary and concepts
  • Holiday traditions
  • Sequencing
  • Early Prediction

Why I like this book: The story and illustrations provide a simple, though elegant description of Passover while the chorus “dayenu” provides the opportunity for interaction during a read aloud.

Ideas for use:

  • While reading aloud, ask the children to join in the chorus of “dayenu.” The rhythm of the story provides cues for the timing of this.
  • If using this book as an introduction to Passover as part of a broader discussion of various spring holidays, use the glossary to assist in teaching the vocabulary and other concepts introduced in the book.
  • To use this book as an opportunity to practice sequencing events, make reduced-size copies of each page, present them out of order and have the children put them into the correct order. Use temporal markers such as, first, next, then and last to support the sequencing structure.
  • This book depicts a large family and could be used to introduce extended family members such as grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.
  • If using this book to prepare a child for attending a Passover feast, read one time as an introduction and then read it again and encourage the child to predict what comes next in the sequence of events while reading the story.
  • For older children, explain the connection between rescuing the cat and the story of Passover.

Submitted by: Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

Rosies Walk Cover

Rosie’s Walk

Title: Rosie’s Walk

Author: Pat Hutchins

Age: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: Rosie the hen goes for a walk around the farm. Little does she know that there is a fox following her.

Goals/Concepts:

  • Early narrative
  • Simple sequencing
  • Farm vocabulary
  • Basic concepts/prepositions (around, over, under, etc.)
  • Early perspective taking
  • Early prediction (Will the fox get Rosie? What do you think will happen?)

Why I like this book: The story is simple, and kids love it. Great pictures, and simple humorous ending.

Ideas for use:

  • Great introducing of “setting” (the farm) from the Story Grammar Marker. Discuss other settings, and describe them (what do we see here, hear, feel, etc.)
  • Use “Braidy” (www.mindwingconcepts.com) for a simple sequence story to have kids retell.
  • Use the pictures in the story, and have kids be “the teacher.” Encourage temporal markers: first, next, then, last.
  • Practice prepositions. Have kids “act” out what Rosie does. Have a toy hen (or have them be Rosie!) and have them walk around, through, under, over. Use props.
  • Act out the story. Have a dyad…one child is Rosie, and one can be the fox. Help them make a plan and act it out. If 3 children, have one be the “narrator.”
  • Discuss why Rosie doesn’t know that the fox is behind her. How do we know? Point out body language, where her eyes are, how the fox is likely moving and sounding, etc. Why doesn’t he want her to know…

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)

Title: The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)

Author: Philemon Sturges

Age: preschool, early elementary

Description: A fun modern twist on the classic story of the Little Red Hen with an unexpected ending.

Goals/Concepts:

  • Categorization
  • Sequencing
  • Prediction
  • Perspective Taking
  • Helping others
  • Dramatic Play

Why I like this book: The story is familiar so kids think they know how it will end so they really appreciate the twist. The simple plot line is great for inspiring dramatic play.

Ideas for Use:

  • Each time the Hen needs something, she goes to a store. She buys what she needs along with a few more things. This provides an excellent opportunity for generating items within categories (e.g., hardware store, grocery store, etc.).
  • Once kids are comfortable generating items within categories, play a round of the Bag Game to reinforce verbal descriptions of those items.
  • The narrative structure of this story lends itself to group interaction. Each time the Hen asks for help, have the kids chime in with “not I” and reinforce the body language that goes with it.
  • This is a fantastic story for supporting dramatic play. Have the kids act out the story with themselves as characters. It’s important that kids get to play each of the roles to practice perspective taking skills.  Using realistic props like pots and pans and a pretend pizza can add to the fun
  • Throughout the story, the other characters are busy doing something else outside each time the Hen asks for help. Follow up the reading of this story or dramatic play with a game of charades related to outdoor activities. Playing charades provides a great opportunity to work on motor-planning, ideation and salience.
  • The ending of this story is a little different from the classic. Have a discussion about the similarities and differences among the two stories. Have the kids generate their own “Little Red Hen” story using a common everyday sequence and brainstorm different endings.
  • The ending to this story reinforces the idea that friends sometimes act in unfriendly ways, but that they can always turn things around by making a new more friendly choice.   Follow up with a discussion of ways to “make amends with friends.”

Submitted by:  Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

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fireman small

Fireman Small

Title: Fireman Small

Author: Wong Herbert Yee

Age: preschool, early elementary

Description: One tiny firefighter works hard all day to help his friends when they are in trouble.

Goals/Concepts:

  • Rhyming
  • Auditory Memory
  • Sequencing
  • Prediction
  • Perspective Taking
  • Helping others
  • Dramatic Play

Why I like this book: The catchy rhyme in this book grabs kids’ attention and the simple plot line is great for inspiring dramatic play.

Ideas for Use:

  • This story contains a repetitive rhyme that recurs several times within the story. Have kids complete more and more of the rhyme each time it occurs to encourage auditory memory skills
  • The problems related in the story have rather obvious solutions so this is a great book for introducing the idea of problems and solutions within a story.
  • This book can also be used to introduce the category of community helpers. Discuss the different roles that each community helper plays in our community and then play a round of the Bag Game to reinforce those concepts.
  • The narrative structure of this story lends itself very well to use with the Story Grammar Marker App. Have kids retell the story with particular focus on the “kickoff” (initiating event) for each problem, the accompanying emotion, the “plan” and the resolution.
  • This is a fantastic story for promoting group pretend play. Using small people figurines and dramatic play materials, the kids can set up a fire station and props for each of the story components. Kids can then take turns with each of the characters.
  • Kids can also act out the story with themselves as characters and gross motor materials as props. Acting out the story in this way provides a wealth of opportunity to experience movement, deep muscle input and tactile sensations. Using a scooter board or platform swing as a fire truck, a soft barrel as a well and/or a climbing pole as a tree provides lots of different sensory input while fostering representational ideation and play.
  • Fireman Small’s friends really appreciate him. Use this story to talk about thanking friends when they are helpful and how good it feels when we help others. Social Thinking Behavior Maps provide a great visual aid for talking about the connections between our actions and our emotions.

Submitted by:  Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

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mr bounce

Mr. Bounce

Title:   Mr. Bounce (Mr. Men and Little Miss)

Author:  Roger Hargreaves

Age:  preschool, elementary school

Description:  One of the “Mr. Books” that outright speaks to those overly active, well-meaning, but tough-to-manage kids.

Goals/Concepts:

  • Self-regulation
  • Body awareness
  • Motor planning
  • Perspective taking
  • Good intentions
  • Understanding consequences of actions
  • Accepting help from an adult

Why I like this book:  First of all, this is a series that I used when I was teaching in the late 70’s, and it is adorable.   Even though it’s “old”, kids respond to the characters and story.  There are few books that specifically address those bouncy kids and, as an OT, I am happy to use this one.

Ideas for use:  

  • Before reading, discuss times when you moved too quickly or moved without looking which caused a problem for you or others.  For example, knocking over a coffee cup or tripping over a pair of shoes.  Have the kids offer suggestions of times their high activity level caused bad things to happen.  This helps “normalize” the situation without pointing a negative finger at the “Bouncers.”
  • As you read the story, have the kids anticipate what will happen.  There are lots of opportunities for visualization.  For example, “… you can guess what happened next, can’t you?” and “As you can imagine, that made things very difficult.”  Taking time to think about and discuss these concepts helps kids with ideation and planning.
  • Discuss feelings as you read.  How did Mr. Bounce feel about falling in the water?  The simple line drawings actually have very expressive faces.  Have the kids work on mimicking the expressions.
  • Young kids may not know they need help from adults to manage their high activity level.  They may be disciplined for accidents they cause and feel that they need to figure it out on their own.  I love that Mr. Bounce seeks help from an adult in this book.  Talk with kids about how we, as adults, are here to help them, not punish them.
  • Play a variation of the Silly-Calm body game from the Social Adventures App after reading this book to help kids recognize they can have control over their bodies.  When you say, “Bounce” kids can move, dance, or bounce around the room.  When you say, “Red Boots” (the shoes that were given to Mr. Bounce to help him be more grounded) the kids will freeze their bodies or pretend to sleep, or go back to their seats and remain still.

Check out their great website for lots of fun stuff http://www.mrmen.com

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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A Tale of Two Beasts

Title: A Tale of Two Beasts

Author: Fiona Roberton

Description: A little girl rescues a strange beast (a squirrel) in the woods and brings him home to take care of him. The “beast” is not happy and escapes, and tells his own version of events. The book is broken up into 2 short stories to illustrate these two perspectives.

Goals/ objectives:

  • Perspective Taking (social language skills)
  • Narrative Language
  • Friendship Skills
  • Grammar: adjectives
  • Why Questions
  • OT/SLP goal: pretend play (ideation, motor planning, etc.) 

Why I like this story: The two perspectives are wonderful for discussion, and the story is really funny and entertaining. Kids of all ages will love this.

Ideas for use:

  • Have kids tell from the 2 different perspectives. Using a tool like the Story Grammar Marker from Mindwing Concepts to tell from the little girl’s perspective and then from the “beast’s” perspective. Discuss their different “kickoffs” (initiating events): little girl was walking through the woods when suddenly she saw a strange beast stuck up a tree…” vs. “I was hanging from my favorite tree singing happily to the birds  when I was ambushed…”
  • Great for social language discussion around how different interpretations of the same events can happen
  • Do Compare/Contrast of their perspectives, and even their lives. Tie in curriculum around habitats, and animal behavior. Discuss WHY the squirrel may not have liked what the girl was doing to him (i.e. bathing, walking on leash, dressing).
  • At the end of both “tales” they come to realize maybe the other wasn’t so “strange”- great for discussion with social groups about friendship and staying flexible and open minded.
  • Grammar: there are lots of wonderful examples of use of adjectives and adverbs to make sentences more complex and engaging: strange little beast, whining sadly, lovely bath, gorgeous new hat, beautiful house, etc. You could have students find synonyms for these words as well as compare to what adjective the “beast” would use (likely antonym).
  • In a group or dyad, act out the story! Would be great to have kids use various objects to represent the setting and events. What could be the woods? What could be the bath? Who can be the “beast?” Have students sequence events, narrate, negotiate roles and props, etc. Have them generate their own story with 2 perspectives, using the same frame of the story
  • Write their own version of story using different characters, but following this frame. Use apps like Book Creator to generate a story.

Submitted by Meghan Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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biscuit

Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day

Title: Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day

Author: Book:  Alyssa Satin Capucilli , eBook: Zuuka, Inc

Description: It’s Valentine’s Day and Biscuit and his friend spread the love…

Goals/ objectives:

  • “w” and “f” sounds
  • animal sounds
  • early sequencing
  • turn-taking in conversation
  • OT goal:  figure-ground perception
  • OT goal: craft project to go along
  • “wondering” vs “knowing”

Why I like this story: It’s Biscuit!  Need I say more :)

Ideas for use:

  • for minimally-verbal children, encourage them to attempt a “doggie sound” when Biscuit “woofs”
  • lots of opportunities for “w” and “f” production and simple sound-sequencing (e.g., “doggie”, “meow”, “knock knock”)
  • for more sound play, have Biscuit deliver valentines to a farm full of animals.
  • OT:  prior to reading the story, have kids make one of the adorable valentine crafts found on our Pinterest Board,
  • then act out the story pretending to deliver the Valentine using simple play house and people.
  • talk about conversational turn-taking.  With a girl figurine and a dog, act out the turn-taking.  The little girl speaks, then the dog barks and so on.
  • Use a visual to denote whose turn it is so kids get the rhythm (e.g. pass a bean bag back and forth)
  • OT:  the eBook has bones hidden on every page, encourage kids to find them and touch them.  There will be a tally at the end.  Great for keeping kids focused without being distracting.
  • Enjoy this adorable story, and then discover more Biscuit books…

Submitted by Karen S Head M.S. CCC-SLP

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feelings book

A Little Book About Feelings

Title:   A Little Book About Feelings

From: “Ruby’s Studio:  The Feelings Show”

Description:  This adorable little eBook offers a nice description of feelings and what happens when we express them.

Goals:

  • Identify a variety of feelings
  • Identify ways to express feelings – words, facial expressions and body language
  • Describe how various feelings manifest in our bodies
  • Discuss the importance of understanding the emotions of others

Why I like this book:  The simple format and engaging pictures work very well as conversation starters.   The book can be read in its entirety or one page at a time…

Ideas for this book:

  • Create a “Feeling Throughout the Day” chart.  Along the left side of a page place symbols to represent waking up, getting ready for school, riding the bus, being in the classroom, playing at recess, etc.  Then next to each of these symbols, have the kids brainstorm how they felt that day during each of these times.  This gives kids a chance to realize how many different feelings we experience each day.  Looking for symbols to use for this project?  Try downloading some from LessonPix.  
  • Play Feeling Charades:  Make a stack of cards with action words (jump, tiptoe, skip, etc) and another with feeling words.  Have each child pick a card from each pile, act them out and see if friends can guess the action and the feeling.  Watch out for angry tiptoers!
  • For children who have difficulty identifying emotions through facial expressions, try introducing them using the Emotions app from Alligator apps.  Then have them use a mirror to try to copy those expressions.
  • Play Match the Feeling – Tell a story with a very obvious emotion attached (something sad, scary or exciting).  Encourage the children to “match” their facial expression and body language to that of the story.
  • For Valentine’s Day, have the kids generate a list of words that express positive emotions; such as loving or liking someone.  Use these words to make special Valentine’s Day cards.  Add these words to this adorable craft we found on Pinterest from Family Fun magazine.  The hand says “I love you” in sign language :).
  • Discuss the places in our bodies where we feel some negative emotions – our hearts beat fast, our tummies feel tight or sick, our mouths feel dry, and so on.  Then discuss how our bodies feel once we have expressed those feelings and they have been understood by someone else – our hearts slow down, our tummies feel better, our mouths feel normal, and so on.
  • Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!
Submitted by Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

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valentine

The Biggest Valentine Ever

Title: The Biggest Valentine Ever

Author: Steve Kroll

Age: School Age

Description: Two friends from class decide to make a valentine for their teacher together. Working together proves to be quite challenging…

 

What I like about this book: It’s a cute thematic story for Valentine’s Day with a social focus.

Goals:

  • Pragmatics/Social Language
  • “Wh” Questions
  • Narrative/Story retell

Therapy/Activity Ideas:

  • A great book for discussion of teamwork and working together. Have students talk about what is hard when working together, what makes it fun, etc.
  • Discuss ways to help make working together go more successfully: making a plan, “asking” vs. “telling,” giving compliments, looking at friends’ faces to determine how they are feeling, etc.
  • Role-play different scenarios in the story when the two mice are not getting along. Discuss what they could have done differently. What language could they use if they don’t like someone’s idea? (vs. what the mice do “you put too much glitter! Why did you make a heart in the middle?!). Discuss the effects of tone of voice. What if the mouse said it with a different tone of voice? Would that change the situation? Use thinking and speaking bubbles to help teach these concepts.
  • Have students work in pairs to make the valentine that was made in the story (a mouse out of 5 paper hearts). A context to help support the above stated skills…(tone of voice, negotiation, etc.)
  • Have students retell the story working on story grammar elements (characters, setting, initiating event, etc.). Pair with the Story Grammar Marker.

Submitted by:  Meghan Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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