arnosky turkey

I’m a Turkey

Title: I’m A Turkey!

Author: Jim Arnosky

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


-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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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.

• 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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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.


  • 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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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.


  • 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 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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Dr Suess

What Was I Scared of?

Title: What Was I Scared Of?: A Glow-in-the Dark Encounter (Classic Seuss)

Author:  Dr. Seuss

Description:  A classic Dr. Seuss book that can now be purchased as an e-book – helpful in these last days of October if you need more Halloween books and have run out of time!  It includes Read to me, read it myself, and auto play options.


  • Perspective-taking.  (Why was the character afraid?   Who is really afraid?)
  • Reading facial expressions and body language.  (How do you know he’s afraid?)
  • Understanding white lies.  (Why does he say, I’m not afraid, when he is?)
  • Vocabulary (Halloween)
  • Phonological Awareness (rhyming)
  • Absurdity and humor
  • Inferencing
  • Feelings
  • Friendship and compassion

Why I like this book:  This is a typical Dr. Seuss story that speaks about real feelings and relationships in the most inventive and silly manner!  The unexpected ending supports new friendships.  Music can play throughout story even in the read it myself mode.

Ideas for this book: 

  • Discuss perspective and intent as you read the book exploring why the main character would be afraid of a pair of pants.   Note that the fear builds with each experience.  How does the character manage his fear?
  • Language describing physiological responses to fear and stress such as “shiver” and “heart thumping” provide opportunities to talk about how our bodies react to fear and anxiety and how we can work to control it through deep breathing, yoga, and other forms of relaxation.
  • The character lies about not being afraid when he clearly was.  This is a good way to talk about why and how some lies are OK.  This character felt calmer when he told himself he wasn’t afraid.
  • Lots of absurdities in this book are fun to talk about – What’s real and not real; what makes a particular scene comical.
  • Great book to talk about making inferences.  You could stop the book and have kids illustrate or act out how they think the book will end.
  • As an OT, I like to have kids act out books.  It provides opportunities for sequencing, ideation, collaboration, planning, adapting, and it’s fun!

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

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Haunted Party

Haunted Party

Title:  Haunted Party

Author: Iza Trapani

Description: A rhyming story about a Halloween party with lots of spooky guests. They get a surprise when 10 children show up to “trick or treat.”


  • Phonological Awareness (rhyming)
  • Vocabulary (Halloween)
  • Verbs (present and past)
  • Inferencing

Why I like this book: The pictures are awesome, which elicits lots of language from students. There are goblins with pointy, dirty ears,  who eat worms and eyeballs. Perfect for kids to comment on and laugh.

Ideas for this book:

  • The entire book is in rhyme. Have children fill in the “blank” at the ends of phrases. Provide the initial phoneme, can they predict the rhyming word? (i.e.what a night, the bats take flllllll______(flight)). Use google images, board maker, etc. to make visuals of these rhyming pairs for additional practice, rhyme generation of the pattern (i.e. flight, sight, might, etc.), or home programming. Pair with Rhyming apps such as What Rhymes? or Pocket Phonics App for additional practice
  • This is a great book to expose kids to Halloween vocabulary: skeletons, goblins, vampires, ghosts, witches, bats , monsters, ghouls and more. Pair with any of these great apps recommended by The Speech Guy here
  • The characters partake in many different activities- great for children working on present progressive verbs (i.e. carving pumpkins, eating worms, bobbing for apples, etc.) or have students retell and focus on the past tense. The great detailed pictures are great to elicit
  • If students are going to Halloween parties and need support as to what to expect- a great story to model activities they may experience. Pair with a social story app like  Stories2learnPictello, or Story Patch
  • There is one clear inference at the end of the story that children can make using picture clues and knowledge. Can pair with the Mindwingconcepts approach to inferencing “remember, know and guess” to help students put the pieces together.
  • Charlesbridge Publishers (local to Boston;) provides a “plan your own Halloween party” worksheet here
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Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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llama llama holiday pic

Llama Llama Holiday Drama

Book Title Llama Llama Holiday Drama

Author: Anna Dewdney

A brief description: Llama Llama Holiday Drama is a cute book about a young llama who endures all of the preparations of Christmas and eagerly anticipates the arrival of the holiday…only to find that the hoopla of the big day is a bit too much. The book ends with little llama snuggled up in his mama’s lap, learning that “Gifts are nice, but there’s another; The true gift we have is each other” (pg. 27).

Approximate Age/Language Level: Preschool/Early Elementary

Goals/Concepts addressed: Llama Llama is ripe with possibilities for speech and language goals. There is, of course, the most obvious one: any child working on /l/ sounds will love to practice them over and over while reading this book. The book can also be used to facilitate a discussion of Christmas vocabulary, both familiar (fluffy snow, cookies, gifts, stocking, snowflakes) and unfamiliar (dreidels, eggnog, jingle music, funny elves, lights ablaze). It’s written in a catchy rhyme, making it a great book for helping build phonemic awareness. And finally, the underlying themes of anticipation, disappointment, and love help weave a beautiful story that holds great potential for promoting discussion about emotions.

Ideas for use:

  • Practice or bombard with /l/ sounds while reading.
  • Before reading the book, discuss Christmas vocabulary.
  • During or after reading the book, discuss and define unknown vocabulary.
  • Before reading the book, list and discuss Christmas traditions.
  • As you read the book, check off the traditions you had listed.
  • After you read the book, list and discuss the traditions that were not thought of before reading the book.
  • Ask students to summarize the narrative in their own words, as doing so requires them to infer what happened to little llama and put it into simple narrative format.
  • Use the book as a springboard for discussion about emotions; talk about different emotions and how we learn to manage our emotions.
  • ALSO ADDED a Lesson Plan from the Lesson Diva idea. Thanks Heidi from @pediastaff for the heads up!
Submitted by: Becca Jarzynski, M.S., CCC-SLP, Author of Child Talk:

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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell

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

Author: Lucille Colondro

Age: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: This story follows the same sequence as the little old lady who swallowed a fly. However, this is a beach theme, with the little old lady swallowing sand, water,  sea gulls and more.


  • Sequencing
  • Early Narrative Skills
  • Beach Vocabulary
  • Why questions
  • Phonological Awareness (rhyming)

Why I like this book: The absurdity of the story itself, always hooks kids.  Especially the “burping” and “throwing up” concept that happens in the story.  A great summer read, as many kids spend lots of time at the beach.

Ideas for use:

  • Photo copy the pages, and have children put the story in order after reading it.
  • Use cut out pictures from magazine, or Boardmaker software pictures of the various parts (shell, crab, seagull, etc.), and have them place in order as it happens in the story to keep them engaged
  • Highlight “why” questions when reading this story. Why did she swallow the crab? (so it will live in the shell!)
  • Have children attempt to fill in the blank of the rhyming word when reading (i.e. I don’t know why she swallowed the shell…she didn’t____ (tell)). See if they can generate other words that rhyme with the target.
  • A great story to discuss beach vocabulary, or water animals (crabs, lobsters, sharks, etc.). See if kids can generate what they would bring to the beach and what they would see. Use big paper and have them draw and generate a beach scene.
  • Do a simple beach craft with simple sequencing (i.e. make a crab or shell out of a paper plate, make a starfish and cover with ‘real” sand, etc.). Focus on the sequence and include temporal markers (first, next, then, etc.). You can even take digital pics of the child doing each of the steps. Print and send home- a great sequential and personal narrative task.
  • Create their own “There Was an Old Lady book…. Have them think of a “final” product like the sand castle (i.e. a birthday cake, a tree house, etc.) and what “parts” she would have to swallow (i.e. the flour, frosting, candles, etc.). Kids love to think of ways to have her “throw up” like in this story.

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

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Is Your Mama a Llama?

Title: Is Your Mama a Llama?

Author: Deborah Guarino

Age: preschool, early elementary

Description: A young llama asks many of his animal friends if their mothers are llamas.

• /l/ words (llama, Lloyd, Lynn, seal, etc.)
• Phonological awareness (rhyming)
• Early narrative
• Early prediction
• Animal vocabulary

Why I like this book: The repetitive nature allows for kiddos to help you read, rhyme, and make “guesses” as to who the baby animal’s mother is. The illustrations are awesome too.

Ideas for use:
• Have your /l/ articulation kiddo “read” the book asking each character, “Is your mama a LLAMA?” (sentence level articulation practice)
• Have your students fill in the rhyming word as you’re reading. If they’re struggling with the word, give them the initial sound. (i.e. You don’t need to go on, I think your mama sounds more like a sssww…..(they fill in swan if possible).
• Retell. Have the children recall the different animals that Lloyd runs into. Encourage temporal markers such as “first, next, then, last…”
• Review the animals in the story. Discuss the similarities and differences among the animals (i.e. swan vs. seal, bat vs. kangaroo, etc.)

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

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Sheep in a Jeep

Sheep in a Jeep

Title: Sheep in a Jeep

Author: Nancy Shaw

Age: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: This story follow some silly sheep whose jeep breaks down.


•Phonological Awareness (rhyming)

•Speech production, “sh”, “j,” s-blends

•Early prediction

•Early narrative- retelling

Grammar (they are)

Why I like this book? The sheep show great body language for kids to interpret, and the story is always a hit given the silly events that take place.

Ideas for use:

•In a small group it’s a great book to act out for collaboration and ideation (i.e. social language group)

•Have kiddos tell the story using their own words.

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP, all4mychild

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