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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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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Carl's bday

Carl’s Birthday

Title: Carl’s Birthday

Author: Alexandra Day

Description: A mother tries to surprise Carl her dog with a surprise party. However, Carl and Madeline ,the little girl, find out on their adventure through the house.


  • Narrative / Retelling  (Wordless book)
  • Speech production /k/ (Carl, cake, coat, collar)
  • Why questions
  • Perspective taking
  • Verbs

Why I like this book: A beautifully illustrated wordless book that works well across ages. I keep finding new ways to use it, and kids love it. If you’re a dog lover, the book is even more appealing.
I look forward to reviewing more of the series.

Ideas for use:

  • Given it’s a wordless book, it’s a great book for overall expressive language. Take turns on each page being the “author.” Focus on any number of language goals: subject + verb + object, causal, sub- verb agreement, etc.
  • Great for retelling. Incorporate “first, next, then, etc.”
  • Use for speech production, especially “fronting.”  “Carl goes…..” is a great repetative phrase to work on. Additonally there are other opportunities including “cake, kids, coat, collar, etc.”
  • Why questions: Have kiddos figure out Why is mommy cleaning up? Why are Carl and Madeline hiding under the table?” etc. Use the illustrations to help them generate their own answers.
  • Good for basic perspective taking. The mommy doesn’t know that Carl and Madeline are in the house? Why? Why don’t they want her to know they are there? Use cut out bubble thoughts to help with this concept.
  • Great for basic verbs as Carl and Madeline do many activities (run, eat, drink, play, hide, etc.). Easy to incorporate “he/she/they” as well.

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

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