country mouse

Country Mouse and City Mouse

Title: Country Mouse and City Mouse

Author: Based on an Aesop’s Fable. App by McGraw-Hill

Illustrator: Joyce Hesselberth

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: A mouse that lives in the city visits a mouse friend who lives in the country.  Although they both enjoy the visits, they long for their familiar homes.

Goals/Concepts:
• Perspective taking
• Trying new experiences
• Flexibility
• Managing the unexpected
• Being kind even if you don’t like someone else’s ideas or things

Why I like this book: I have always liked this story and recently discovered that it is also available as a sweetly illustrated e-book which did not disappoint! I remember reading this book or hearing it read to me when I was very young and was intrigued by how different the city and country environments were from one another. I enjoyed seeing the various activities each mouse shared with the other. I love this book today for the same reasons!

Ideas for use:
• Great story to read before a play date. Talk with your child about the fact that their friend has had different experiences and may have different ideas about play.
• Play a game called “If You Like” with a group of children after reading the story. For example, “If you like snow, jump to the wall”. Discuss and affirm differences as well as similarities.
• This is a great story to act out. Split the group into Country and City mice and have them use materials around the room as props and sets. Have them invite the other group over to visit. The visiting mice will need to follow the lead of the “home” mice and then switch.
• Acting out the story provides a wealth of opportunity to experience movement, deep muscle input and tactile sensations. Rolling down a hill, sliding over ice, and climbing up a tree are a few of the actions that can be mimicked.
• The e-book presents different sounds for the country and the city. Discuss and explore sensory input that can be experienced through the senses in each setting. For example, traffic noises can be heard in the city and birds chirping in the country. You might find bakery smells in the city and smell flowers in the country.
• Split the kids into 2 groups and have each group create sets for either the Country or the City. Then have the kids write a script and make sock puppets for a puppet show.

• Lots of downloadable worksheets and more ideas for use are available on line. Here are just a few:

Scholastic Printables

Lesson Pathways

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

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far to the north

Far to the North – eBook

Title:  Far to the North

Author/Illustrator:  Gina Ricci

Description:  A sweet celebration of the polar bear and the beauty of the North Pole.

Goals:

  • rhyming
  • early description skills
  • early sequencing
  • introduction to North Pole and Northern Lights
  • /r/ production

What I like about this book:  The story is quite short and sweet and the illustrations are delightful.

Ideas for this book:

  • For early talkers, encourage them to “read” the book by describing each page.  The illustrations are great for generating subject-verb utterances.
  • While reading this book, pause to have the child fill in the rhyming word
  • For older children, this beautiful book could be used as an introduction to a on the North Pole, including the Northern Lights
  • For kids working on /r/ words, this book offers a short, sweet opportunity to practice.  Targets include:  polar, bear, northern, stare, far, north, mystery, bright and star.
  • If you are looking for some additional help with facilitating /r/ development, here are some awesome resources:
Submitted by:  Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP
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join in and play

Join In and Play

Title: Join In and Play (Learning to Get Along®)

Author: Cheri J. Meiners, M. Ed.

Illustrator: Meredith Johnson

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: One in a series of books by free spirit publishing that gently and effectively teaches young children foundational social skills

Goals/Concepts:
• joining play
• managing rejection
• interpreting body language
• understanding facial expressions
• building general social skills

Why I like this book: I often think books that directly teach social skills are written from an adult perspective in a way that makes them less relatable for kids. This book breaks that mold for me. The body language and facial expressions are realistic. For example, when a group of kids tells a girl she can’t play with them, it is clear that they are playing 4 square and all squares are full. It is clear that they aren’t being mean. And yet, looking at the expression on the girl’s face, it is also clear that she is a little sad and wondering what she should do next. The book gives multiple realistic solutions to this situation that kids encounter every day.

Ideas for use:
• Talk about body language and facial expressions as you read the book
• Before reading the page, ask kids what they think is happening in the pictures. Each page contains lots of visual information!
• Many kids think it’s wrong to say “No” and not let others join in and yet, there are times when it is not possible or desirable to let others join. Talk about when and why and how to gently say “No” to a friend.
• Discuss tone of voice with discussion of each scene that takes place.
• Act out ways to effectively join a group of children who are playing.
• Act out solutions when kids are told “no” they can’t play.
• Don’t forget to discuss feelings throughout. Acting out the scenarios helps remove some of the fear, anxiety, sadness and anger that often accompanies rejection. It’s a great way to try out ways to manage rejection when the stakes are not so high.

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

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Dog

Dog’s Colorful Day

Title:  Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting

Author: Emma Dodd

Description: Throughout the day, a dog accumulates various different colored spots on his body.

Goals:

  • Basic Concepts/vocabulary (colors and numbers)
  • Early Sequencing
  • “why” questions (simple, highly contextualized)
  • “s” blends (spots, squish, squash, splash, swish)

Why I like this book: An adorable, simple story for early story telling/retelling.

Ideas for this book:

  • Great to pair with counting and coloring apps to help children learn these early concepts. See app stories like Kindertown Apps to search. Lots of activity ideas from other websites such as Making Learning Fun or a whole pintrest page dedicated to ideas here.
  • Make colors spots like in the story. Have kids “retell” the story using the colored spots. Can they remember the order and where the spot came from (i.e red was the jelly when he was waiting under the table at breakfast time, blue was paint from the front door, etc.). Encourage kids to use temporal markers such as “first, , next, then, last”
  • Help teach/model “why” questions. Why does he have a green spot? BECAUSE he rolled in the grass. Why does he have a gray spot? BECAUSE he splashed in the mud, etc.
  • lots of opportunity for /s/ blend practice. Have kiddos repeat the stimuli. Great to pair with articulation apps for more drill work such as Articulation Station or Artik Pix

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

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Sea-Otter-Cove

Sea Otter Cove

Title: Sea Otter Cove

Author: Lori Lite

Description: A relaxation story that will bring calmness even to the most
dysregulated children (and their adults)!

Goals/Objectives:
• Stress release
• Learning deep breathing sequence
• Relaxation
• Visualization
• Learning from friends
• Body awareness

Why I like this story: Repetition of the deep breathing sequence gives children
the opportunity to practice. The visual images and rhythm of the text facilitates
relaxation in a very natural way.

Ideas for use:
• Great bedtime story
• Read to children after recess or a particularly over-stimulating time
• If possible, have the children lie down as they listen to the words
• Guide children to create pictures in their minds as they listen. Words
and phrases such as “swirling colors”, “center of the earth”, “rocks”, “sea
gulls”, “feathers” create many opportunities to visualize
• Encourage children to attend to physical sensations such as sounds, warmth,
smells, and the active movement of the belly rising and falling
• Using a weighted blanket can facilitate relaxation during the story
• Placing a bean bag on the children’s bellies can help them experience and
understand diaphragmatic breathing
• Have kids practice blowing a feather to illustrate belly breathing
• Teach idioms used in the book such as “clear your mind” and “wandering
mind”
• Talk with kids about how relaxation breathing can be used when they are
angry, nervous, scared, or over-excited

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

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Humpty

What REALLY Happened to Humpty?

Title:  What Really Happened to Humpty? (Nursery-Rhyme Mysteries)

Author: Jeanie Franz Ransom

Description: Humpty’s brother, Joe a detective is convinced that Humpty didn’t just fall…he was pushed. He is given one day to use the clues, and figure out who did it.

Goals:

  • Inferencing
  • Perspective Taking
  • Figurative Language
  • “why” questions/higher-level language/problem solving
  • curriculum connections: fairy tales/nursery rhymes
  • Story generation/narrative skills

Why I like this book: A great story for elementary to upper elementary students to address higher level language skills. The book is funny….kids are entertained while addressing lots of language goals.

Ideas for this book:

  • There are endless opportunities for students to practice inferencing skills. I like to use Mindwingconcepts approach to inferencing with the “Remember”(clues from text/pics) + Know (background knowledge)= Guess (inference) to break down this process. An example from the story. Detective Dumpty runs into Little Red Riding Hood who is feeling upset. She states that Muffin Man is scrambling to fill  a big order. She can’t even buy a muffin for her grandmother. “Why is she angry?” “Why can’t she buy a muffin?” “How do we know that she is angry,” etc.
  • Additionally, Detective Dumpty has lots of “clues” to put together to make a guess as to who may have wanted to harm his brother. Have students keep track of the “clues.” They can write them down on a white board, or even use an app to track: Popplet could be a good choice to track all the clues. A different popplet for each clue/character could be used
  • There are lots of perspectives in this story. Little Miss Muffet, a spider, even Goldilocks. To help students understand, pair with “Braidy” from Mindwingconcepts. Have students tell the story from each character’s point of view using story grammar elements. What was the initiating event/kickoff for Little Miss Muffet?
  • Use thinking and speaking bubbles to help kids understand character motivations. Why would Miss Muffet lie? What was she thinking about (want)?
  • There are lots of examples of figurative language: hard-boiled detective, shooting the breeze, hit the streets, bare/bear, etc. Have students use context clues to guess what these sayings could mean.
  • The book is filled with opportunities for students to answer higher level “why” questions.
  • The story references several other fairy tales/nursery rhymes. Have students look up these other fairy tales. Discuss their purpose/moral or resolution, and how it connects to the story. For example, what happened in the story of the 3 Little Pigs? Have students “retell” the story to you, explaining the “salient” parts. This could be paired with the Story Grammar Marker (“Braidy”) through Mindwingconcepts as stated above. Have students verbally explain the connection to this story.Encourage cohesive ties (i.e. because, so, etc.)
  • At the end of the story, Detective Dumpty discussed other future cases. Have students write the next story based on one of his cases (i.e. Dish ran away with the spoon, Little Bo Peep Lost her Sheep, etc.).
  • Available through Charles Bridge Publishing with a link to Detective Dumpty’s own website

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

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hershel and the goblins

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Title:   Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Author:  Eric Kimmel

Description:  An adorable story about a how one clever villager saves Hanukkah.

Goals:

  • early elementary comprehension
  • perspective taking
  • problem-solving
  • reading body language
  • inferencing

Why I like this book:  During the holiday season, I always enjoy introducing a book from the Jewish culture.  While it is a story about Hanukkah, the themes are universal.

Ideas for this book:

  • While this story does not focus upon the religious components of Hanukkah, it does introduce some of the associated traditions; such as, lighting menorah candles and playing with a dreidel.  This provides a great opportunity for exposing children who don’t celebrate Hanukkah to this holiday to other holiday traditions.
  • As a follow up activity, have the kids play the dreidel game with some chocolate coins.  It is a fun group game that includes turn-taking and flexibility since it is more a game of chance than of skill.
  • Make your own dreidels using this template or download this Hanukkah Dreidel app.
  • This story is perfect for acting out.  The characters are well defined and who doesn’t like to play the role of a villain (goblin) once in a while…
  • The text in this book is on the longer side for a picture book, so just reading it can provide a great opportunity for sustained attention.
  • Each night, Hershel outwits another goblin.  While reading, ask kids if they can predict what the goblin will do.  This provides an opportunity to take the perspective of the goblin.  Why was Hershel able to trick them?
  • This is another great book to use with the Story Grammar Marker from MindWing Concepts.

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

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xmas hanukkah

My Two Holidays

Title:  My Two Holidays: A Hanukkah and Christmas Story

Author: Danielle Novack

Description: A little boy celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas and is confused and a bit anxious about this situation at school. He feels like all the other kids only celebrate one holiday. After some discussion with his parents, he realizes that both holidays are about celebrating time with family, and he realizes how lucky he is to get to experience both holiday traditions.

Goals:

  • Social Skills/perspective taking
  • Holiday (Xmas and Hanukkah) vocabulary and Awareness
  • Story Retell

Why I like this book: It’s a great story for discussion around different holidays and traditions for kids. Lots of children are confused by their friends’ traditions, so it’s a great story to get kids talking to each other, and explaining what they do for the holidays.

Ideas for this book:

  • Have children share their traditions with one another. Make a list of Similarities and Differences. Great for using compare and contrast outlines/graphic organizers, Venn diagrams, etc. Would be great to pair with the app/software Popplet to make the learning visual
  • A great story to discuss inside/outside thoughts around holidays. For our social groups discussing words that should stay in our brains (i.e. That’s weird!) vs. words we can say to others (i.e. “That sounds cool!”). If this is a challenging situation have kids role play what to say when friends are sharing a difference.
  • The book is filled with holiday vocabulary for both Christmas and Hanukkah. Would be great to pair objects/pictures (google images) of the vocabulary to help with understanding
  • A great story to retell and link with “Braidy” from Mindwingconcepts. There is a clear “kickoff” as the character struggles with his two holidays.

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

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swallow

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

Title: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

Author: Lucille Colandro

Description: Another version of the little old lady who swallowed a fly, but with a holiday theme.

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. Another website (Making Learning Fun.com) offers the pictures already made here.
  • 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 put all of the objects in?)
  • 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 (bell/tell, weigh/sleigh)? Can use our Talking Train app. Put one of the words on the initial engine car. Can they generate additional words in the remaining 3 cars? Generate words that start with the same sound? Great to also 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)
  • Reinforce contextual “why” questions. Why did she swallow the bell? Why did she swallow the sac?, etc.
  • 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. This could be a great “group” project.
  • There is a cute craft idea here. A teacher shared the idea of using a zip lock baggie as the lady’s belly, and filled the baggie with the various objects (pictures) that she swallows (candy cane, bells, etc.)

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

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