Thursday, January 31, 2013

Twister: a MUST HAVE for Speech Therapy!

When Busy Bee Speech asked me to guest blog about one of the things I have in my "bag of tricks" to work with PKers, one of my very favorite games came to mind. OFTEN in speech therapy for PK kiddos (and even some early elementary age kiddos) I use the game Twister and add my own...well twists!

Head on over to Busy Bee Speech's blog post today to find out how I do that!

Let me know what you think?  Comment below!

Happy Talking!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

REMEMBER Tip Tuesdays and Freebie Fridays!

Don't forget starting next month (yes I mean in 2 days) I will begin my Tip Tuesday and Freebie Friday blogging series!  Do you have some therapy tips or educational info you want to share, or a freebie you want featured? If so, contact me at  

Enjoy and don't forget to check out C-Stations very first Freebie Friday feature this Friday!!!

Happy Talking!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shaving cream play...a great way to facilitate language!

During the summer, I had a playgroup at my house and it was ALL about sensory fun!  We had shaving cream EVERYWHERE... our sensory table with some cars... an infant wading pool with some foam blocks...
(As you can see we had some pirates and Frankenstein grace us with their presence at this play date!)

...even in some Tupperware with paintbrushes so the kids could paint on my windows (which of course meant they needed water squirters to clean it off and do it again!!!).  

And oh the wonderful language that was used that day to describe what they were doing, what they were making, and how they were doing it!  

So you all know what this means for my clients don't you?  Some lucky parent will be washing some shaving cream off of their child soon enough...once the weather gets nice again and we can spend some quality time outside!

I have a sneaky suspicion that sensory table with saving cream and cars will show up again...maybe with some laminated stimulus cards hidden in it!  Hmmmm....who knows what else this old brain will think of!  I guess you'll just have to wait and find out come spring and summer.  I'll keep you posted. :)

P.S.  This is what my bathroom looked like that night after cleaning the shaving cream off of ALL the foam blocks!  SO WORTH IT!

Happy Talking!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Heart Therapy L Game!

Here is the last articulation packet I have made for the Valentine's fun we will be having in a few weeks!  

This packet contains 6 pages of L cards (initial, medial, and final word position) and 1 page of heart game cards.

Check out some of the pages of this packet below.

Want your copy?  Grab it at the bottom of this blog.

Grab your FREEBIE below:

Enjoy and happy talking!!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Heart Therapy TH Game!

Here is the second articulation packet I've been working on for my kiddos for speech.  So you of course get this one as well!

This packet includes 11 pages of voiced and voiceless /th/ articulation cards for all word positions (initial, medial, final) and 1 page of heart game cards.

As voiced /th/ in the initial word position are various versions of "this, that, these, those, them, they, there" I have only made one page of these words for practice.

For the less common final voiced /th/ words I added a very brief definition below the word so the children who use this packet will understand what the word means and why I chose the accompanying picture.

Here are some examples below.

Grab your FREEBIE at the bottom of this blog!

Want your copy?  Grab it below:

Enjoy and Happy Talking!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Heart Therapy R Game!

I have been working on some fun Valentine's materials I am going to use for therapy this February so you know what that get to use them too!  

This is the first of my St. Valentine's Day Articulation packets.  This one is focused on the production of initial and vocalic /r/.  This packet includes 14 pages of stimulus pictures and some heart game cards as well.

Check out some of the pages below and grab your FREE copy of this game at the bottom of this blog!

Want your FREE copy?  Click the link below:

Enjoy and happy talking!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fourth Grade Flipper is having an AWESOME giveaway!!!!

Fourth Grade Flipper is having an AMAZING giveaway with prizes from 19 participating  bloggers!  You can even win $20 worth of educational resources!!!! You only have two more days to enter.  So click on the picture in this blog and it will take you to Fourth Grade Flipper's blog so you can enter in one of their two raffelcopter entry widgets!!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Crocodile Dentist!

A few months ago I found this great little game at a Thrift store for $4 and took a chance on it!  I'm so glad I did!!!

Crocodile Dentist is a simple game where children can take turns pushing down the crocodile's teeth.  One tooth will be the trigger for the spring and when that tooth is pushed the crocodile "snaps" shut!

Advantages to using this game:

1.  Crocodile does NOT touch the child's finger when it snaps shut so no chance of getting hurt.
2.  The trigger tooth resets with each game so it is not the same tooth each time.
3.  This game is spring loaded so NO BATTERIES NEEDED!!!
4.  This game is SUPER QUICK so you can get a TON of practice and keep the kiddos engaged while playing game after game to see "who gets eaten".
5.  Great fun for PK and early elementary grades (also great for older kiddos who are functioning at a low cognitive level-great cause and effect game).
6.  Fosters simple social skills-taking turns, using encouraging words during play, good sportsmanship etc.
7.  You can use this game for ANY goals/targets!

I really like this simple game.  I've used it several times since I've purchased it and my kids LOVE it!  If you ever find it on sale or at a Thrift store, I highly recommend buying it!

Happy Talking!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Its an new year!  Time for a change.  In an effort to stick to my new year's resolutions AND keep this blog more organized and on target with my professional and personal goals I am going to make a few simple changes.

Beginning in February, you will see my "Tip Tuesday" blog series in which I will post tips I or others have learned over the years, educational information,  and parent/educator friendly information about our field.  If you are an SLP, parent or educator who wants to share tips with others, feel free to contact me at and submit your tip!  You just might see it featured on one of my Tip Tuesdays!

I truly believe that sharing great ideas and materials will only enhance our the understanding and growth of our field.  Therefore, I will also begin my "Freebie Fridays" blog series, which will feature a free material I have created or one I have found earlier in the week that I especially would like to highlight.  So, if you are a blogger, an SLP, parent or educator and would like to have a freebie you created featured on a Freebie Friday, please contact me via email.  Be sure to include pictures and a link to your blog post or material. This can be something you just created or an old freebie you want to highlight again. Email me at  Please DO NOT contact me with materials or products you want to sell.

Let me know what you think.  Comment below.

Chevron Borders from:  
Frog Spot Blog From the Pond

Monday, January 7, 2013

Articulation Tip: Simple cues for the "S" sound

Difficulty producing the "S" sound is a typical parental concern.  It is not uncommon for children to use interdental placement (i.e. tongue between the front teeth) to produce the "s" and "z" sounds.  The question many parents have is "How do I get my child to make the "s" sound correctly?"

Today I will share with you my the very simple tried and true cues I have used over the years for children who appear to be typically developing in all other areas of development, (cognition, communication and articulation with the exception of "s" and "z" production).  Note: If your child has multiple sound substitutions and does not demonstrate the ability to model correct productions of sounds please contact a licensed speech-language pathologist for more assistance.

3 simple steps to producing the "s" sound

1. Determine if your child is a "Tipper" or "Dipper":
      We can produce the "s" sound two ways.  The first is by raising our tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge (i.e. the "bump" on the roof of our mouth immediately behind our top front two teeth) and expelling the air.  This is called the "Tipper" technique.  The other way we can produce "s" is by dipping our tongue tip down immediately behind our bottom two front teeth and expelling air.  This is known as the "dipper" technique.

So I have the child attempt the production of "s" with their teeth closed and ask them where their tongue is touching:  "the bump on the roof of their mouth or just behind their bottom two front teeth".  Once I know which way the child can imitate the sound in isolation I move the to next step. 

2.  Explain the placement of articulators:
     Then I explain how one's articulators in their mouth should be to produce the "s" sound based on if they are a tipper or dipper.

For tippers:
Our teeth are closed, lips are open and retracted slightly (small smile), tongue tip is barely touching our "bump on the roof of our mouth" and the air "slides" out of our mouth.

For dippers:
Our teeth are closed, lips are open and retracted slightly (small smile), tongue tip is barely touching just behind the bottom two front teeth and the air "slides" out of our mouth.

We practice this several times using a mirror and ultimately when the child can explain to me what their mouths are doing, then I know they can control their articulators and we can move on to the next step!

3.  Keep the snake in the cage:
     I explain that the "s" sound is the "snake sound" (making the "s" while moving my hand in a slithering motion).  Our tonuge is the "snake".  Our teeth make the cage.  So it is our job to "keep our snake in the cage" (which means keeping our tongue behind our teeth) when we make the snake sound.

Then it's practice time.  I like to start with "s" in the final word position (at the ends of words) and/or "s" blends (because most children are better at producing initial "s" in a blend then a singleton) and use our hand cue (slithering snake) while keeping our "snake in the cage" when we say the "s" sound in each word.  Eventually after much practice I move the initial (singleton "s") and then medial "s".

Do you have other cues that work for you?  Comment below!

NOTE:  Once "s" is obtained, it is a quick easy jump to correct production of "z" by "turning on our voice when we make the "s" sound"! 

Looking for some "s" words to practice?  Check out these links below:

Mommy Speech Therapy worksheets page (scroll down to "S" and "S" blends and click to find links to initial, medial, final /s/ in words, sentences and stories!)

Adventures in Speech Pathology Articulation Game Boards (great website for gameboards to practice these sounds)

Enjoy and happy talking!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Reading Roundup Linky Party with Pitner's Potpourri

Pitner's Potpourri is having a Reading Roundup linky party.  Since I LOVE anything that has to do with reading I thought I'd take part in this linkup and share what is next on my reading list as well as check out what others are reading.  

The rules: share one professional book you want to read, one book you want to read strictly for pleasure, and one you want to use to teach a skill in your classroom. These are books you haven't read yet but are on your To Read List! 

Remember to add the reading roundup button and a link back to Pitner's Potourri to give credit to the original source.

Ok so here is my To Read List:

Professional Book:

Think Social! (Book and CD)Think Social By Michelle Garcia Winner  I hear so many great things about this book and Winner in general.  I have been wanting to order this book and buy it for some time now.  I need to just do it!

Personal Book: 

I have two that I really want to read right now:

The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.1.)  The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland (a historical fiction book written in diary format about Josephine Bonaparte)

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag: A Memoir of a Life Through Events--the Ones You Plan and the Ones You Don't2.)  I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert  This is a memoir of true events of the authors life...some very tragic and some wonderful...and how she survived to tell the tale.

Book to use in Therapy:

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?Have you filled a Bucket today?  by Carol MCcloud

This is a great book to teach children about caring for others, being kind, and even a great way to teach theory of mind to some of our kiddos who struggle with social skills.  REALLY want to use it in therapy....and I CAN'T wait for the perfect time!!!!  (most schools are now using this as part of their anti-bullying programs but I think it will also be perfect to teach social skills).

That's my list.  What is yours?

Happy talking...and reading!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Top 10 Favorite Songs for Early Language Learning!

As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I feel music, singing songs and finger plays are a very important part of communication as these activities improve auditory processing and comprehension skills while teaching language, prosody, turn taking and so much more!  So I thought I'd share with you my Top 10 favorite songs and explain why I love them.  Remember...let your child set the pace (go as fast or slow as he/she needs). (Note: this list is in no particular order)

1.  Old McDonald:  Who doesn't love this song?  It teaches children about animal identification, animal sounds, it's repetitive AND we can practice long vowels (E, I, O)...a great repetitive activity for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).

2.  Apples and Bananas:  EVERY Speech-Language Pathologist LOVES this song!  It's repetitive and is so so so great to teach long vowel sounds, which is great for articulation deficits and children with CAS.  Plus, it's so fun to make up silly words!!!

3. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes:  A great song for introducing some body parts.  I like to sing it using all the words with younger children, but as they get older, I like to sing it all the way through with words than start to add "humming" for various body parts and have them fill in the body part name as we touch that body part.  Listen for word recall and use of a similar pitch.  Your child doesn't have to be on key, but if the song's pitch is going up, so should your child's.  This is an indicator that he/she is hearing the pitch change and able to imitate after you.

4. If You're Happy and You Know It:  I love this song because you can sing all the verses and talk about what it looks like to be happy, sad, tired, mad.  Great for teaching what emotions look like.

5.  5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (or any of the counting songs):  Fun song about those silly monkeys that never seem to learn that they can get hurt by jumping on the bed.  Great for counting and early math concepts; repetitive which is wonderful for recall and teaching vocabulary.

6.  The Wheels on the Bus:  who doesn't love wheels on the bus?  It so great for acting out verbs and describing parts of a whole (a.k.a. parts of the bus); its repetitive and keeps children engaged from the beginning to end.  

7. Hokey Pokey:  Great song for teaching body parts and introducing the very hard concept of "left vs. right".  Plus, its so much fun to "turn your self around" and really..."that's what its all about"!

8.  Goin' on a Bear Hunt:  I love this song because it lends itself to teaching children to follow directions, making sounds for objects, and attaching sounds to body movements.  It's a wonderful song for sequencing (forward and backward) the parts of the song.

9.  There's a Spider on the Floor:  this song is great for teaching location, following directions, body parts, and of course rhyming.  Its so much for kids to put a spider ring on their fingers and act out this song.  This song is one of my favorites to do just before Halloween!

10.  There's a Whole in My Bucket:  I like to use this song to teach problem solving skills.  I sing the "Henry" part and I ask my students what can I do to solve each problem in the song.  Once we come up with a solution (which may not be the exact words of the song but if its a logical solution I accept it) we sing it together.  I also like this song for teaching humor.

There's my list!  What songs do you love to use for early language learning?  Please share!

Happy talking, singing, and learning!
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