For those of us working in the schools, we have about a two-week break where we won’t see our students. That is a very long time to go without any speech and language therapy! So, what can we do about it? I’m not suggesting working during break, but I am suggesting we find a way to fill in the gap between sessions. The purpose of this post is to identify winter themed activities to use during speech and language therapy that families can continue at home throughout break. This promotes generalization of speech and language skills across all settings, which is the ultimate goal!
Some of my favorite winter themes are snow and gingerbread people/houses. These themes are something that anyone can relate to (Well maybe not snow if they live near the beach like me!). It also does not involve Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc. which is important for a lot of families. So, let’s talk about snowmen…
Start off by finding a book (or books) that feature a snowman! I have found that books are something that captures all of my student’s attention and can be easily adapted to a variety of goals whether that is working on describing, producing the /s/ sound, answering questions, etc. One book I suggest is How to Catch a Snowman by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton. I love the How to Catch a… book series! This book is winter themed and does not discuss a specific holiday. Another popular book is Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright.
Once you have a book (or two) picked out, it’s time to plan for your sessions. Below are some ways you can adapt books to target different speech and language goals throughout your session.
- Students listen for words with their speech sound (choose one target)
- As you read the book, they can raise their hand when they hear a word with their sound and say the word 5-10 times
- They can write down the word that has their sound in it while you read and at the end of the book, they practice saying all of the words 5-10 times
- Describe the pictures using their fluency strategies
- Talk about the different traps and if they worked or not using their fluency strategies
- Retell the story using their fluency strategies
- Say what their favorite part of the book was using their fluency strategies
- Answer questions after 1-2 pages or at the end of the book
- Describe items throughout the story
- Create sentences with verbs and change them to past tense
- Label or identify vocabulary
- Label pronouns
- Formulate sentences with appropriate grammar (pronoun, verbs, plurals, etc.)
If you need a little help adapting a book to target different goals, there are a few FREE resources to use along with the book How to Catch a Snowman and Sneezy the Snowman on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Now let’s talk about activities to send home with our students!
Here are two free activities I found that you can send home with your students to continue the snowman theme over break!1. Blank snowman outline
2. Design a trap worksheet
*You can also send a read-aloud link to a snowman themed book!
Below you will see different ways you can adapt these activities for different goals.
For students working on articulation, send a list of winter themed words home! Here are a few examples of /s/ blends and /k/.
S Blends: K:
For students working on language, teach families how to…
- Withhold items during the snowman craft to encourage their children to request for items
- Choose items throughout the story to describe or encourage them to describe what they are drawing/coloring
- OR send a list of items to describe based on the activity
- Ask open ended questions
- OR send them a list of questions to ask based on the activity you are sending
For students working on fluency, teach families how to…
- Model different fluency strategies (e.g. easy onset, phrasing, pausing, etc.) to use while listening to the read aloud, creating a snowman, or designing a trap to catch the snowman
- Respond appropriately if their child begins to stutter (this is so important!!)
I always welcome families to send the work back to school so I can see what they do at home, but I don’t require it. I’ve found that my students love to share what they do at home, so why not review it with them! These are a few simple ways to fill in the gap between sessions and promote generalization of skills throughout winter break. Together, let's fill in that gap!
Author: Courtney Rockhill M.Ed., CCC-SLP