{Frenzied SLPs} Summer Speech Therapy Carryover Activities

I'm teaming up with my Frenzied SLP Friends to talk about what to send home with your kids for summer.

A Confession

Can I be honest? I rarely send anything home. I don't send something to every student I see. I will send a packet home if the parent requests it, or if I have concerns about the student losing what skills he had before the break. I find that some of my kids will actually progress over the summer if they just get a break. I think we work so hard on the sound during the year that when their brains get a break from working on it something clicks and they correct it on their own.

Taking the Easy Way Out

For those students who receive a packet, I use LessonPix. Once I get my pictures in the tray, it takes all of about 10-15 minutes to get a packet together.  For those sounds that I made packets for last year, it's just a matter of printing and putting in a folder or big envelope.
Sample of what is included in a homework packet made with LessonPix
If you're not using LessonPix, you're really missing out! It's very affordable (only $36/year) and very user-friendly. The customer service is bar-none. I use it to print out pictures of words my students had trouble with during the session. I can search for the picture during therapy, save it in the tray and make a sheet for them to take home for practice in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. **Please be advised that LessonPix is for personal use only and may not be used for commercial products.**
Need more ideas for summer packets? Visit the links below!

Using Children's Books for Therapy: Story Retell

Retelling stories is listed as a common core standard as early as Kindergarten. With our language disabled students, we can't just jump in, tell a story, and expect the students to turn around and retell the story to us. So where do I start working with this skill?

Learning the Elements

As with the previous posts when I discussed auditory comprehension and articulation, I read the whole book first. I use Story Builder from Super Duper to teach my students the story elements. I explain to them that to tell a story, you have to have each of these elements or else the story won't make sense.
Before I even read a book, I spend some time making sure they know what each element means. Story Builder comes with a script to use to aid in teaching the elements. I used it at first but then came up with my own words and my own way to teach the elements.
Once the students have a decent grasp on each element, I read a book. Even if my students don't have sequencing as a goal, we will go through the sequences of the book since that will help with retell. Again, book companions are a great way to work on this skill.

3-Step Process

I use a "3-step process". Step 1: The students match the story element with the name of the element.
Step 2: The students draw pictures from the story for each element. Pictures are used for each element to give them a visual cue.
  Step 3: Depending on the age, the student can either draw the story element under each name or write the element.
I have the student, no matter which step they're on, take the paper home and go over it with their parent. Most of the books I use can be found on YouTube so the parent will be familiar with it. 

Be Patient

The student is not going to go through the 3 steps overnight. I have some younger students who have not made it past the first step after working on it for a year. I have some students who can go right to step 3. I would suggest beginning with step 1 to make sure that the student understands what each element is. 
The goal is for the student be able to retell a story and create their own story by having the visuals in their head. As we all know, this could translate into writing success. Our language disabled students need as many visuals as they can get, as well as repetition. Taking your time to teach the story elements is definitely of value for your students. 

Knowing Where to Start

I've started using the Test of Narrative Language-2 (Ronald B. Gillam and Nils A. Pearson) to determine exactly where a student is with these skills. That gives me a good idea of what skills the student already has and what to focus on during therapy sessions.
How do you work with this target? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this; leave them in the comments!

Using Children's Books for Therapy: Articulation

Using children's books for language therapy is pretty easy, right? What about articulation? When I first starting using books during therapy (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), I felt like I was "wasting time" with my artic kids. As my therapy evolved, I've tried different things and now I feel pretty good about the time I spend reading a book to those students.

Putting the words in a natural context

I'm guilty of being so wrapped up in getting through those 28 Super Duper cards and getting my data that I overlook the importance of the students knowing what words have their targets. Using books puts the words in contexts so they can identify the words with the target and it makes working on that skill more natural.

When I read a book, I make sure I read extremely slowly while still adding emotion. (You don't want the students to fall asleep while reading!) I also stress the target sounds as much as possible. I've found that there are times when students have no idea what words contain their targets. I think it's important that students be able to identify words with their sounds.

Data...and all I did was read a book!

When I begin a new book, I may do one of three things:
1)  I may have the student count on their fingers how many times they hear their sounds, one page at a time. This takes a little bit of coordination on my part...I have to be able to count the sounds without letting them know I'm counting. (It gets a little hairy when I have 2 or more students working on different sounds.) Sometimes I'll make a game out of it: I will have the students count; whoever has the correct number gets a point. If no one has the right number, I get a point. The one with the most points is the winner. Following each page, I'll re-read the page and we'll count together. This reinforces the words they counted or didn't count.
2) I'll read the whole book with the target sounds emphasized. I'll give the student a sheet and he will make a mark each time he hears his sound. At the end of the book, I'll count how many he had. Then I'll tell him how many he should have had. This requires counting the sounds prior to the session. I put the sound along with the number on a sticky note & place it on the front cover of the book.
Click on the picture for a bigger view.
I use a very simple form. There are 25 boxes/line with 4 lines so it's quick & easy to count the tallies. Just in case the book has more than 100 words for a sound, I put another slightly separate 100 boxes just below the first 100.  After the book has been read, I write how many words they counted over how many there actually are. Then a quick tap on the calculator & I have something to put in for data for that day. And all I did was a read a book!!!
To download your own copy, click here.
3) During 5 minute days, instead of using auditory bombardment for the listening station, I will record the book on my iPad. (I use the free QuickVoice app) When the student is at the listening station, he listens for words with his sound in the book. The books have to meet very specific criteria: they can't take more than 5 minutes to read, so the listening works perfectly into the listening station.

The quick & easy way to plan...

I love using book companions (I happen to have quite a few in my TpT store!) because the planning is so easy. I always play a game, whether it is a competitive or cooperative game, and I always have homework. Do you have to have a book companion? Absolutely not. Before there was such a thing as book companions or TpT I would choose a game that had roughly the same theme as the book. I would do the same thing with homework. But...having book companions is a really quick way to pull what I need. Most weeks all I have to do is pull out the companion, make copies for the homework, and I'm all set.

Let the carry-over begin!

I used to get all stressed out if I didn't finish activities for a book in a week, but I'm beginning to realize that it's better to take things slow and really let the book sink in. Let the words that contain the students' target sounds sink in and allow that carry-over to occur. And I've realized that if it takes one group longer than others, it's really okay. That's where the book companions come in handy...I can stay on a book longer with a group and then go ahead and start on another book or another activity with other groups.

If you aren't using books during articulation therapy, now is the right time to start! It makes therapy sessions fun and in my opinion more meaningful to the student. If you already use books I hope this post will give you an idea or two to use.
I'm always open to new ideas, so if you have any leave a comment or email me!

Using Children's Books During Therapy: Auditory Comprehension

Shown: Dinosaurs Love Underpants (Claire Freedman and Ben Cort)
Do you want to use children's books during therapy but aren't sure of how to start? Or, do you use books but want new ideas? Here's a run-down of how I use books to target auditory comprehension and how I keep data.
Read the book all the way through. Then, go back and re-read, asking the students comprehension questions as you read. I have some students who are on the "line/sentence" level and some who are on the whole book level. For the students on the "line/sentence" level, I read a line/sentence that contains the answer, then ask the question. If they answer correctly, tally. If they don't, I re-read the line/sentence and emphasize the answer. If it's correct: "R", if not, I will either direct them to look at the picture on the page or give them a choice of 2 pictures to answer. If correct, "C", if not, dash. I use this data collection system on all levels of comprehension. My data for a session may look something like this:
///R/   /C//-
This is my personal preference: Once the student achieves an average of 80% accuracy, I will move on to reading a page and then asking the comprehension questions for that page. Again, I use the same data collection system as before. For my readers, if the answer is not correct we will look back at the content of the page for the correct answer. 
Again, once the student achieves an average of 80%, I move on to reading the whole book, using the same data collection system. And, as in the page level, if the answer is not correct we will look for the correct answer in the book. 
To keep track of data, I came up with a form:
You can download a copy of the form by clicking here.
Since I keep my data through Google Forms, I thought it would be easier to just make the form on Google Sheets. An added plus to putting the data on a Sheet is that it averages for me! In the picture below, you can see where I averaged the student's performance after we finished each book. The average is in green.
Made with Google Sheets
Our language impaired students require repetition, repetition, repetition. I used to use a book for 1 week and then move on to another book. I found that after just 1 reading of the book, most of my students weren't "getting it". Now I spend 2-4 weeks on a book. I take things slower and make sure the students know the book inside and out before moving on. I was a little concerned that there might be some boredom on their part, but with different activities centered around the theme of the book alleviates the boredom. 
To make sure the questions are the same, I use comprehension questions included in book companions. (I just happen to have some in my TpT store!) That way, I'm not comparing apples to oranges when I'm taking data. Yes, they've heard the questions before and the answers have been discussed, but isn't that what our LI kids need?
How does this compare to how you work on auditory comprehension and "wh" questions? I'd love to hear from you and get ideas, so leave comments below!

Jumping on the Disc Bandwagon

I saw a Facebook Post where someone  posted a YouTube clip about using disc notebooks. I thought I had a great idea to use the disc system for my therapy notebook, but then a friend mentioned she used it for her data notebook and I knew that was where the idea originally came from!
This is my notebook at the beginning of the year:

I used this notebook to keep attendance records, individual data sheets, as well as any other loose paper I wanted to file at the end of the year. I also had a plastic folder where I kept the labels that I use for data collection.
This is the notebook and the folder I used to use.
My idea was that I could combine those 2 into just 1 folder using the disc system.

I did a little bit of research and decided to use the Arc system from Staples. My main reason was that another brand was quite a bit more expensive and didn’t appear to be a much better quality than the Arc. I ordered the punch and a couple packages of 1 ½ inch discs from Amazon then waited for everything to come in. The punch was the last thing to arrive and it actually came to my house a few days before I expected it.
My therapy notebook now:

I researched and ordered during Spring Break, so I was excited to get to school that Monday and see how it would all come together. I almost went by the school after my punch came in to get a jump on it, but I held back.
I used pieces of cardstock paper to divide my sessions and used tabs to write the time of each session. The tabs are reusable, which I found out when I put one in the wrong place and thought I had to take it off to fix it. I forgot that I can very easily take the cardstock out and move it where I wanted it. (Creature of habit!) I wrote on the tabs because you can’t run them through the printer. I suppose I could have made labels for them with a label maker to make them look nicer, but I’m the only one who sees them so it really doesn’t matter.

Cardstock dividers with labels
I took the plastic folders that I previously used to hold my data labels, trimmed them down to a regular sized paper, and punched holes at the top of them. I put one side of the trimmed folder in the back of the notebook to keep some loose papers. Even though the holes are now at the top instead of the side, the papers are staying in the folder.

The paper shown is from Small Talk SLP's Apraxia: Sound Blending in Syllables.
Now I have all of the students' papers in 1 notebook. It's not bulky at all. I could take the label sheet out for each therapy session, but I haven't needed to. I just keep it in the notebook and take my data. One nice thing about this system is that the notebook doesn't have to be open for me to take the data, I just flip the pages to the current session's data sheet.
I keep each student's individual data in the notebook. When the sheet of labels is full, I transfer the labels to each student's individual sheet.


Attendance sheets are kept in the same notebook.

Progress charts are also in the notebook.
As you can see, I have quite a bit in the notebook! As I complete each session, I just flip over to the next session and the datasheet is on top. It's not too bulky to be uncomfortable, and I'm not switching from one book to the other at the end of the day to complete attendance.
Comparison of the sizes of my old notebook (left) vs. the new (right).
There are some really cute covers out there that are available for purchase, but the rings are on the side. The lady in the video suggested using plastic placemats from the dollar store, so I tried them and it works! The only drawback to buying covers/pages that have already been punched is that I’m a lefty. That comes with its own challenges, but since I punched the tops of the pages the discs are on the top and aren’t in my way when I write. Hopefully, the disc companies will catch on to this and will begin to offer more in the way of top-loading items, especially with covers.

How about you? Are on the disc bandwagon with your planner, data notebook, or something else? Comment below...I'm always looking for some great ideas! 
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