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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The little Green witch

The Little Green Witch

Title:  The Little Green Witch

Author: Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Description: A play on the “Little Red Hen,” this story highlights a little green witch who does ALL the “unhousework” as her friends the ghost, the bat and the gremlin do little. They learn their lesson at the end of the story…


  • Narrative
  • Sequencing
  • Vocabulary (fall, halloween)
  • Emotions (why are they feeling that way?)
  • Inferencing
  • Past Tense
  • /s/ blends

Why I like this book: It’s a “play” on the classic “The Little Red Hen,” which is another favorite of mine. I love the lesson of the story, and the humor is loved by all children.

Ideas for this book:

  • Have students retell the story identifying story grammar elements. I use with “Braidy” from  Mindwingconcepts, is there is a clear “kickoff,” and sequence of events
  • Great for sequencing as well. Have children retell the story using pictures from the story, incorporating “first, next, then, etc.” You photo copy pages of the story- and have students place in order, and take home to retell to their families
  • The story offers lots of fall, halloween vocabulary (pumpkins, witches, gremlins, bats, ghosts, etc.). Tie with Sara Smith’s Expanding Expression Tool and have children expand on the concepts. You can also use our Bag Game App and use the new fall and halloween pictures for description.
  • There are various emotions/states and emotional vocabulary used in the story (frustrated, lazy, disgusted, excited,  annoyed, etc.). Identify with students, and see if they can generate “why” characters feel that way. Can they “act” out the emotion? Can they identify a time in their life when they have felt that way?
  • The story offers opportunity for students to infer what might happen next. If she plants pumpkin seeds what will she need to do next? (water) After that? (pick) etc. The witch’s friends also NEVER help her. See if children can predict what they will do/say next? Can they see the pattern? Can the predict how the witch will feel?
  • Here is a free coloring page to go with the story provided by Charles Bridge Publishers: Coloring Page. Have students color, add descriptive words (use EET from above), generate their own story about a witch, etc.
  • Lots of examples of the past tense. The witch lists what she has done often (I carved. I planted. I watered. I cooked, etc.) Stress the “ed” ending, and encourage students to retell the witch’s actions.
  • There are numerous examples of /s/ blends throughout the story (scare, scooped, stirred, etc.) Encourage students to repeat your utterances, generate their own sentences using the stimuli, etc. Create picture cards that go along with the story to use for additional practice or home programming.

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

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Picture 3

City Dog Country Frog

Title: City Dog, Country Frog

Author:  Mo Willems

Description: A story of friendship between a dog and a frog.


  • friendship
  • social skills
  • vocabulary (seasons)
  • descriptive language
  • prediction
  • past tense verbs

Why I like this book: Beautiful pictures and message about friendship.

Ideas for use:

    • great for discussion about friendship in general. What made their friendship work? They do each others interests (not just their own), they took care of each other, they check in with each other, they make plans, etc.
    • Good for discussion about “change” as the frog doesn’t return at a point in the story, and the dog must adjust. You can predict/infer what could have happened to the frog as the author doesn’t explicitly state (i.e. Did the frog hibernate? Move to a new location? Did he die?)
    • could use for descriptive language (oral or written) and tie to the Linda Mood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing program. What does the dog see, hear, feel, smell, how does he move, etc.
    • discuss the seasons. Brainstorm ideas for activities and events within each season
    • Can tie to science curriculum if appropriate (frog life cycle, hibernation, seasonal changes, etc.)
    • great modeling of present vs. past tense throughout the story
    • have students write the “next” chapter of this story. What happens with dog’s new friendship? What do they do next? Have them write and illustrate….

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

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