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A Day Without Rules

Title: A Day Without Rules

Author: Billy Boston, Illustrated by Joel McNatt

Description: A classroom of children get to see the effects of not having rules for the day. They learn to see the importance of respecting each other.

Why I like this story: A good story for the preschool/kindergarten classroom, as the story provides situations that kids can really relate to, along with great illustrations to help with understanding of emotions.  Our social groups have really enjoyed this story, and has led to great discussion.

Goals/ objectives:

  • social skills/ pragmatic language
  • perspective taking
  • friendship
  • prediction skills
  • early narrative language, retelling
Ideas for use:
  • Role play the various situations that happen in the story (i.e. purposely knocking over a block tower, grabbing objects out of hands, etc.), and discuss characters feelings and thoughts. Exaggerate and discuss body language. Have children act out the “right” way and the “way without rules.” Great for discussion and practice of social appropriate responses/actions
  • Use bubble thoughts to discuss what characters are thinking and why
  • Have students generate what rules they would want to live without. Great for prediction skills…What might happen if we don’t have to keep our cubby clean? Not wash our hands before snack? Take toys/books home? etc. Students can even generate their own stories around not having these rules and the effects. Create the stories on story creation apps like Toontastic or Book Creator.
  •  Great for early narrative skills. Clear characters, settings and initiating events. Pair with Mindwing Concepts story grammar marker or Story Grammar Marker (SGM) App.

Submitted by Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP It is noted that all4mychild was provided with a copy of this story for review. However, options expressed are our own and no other compensation was provided. *Like this review and activities? Check out the Social Adventures App for more activities for children.

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elf

The Little Red Elf

 

Title: The Little Red Elf

 Author: Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Description: A play on the Little Red Hen, the little elf tries to get her friends to help her plant and grow a Christmas tree. The penguin, the hare and the reindeer choose to be lazy or do what they want rather than help their friend. They learn their lesson at the end of the story. hey

Goals/ objectives:

  • Early narrative (simple sequence story)
  • Past tense
  • Teamwork
  • Perspective taking
  • Early prediction
  • Question formulation/”who” questions

Why I like this story: Adorable pictures with lots of language opportunities. I’m a big fan of the original Little Red Hen, and this is a fun holiday spin.

Ideas for use:

  • simple story sequence to retell with repetition. Use the pictures and incorporate “first, next, then, etc.”
  • The little elf does lots of actions as she does all the work. A great story to elicit past tense verbs, with clear pictures and lots of opportunities (i.e. shoveled, cleaned, painted, etc.)
  • A good story for a group to stress “teamwork” and and “many hands make light the work” concept. A good message for this time of year as well. Have kids think about how they can help others…an obvious opportunity for some perspective taking.
    • Have children predict what the little elf will have to do next to care for a tree. First plant.. what do you think will be next? (water, bring in the house, decorate, etc.)
  • There is lots of opportunity to model, “Who will help me….” both for expressive and receptive “wh” question goals.
  • The pictures offer opportunity for emotions and perspective taking. Use thinking bubbles to assist kids understand what characters are thinking and why

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

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arnosky turkey

I’m a Turkey

Title: I’m A Turkey!

Author: Jim Arnosky

Description:  The life of a turkey from his own perspective.

Goals/concepts:

-phonological awareness skills (rhyming)

-why questions (i.e. ups and downs of being a turkey, why must they be careful, etc.)

-Discussion around body language (i.e. discuss how they communicate “without words”)

-perspective taking

Why I like this book: It’s a fun holiday story.

Ideas for use:

-Have children fill in the rhyming words, or generate other words that would rhyme.

-After reading do a game of charades. The story talks about how in a “group” they often “communicate without words”- expand on this. Could act out thanksgiving theme ideas as well (e.g. turkey, dinner, setting table, cooking, etc.)

-Have children make their own thanksgiving poems.

-for older students, discuss the turkey’s perspective vs. the hunter, vs. the farmer, etc.

-For causals have children fill in “why” turkeys have to be careful…because….

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

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Elmer

Elmer

Title: Elmer

Author: David McKee

Description: Elmer the elephant isn’t like all the other elephants. He’s colorful and struggles with that difference. After trying to be like all the other elephants and failing, he realizes how much his friends appreciate his uniqueness.

Goals:

  • Friendship
  • Social Skills
  • Narrative language/Retelling
  • Animal Vocabulary

Why I like this book: A good example of appreciating people’s differences, and teaching children to be themselves.

Ideas for this book:

  • Have each child come up with something they can do (i.e. sometimes do friends ideas even if it isn’t exactly what they want, ask a friend what their favorite game is and play it together, let another friend go first, etc.), or something that they are good at, that makes their friends think/feel positively towards them. Discuss how Elmer was good at making the other elephants laugh and enjoy themselves. This made his friends like him, and want to spend time with him. Could they use one of their “talents” or traits to enjoy their time with friends? Maybe they are great at legos- they could make a lego tower together with a friend? Maybe they are good at drawing- they could draw a picture for their friend of their friend’s favorite thing. Encourage discussion around what others are thinking about and feeling when they do these things. They could even draw pictures of this, and share. Use thinking and speaking bubbles to demonstrate how what friends would be thinking and saying.
  • If in a group- have kids each come up with something positive about another group member. What is something that they like about that friend? What makes them special? Again, pair with thinking and speaking bubbles.
  • A great story to identify story grammar elements (i.e. characters, setting, initiating event, etc.). I like to pair with MindwingConcepts story grammar marker /”Braidy” to help students identify and retell the story.
  • Have children retell using “Braidy” or using the pictures from the story. Encourage temporal markers and cohesive ties during their retell.
  • Elmer walks through the jungle and sees various jungle animals. Have children describe and generate other jungle animals. Great to pair with the Expanding Expression Tool (EET) for added description. Could also work on comparing and contrasting of various animals.
  • At the end of the story, the elephants each color themselves in honor of Elmer one day a year. Provide students with an elephant, and have them decorate their own. How would they design themselves? If in a group- a great activity to see how everyone would color themselves differently. Discuss how we all are different, and have different ideas in our head. A great discussion for how much more interesting life is because of our differences. This is illustrated well in this story.

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

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Old Lady

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books

Title:  There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books!

Author: Lucille Colandro

Description: Another version of the little old lady who swallowed a fly, but with a back to school twist….

Goals:

  • Sequencing
  • Story retell
  • Early Prediction
  • Phonological Awareness (Rhyming)
  • Speech Production (s-blends, /sw/)

Why I like this book: There is something about this crazy old lady that kids seem to love. It always gets a reaction, and therefore some discussion, and participation.

Ideas for this book:

  • Create Boardmaker or google image pictures to help children sequence the story as you read, and/or for retelling the story after it’s complete. Encourage temporal markers such as first, then, next, after that, last
  • Have students make guesses as to what she may swallow next. Encourage them to use the previous clues to make a guess (i.e. what could she do with  the pen?)
  • Stress the rhyming words and/or provide the first sound and see if they can “fill in” the remaining sounds. Can they generate additional words that rhyme with each pair? Great to pair with the What Rhymes? App, or Pocket Phonics App
  • Given the repetitive story line, there is lots of opportunity for word or sentence level /sw/ blends (i.e. swallowed)
  • Have kids create their own, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a X. Would be great for reasoning skills, rhyming and story generation. You could use Story Patch app to make this story and even email the story home to share with parents.

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

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woolly

Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder?

Title:  Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder?

Author: Lois Grambling

Description: A little boy fantasizes about bringing a Woolly Mammoth named “Woolly” to the library. He provides many reasons why Wooly should be allowed, and predicts what would and could happen.

 

Goals:

  • “Why” questions
  • Inferencing/prediction
  • Curriculum connections: extinct animals
  • Reading Body Language

Why I like this book: The illustrations are wonderful for kids and grownups alike. An entertaining story that can address many higher level language goals.

Ideas for this book:

  • The boy provides many predictions as to what might happen if Wooly comes to the library. Have students generate their own ideas. What could happen if a big animal comes to the library? How could he help? What problems might there be?
  • Lots of opportunity for both implicit and explicit “why” questions. For example,  Why does Woolly need slippers? (because he would make too much noise walking around the library; Why would Wooly be helpful at putting books away? (because he can reach the tall shelves), etc.
  • A great story to connect with expository text/media  around extinct animals. Here is a great example from Brainpop Jr
  • The illustrations are vivid and clear. Great examples of body language for children to interpret. How are characters feeling? Why? How can you tell? To assist with understanding pair with thinking and speaking bubbles
  • The story ends with the boy realizing that Wooly may be homesick if he came to live with the boy. Have students discuss/write about a time when they were homesick? How did they feel and why?
  • At the very end the boy suggests bringing another extinct animal (Saber Tooth Tiger) to the library. Have students create their own version of this story. Use a story generation app/software like the Story Patch App. Have then predict what could happen if that animal were to come to the library? Or to School?

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

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Being Frank

Title:  Being Frank

Author:  Donna W Earnhardt

Illustrator:  Andrea Castellani

Description:   Frank learns that “being honest” can be tricky business.  A wise grandpa suggests that “more sugar and less pepper” is often the best way to go…

Goals/Concepts:

    • Social skills, especially being honest yet kind
    • Emotions
    • Body Language
    • Perspective Taking
    • Inferencing/Predicting
    • Narrative Language

Why I Like This Book:   This book provides a fun and engaging way to discuss a nuanced topic.  I really appreciate the catch phrase, “more sugar less pepper” that is introduced in this book.  Also, the illustrations are fantastic!

Ideas for Use:   

  •  This is a great book to introduce the topic of being honest and kind to kids who may have difficulty with this concept.  There are several scenarios presented which offer opportunities to discuss how the other person might feel and to brainstorm another approach.  The introduction of the catch phrase, “more sugar less pepper” then provides a way for kids to apply this same approach to new situations.
  • In a group setting, this book is wonderful for acting out.  Kids can work on body language and facial expression to relate their emotions, both when their feelings are hurt and then later when they feel validated.
  • This is also a great book for discussing Social Behavior Mapping (Garcia-Winner).  Frank certainly feels much happier when his friends are happy with him because he treated them more kindly..
  • Once kids have the experience of acting out the book and they are familiar with “more sugar less pepper,” have two kids at a time act out a brief scenario.  Include the other kids by having them give a thumbs up if the child is honest and kind and if not, have the audience say, “more sugar less pepper.”
  • This book is also great to use to work on figurative language.  The idea of “more sugar less pepper” can be explored both literally and figuratively.  Then additional idioms can be explored by generating brief scenarios that would incorporate both the literal and figurative meanings.
  • The scenarios in this book are also good for inferencing and predicting.
  • The narrative structure and story retell can be made more fun by using the Story Grammar Marker App from MindwingConcepts.  This app gives kids the chance to be a newscaster and to tell the exciting story of Being Frank.  Kids can even record their “newscast” and share with others over email!

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

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I am invited to a party

I am Invited to a Party

Title: I Am Invited to a Party!

Author: Mo Willems

Age: Early Elementary/Elementary

Description: Piggie is invited to a party! He asks Elephant for some help because Elephant…he knows parties.

Goals/Concepts:

  • Social skills
  • Emotions
  • Body Language
  • Perspective Taking
  • Inferencing/Predicting
  • Narrative Language
  • Written Language

Why I Like This Book: There isn’t an Elephant and Piggie book that kids don’t love, and they all help me to address a number of goals.

Ideas for Use:

• A great story to address reading emotions and body language. The characters are very expressive. Have students identify emotions, act out, etc. Pair with other emotions apps for further understanding and work on emotions such as: ABA Emotions App, Emotionary App, Feel Electric App

  • Have students act out the story. Can they replicate the emotions with their face and body? Video record and have kids self-reflect. Did their bodies and voices match? This is great for a collaborative activity too. Can they work together to act out the story? Negotiate? Plan?
  • Add/cover up thinking/speaking bubbles within the story. Have students generate what characters are thinking and speaking
  • There are lots of opportunities for predicting what might happen next as Piggie and Elephant get ready for various types of parties. What will they need and wear for a pool party? For a fancy party? etc.
  • Good context to discuss party “etiquette.” Pair with Social Behavior Mapping from Social Thinking© What is expected at a party? What is unexpected? Role play situations in individual or group sessions if necessary (i.e. greetings at a party, giving and receiving gifts, playing winning/losing games, etc.).
  • A great story for character descriptions to develop narrative and social skills. Pair with Mindwing Concepts products. Here’s a great post by Sean Sweeney discussing these character descriptions.
  • Working on written language or hand writing? Use this opportunity to have student write invitations to others for a party. There are lots of apps that would provide a context for generating an invitation as well.
  • There is an example of some figurative language as well….a “pun” “We will make a splash” (with attire for the pool party). Good for discussion of this humor as well.

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

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mouse

The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse

Title:  The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse

Author:  Miriam Norton

Illustrator:  Garth Williams

Age:  Early Elementary

Description:  An abandoned kitten is adopted by a  mouse family.  The kitten grows up believing he is a mouse until the children of the house get involved.

Goals/Concepts:

  • Theory of Mind – both cognitive and emotional
  • Narrative development
  • “s” sounds
  • Body language and emotional inferencing
Why I like this book:  This book is wonderfully illustrated and the story lends itself to lots of discussion of Theory of Mind and perspective taking.
Ideas for use:
  • While reading this book aloud, talk with the kids about what the kitten “thinks” and what the other animals “know.”  Once you reach the part of the story where the kitten is held up to the mirror, discuss how seeing himself changed what the kitten thought.
  • For kids who don’t yet understand that the kitten “thinks” he is a mouse, try acting out the story and focus upon all of the actions that the kitten does that are “mouse” actions and how those would be different from “cat” actions.
  • For kids who may understand the cognitive Theory of Mind (i.e., thinking vs knowing), this story is also great for discussion emotional Theory of Mind (i.e., how the kitten feels during the different parts of the story).
  • For an even higher level challenge, this story can lead to a discussion of deception and the motives for that deception as well as how all of the characters feel as a result.
  • On a lighter note, for kids who simply need some articulation practice, this book is filled to the brim with “s” words.
  • This story is also wonderful for use with the Story Grammar Marker from Mindwings for story retell and narrative development.

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

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mother goose

My Very First Mother Goose

Title: My Very First Mother Goose

Editor: Iona Opie

Illustrator: Rosemary Wells

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: Dozens of Mother Goose rhymes presented in familiar verse with exceptionally charming watercolor illustrations that appear to move across the page.

Goals/Concepts:
• Rhyming and rhythm
• Phonological awareness
• Reading readiness
• Vocabulary
• Body language
• Attention to detail
• Reinforce friendship and family

Why I like this book: As my youngest child prepares to turn 18, I find myself reflecting on her childhood often. When she was 18 months old, Ali had a very high fever and croup. If her fever wouldn’t come down, I would need to bring her to the emergency room, again. Ali refused to swallow Tylenol with her hacking cough and I refused to bring her to the hospital. So, she sat on my lap in the rocking chair while I began singing each rhyme in this book. Ali did not let me stop until every single rhyme had been sung and by the end of the book, she was relaxed enough to take the Tylenol. We never made that trip to the hospital and that’s why I love this book!

Ideas for use:
• A classic book to read anytime. It’s great when you have a little time available between activities. If kids memorize a few rhymes, they can say/sing them with the adult during transitions while they practice visualizing the illustration.
• Discuss what the characters are doing in the pictures and what might happen next if the rhyme or story were to continue.
• Act out the rhymes after negotiating parts and creating costumes. Have kids use objects in the room representationally. (e.g. What can we use for a boat? Car? Big clock?)
• Create puppet shows with socks, paper bags or other materials. Have kids work in small groups and put on their “shows” for each other.
• Discuss the range of facial expressions and overall body language. Make copies of expressive characters from the book and put them on 3×5 cards. Have kids take turns choosing a card and acting out the character’s expression and movement without talking while others follow the clues to guess, like charades.
• Talk about what characters could be thinking (early theory of mind).

• There are numerous craft activities accessible on line as follow up activities

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

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