mitten mystery

The Missing Mitten Mystery

Title: The Missing Mitten Mystery

Author: Steven Kellogg

Description: Annie loses her 5th mitten of the season.  While trying to find it her imagination goes wild.  It is found in a most unexpected place.

Goals/ objectives:

  • Question-asking
  • Negation
  • Flexible thinking
  • Sequencing/ retelling
  • Body language/ facial expression
  • “wondering” vs “knowing”

Why I like this story: A wonderful winter story about a lost mitten that’s found.  Always a good thing :)

Ideas for use:

  • while reading, talk about making “pictures in your mind”.  Have the kids generate picture memories of places they would look for a lost mitten (e.g.., in the driveway waiting for the bus, in the hallway on the way to class, on the playground at recess, etc).  Encourage kids to include lots of details.  This is a great excercise for practicing Lindamood-Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing concepts.
  • encourage kids to “imagine” what else the mitten might be used for.
  • identify all of the verbs in the story and discuss the different tenses used to tell the story.
  • discuss the concepts of “wondering” vs “knowing”.  Generate lists of things we wonder about before we actually know (e.g., birthday presents, etc) and what has to happen in order to “know”
  • the illustrations in this book are excellent for talking about facial expressions and body language and reasons for them.
  • have kids generate their own story using the same story structure (e.g., losing a hat in the spring or a kite in the summer)

Submitted by Karen S Head 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…


    • 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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Hey, Little Ant

Title: Hey, Little Ant

Author: Phillip and Hannah Hoose

Illustrator: Debbie Tilley

Age: early elementary, elementary, middle school

Description: A boy has to decide whether to squish an ant, or not. He is persuaded by friends and the perspective of the ant itself.


  • Perspective Taking
  • Social Skills
  • Narrative/Retelling
  • Tone of Voice

Why I like this book: A good story to clearly show perspective taking. It also leads to great discussion in social groups across the ages.

Ideas for use:

  • Act out the story. One person be the boy and the other the ant. If you’re in a group- there are friends as well. Switch roles.
  • While acting out, practice tone of voice and body language. How would the ant look, feel, sound like if he was about to be squished?
  • A great story to pair with “Braidy” through Mindwing Concepts. Use to retell the story from different perspectives (boys, ants, friends). Can create thinking and speaking bubbles to pair with the story where necessary.
  • A great story for discussion with older kids about “early peer pressure” (as the friends want him to squish the ant). Could also pair to introduce with Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Behavior Maps to show how behaviors have consequences for yourself and others.
  • The books leads to discussion as the ending isn’t told. Would be great to discuss causality- what would happen if he does? If he doesn’t? How will he feel? What would happen to the ant’s family? This can be modified based on the age of the child
  • If you’re musically inclined there is a song that goes with the story- sing along and enjoy :)
  • Use for writing. Do compare and contrasting paragraphs with a graphic organizer and/or venn diagram. What the same about the boy and the ant? What’s different?
  • Could pair with curriculum topics about insects, protecting species, etc.
  • A nice post on activity ideas to go along with this story, geared towards elementary school and beyond teachers guide to the Little Ant

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

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The Runaway Bunny

Title: The Runaway Bunny

Author: Margaret Wise Brown

Illustrator: Clement Hurd

Age: preschool, early elementary, elementary

Description: A little bunny decides that he wants to run away from his mother. However, she won’t allow it, and finds a way to always follow him wherever his imagination takes him.


  • why questions
  • inferencing/prediction
  • descriptive language
  • “if, then” sentence structures, causals
  • early narrative- retell

Why I like this book: Most children can relate to strong message of love and commitment of the mother bunny.

Ideas for use:

  • A great story to model “why”/”because”: Why does the mother follow the bunny? Why did she want to be a fisherman? Why did she want to be a mountain climber? etc.
  • Have children make guesses as to what the mom would become when the little bunny decides to find a way to get away (i.e. he says he’ll be sailboat and sail away- what could mom become (wind)?; He says he’ll join a circus and fly away on a trapeze- what could she be to catch him?(tight rope walker))
  • Read the story to the child, without showing the colorful picture scene. See if they can visualize ( (great to pair with the Visualizing and Verbalizing program)- What do they envision? Have them draw what they picture. For example, the circus- Help them develop the scene: what would they see (clowns, crowds), hear (lions roar), smell (popcorn), etc.
  • The story models “if, then” syntax throughout the story. During retell could also model causals (i.e. the mommy said she’d become a mountain climber beacuse the bunny wants to be a mountain)
  • Use the pictures, and have students “retell” the story. Encourage temporal markers (first, next, then after that). Can make boardmaker pictures to go along, and have students sequence and then re-tell.
  • Have students add to the story to address narrative generation, as well as sentence structure practice. What else could the bunny do to “get away”, and what would be mommy do? (i.e. If you run after me, I will become a horse, and ride away…..the mommy would become a cowboy, and ride the horse back to the stable.) They can illustrate the story

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

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Title: Moondance

Author: Frank Asch

Description: Bear has a wish to dance with the moon. Before his wish comes true, he learns a little bit about weather and a lot about friendship.

Goals/ objectives:
• Wishing vs knowing
• Inferencing/ Prediction
• Sequencing/ retelling
• Describing supportive friendships
• Simple weather concepts

Why I like this story: It is a classic, it is very sweet, and it can be read and discussed at a number of different levels.

Ideas for use:

  • Wishing for something to happen vs knowing that something will happen can sometimes be confusing for little ones and this can lead to disappointment. This story provides an opportunity for talking about the difference between the two and for introducing the notions of flexibility and finding joy in alternatives
  • For younger or more concrete learners, this book provides an opportunity to introduce some simple weather facts and vocabulary (fog, clouds, rain, puddles, condensation, evaporation, etc)
  • Discuss the weather sequence in the story and other weather sequences (seasons, leaf sequence, etc)
  • Bird is a wonderful role model of a supportive friend throughout this story. His encouragement of Bear to consider alternatives comes up often. He helps Bear find alternative dance partners and he offers Bear another perspective when Bear feels left behind. Following the reading of this book, discuss Bear’s reactions to Bird suggestions and follow up with a discussion of how thinking flexibly is important.
  • The simple story line offers a great opportunity to introduce Braidy, the Story Grammar Marker from Mindwing Concepts.
  • Dancing is a major theme in this book. In a group, encourage kids tune into body language by first demonstrating how they might dance differently in fog, rain or a puddle. What about mud, snow or wind? Peers can try to guess where friends are dancing based on salient clues (e.g., shivering while dancing in snow, feet getting stuck in the mud, etc)

Submitted by Karen S Head MS CCC-SLP

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Fiona’s Luck

Title: Fiona’s Luck

Author: Teresa Bateman

Description:  In this Irish folktale, Fiona uses her smarts to trick a selfish Leprachaun king who has taken all the luck of the land.


  • Narrative Language
  • Abstract/Figurative Language
  • Perspective Taking
  • Trickery

Why I like this book: An entertaining story that can address any number of higher- level language goals

Ideas for use:

  • Identify the Story Grammar Elements (characters, setting, etc.). I use with Mindwingconcepts “Braidy.” Multiple “kick-offs,” etc.
  • A great story for perspective taking and “trickery”- what is Fiona thinking vs. the villagers and the leprechauns.  Use thinking and speaking bubbles to assist with understanding
  • Teach/discuss similes and metaphors. Great for reasoning. What do you think the simile means? Have students create their own similes and metaphors.

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

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my mouth is a

My Mouth is a Volcano

Book: My Mouth Is a Volcano!

Author: Julia Cook

Illustrator: Carrie Hartman

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: Louis is a “blurter” and constantly interrupting others and speaking when he should listen or raise his hand. His mother comes up with a simple strategy to help limit his volcanic eruptions.


  • Impulse control
  • Self-regulation
  • Patience (or impatience)
  • Sensory regulation
  • Empathy
  • Perspective taking
  • Social Skills
  • Reading Body Language

Why I like this book: The story is told from the perspective of Louis, the “erupter”, and is presented in an understanding, realistic light. Children easily relate to this story and are therefore, more willing to work on solving the “problem”.

Ideas for use:

  • Good book to read to a group or classroom of kids to identify the problem. The kids will laugh through the first reading at the entertaining illustrations.
  • As you read the book a second time, discuss how each character is feeling, (e.g. teacher, Louis, classmates, other interrupters). Use thinking bubbles and speaking bubbles to help.
  • Point out body language of characters and “why”
  • Engage kids in a discussion about how they feel when they are interrupted.
  • Many kids talk about their fear of forgetting what they want to say if they don’t “blurt” it out. Work on strategies with them to help them remember.
  • Remind kiddos to wait for a “pause,” raise a hand, etc.
  • Address the physical wiggling, jumping up, and sounds kids make when they interrupt. Provide sensory and motor activities to help their bodies remain calm (e.g. deep breathing, move-‘n-sit cushion, squeeze ball).

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L   and  Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Being Benny

Title: Being Benny

Author: Dan Wetzel

Age: preschool, elementary school

Description: Benny escapes the boredom he is experiencing on a rainy day by using his imagination…

• Imagination
• Ideation
• Problem solving
• Motor planning
• Creativity
• Categories

Why I like this book: Benny uses his imagination rather than “screens” to make his day more interesting. I like to use this book to talk about using the brain as a tool for eliminating boredom.

Ideas for use:
• After reading, talk with kids about what they would like to be. This can be broken down into categories. (e.g. vehicle, food, clothing, animal)
• After kids have talked about what they would like to be, see if each child can remember one thing a friend wanted to be.
• Discuss similarities in what kids in the group would choose to be or do to build friend files.
• Play charades acting out the pictures in the book.
• Find out what the kids do on rainy days and help them think about other ways to use their imaginations for fun.

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

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Freckle Juice

Freckle Juice

Title: Freckle Juice

Author: Judy Blume
Age: Elementary School
Description: A short chapter book in which Andrew Marcus really wants freckles and can and does do almost anything to try and get them.
  • Main idea
  • Perspective taking
  • Reading comprehension
  • Prediction
  • “trickery”

Why I like this book: The chapters are short and broken up with pictures which makes it more enjoyable and manageable for struggling readers, or those with shorter attention spans. The story is humorous and loved by all kids.

Ideas for use:

  • Working on summarizing of each chapter. Have children write/share in 2-3 sentences the “most important thing” that happened.
  • Great for perspective taking as there is a huge element of trickery. If children are challenged by the concept of trickery, use drawings (stick figures will work!) and thinking and speaking bubbles to help them visualize and understand throughout each chapter. Write what characters are “thinking” vs. “saying” and why
  • Have children make predictions at the end of every chapter
  • Work in implicit and explict comprehension questions after each chapter
  • Have kids make up their own version of “freckle juice,” what would they include in their recipe. Who could they “trick”? (always discussing not to do this for real!)

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

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