Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Taking some time!!!

Hello my committed followers!  You may notice that this week I will not have any new posts.  Why you ask?  Well...my family and I are on vacation at Disney World!!!!

We are so excited and happy to be able to surprise our son with this trip AND visit my husband's family while we are there!

So this means no new posts this week BUT, keep your eyes peeled b/c next week we will be back and maybe I'll share some family fun photos with you!

Have a wonderful week with your family!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Freebie Friday: Sound Off! The Train is Coming: A phonological awareness game

Here is another phonological awareness game I made with these cute train graphics from ReviDevi that I found on mygraphico.com.  Super cute and great for my kiddos working on listening for their target sounds in various words! 

Also these phonological awareness activities have really helped my kiddos who use phonological processes become more aware of sounds in various positions in each word.

So that's it!  Enjoy this activity! 

Grab your free copy here!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Tip Tuesday: My Top 10 Books for Early Language Learning!

I LOVE books so much, this was a difficult blog to write.  But here is a list of my Top 10 Early Language Learning Books (in no particular order(pictures in this blog are courtesy of Amazon.com unless otherwise specified)):

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

1.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle:  I love using this book to introduce and teach animals, colors, sequencing, and rhyming. 

Product Image
2.  The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown:  This is a wonderful farm themed book.  It talks about numerous animals of varying sizes, their sounds, where they live, what they do.  It has wonderful rhymes and rhythms.

Moo Baa La La La

3.  Boo, Ma, La, La, La and/or The Going to Bed Book, both by Sandra Boynton:  I LOVE all of her books!  She has a great sense of what is auditorally and visually pleasing to very young children.  Great rhyming and rhythm and cute illustrations.

4.  5 Little Monkeys (Pumkins, Ducklings, etc.) (all by various authors):  Any of these early counting books are so great for early math concepts.  They are catchy and fun to add some finger plays with them and are repetitive. (picture courtesy of: www.centerusd.k12.ca.us)
My Many Colored Days

5.  My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss:  I LOVE this book so, so much because in is a great early language book that talks about emotions and associates colors with emotions!  Its a great way to visually introduce feelings to young children.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Board Books)6.Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Dr. Seuss:  This book has GREAT rhyming and a wonderful rhythm.  This is a great early phonological awareness book and the illustrations are entertaining and fun...and super fun to act out with musical instruments (homemade or real).  P.S. It was one of my favorites as a child too!!! :)

7.  I Spy Toddler Book Series!:  I have a post coming about why I LOVE these books so much but I still have to add them to my list of top 10 b/c I use them so often and love them so much!  Want to know why I love this series so much?  Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming post on the "I spy" books!!!

8.  Picture books:  Any picture books are GREAT for facilitating a language sample, assessing child's ability to use picture cues to narrate a story, make inferences and predictions and retell a story!

<em>My First Word Book</em>: Pictures and <em>Words</em> to Start Toddlers Reading [ ...9.  My first words books:  There are many different kinds of these books published by different companies.  But they are so great for early vocabulary development.  Many times these books are organized by categories of objects (so you have a page of "foods, clothing, transportation, farm animals, jungle animals", etc.) and is a GREAT way to facilitate semantic organization (i.e. organization of vocabulary words) by categories.

The <em>Very Hungry Caterpillar</em> [<em>Book</em>]

10.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar:  I know I already have an Eric Carle book on this list but I had to add this one as well because I using this book many times as a child's first science book!  Science?  Yes, I said science!  This book is so great in that it is repetitive, has tons of pictures to label, introduces days of the week...BUT the BEST part of this book is the last few pages that explain the cocoon the caterpillar makes and stays in for 2 weeks before he pops out as....you guessed it...a butterfly!


 Honorable Mention:  Pete the Cat (book series):  I love the Pete the Cat book series.  Every book has a song that goes with it and they focus on early concepts (colors, numbers, going to school, etc.).  It also has a nice element to teach coping strategies in each book (Pete's feathers never get ruffled when things go wrong; rather he loves to say "It's all good!" and he keeps moving forward).  This is my honorable mention, NOT because I like these books any less but b/c these books are really appropriate for those PK age kiddos rather than the Birth-3 years that we've been focusing on BUT they are just so so good that your younger kids will love to listen the you reading and singing their songs too!  (picture courtsey:  iwema.edublogs.org )

So that's it for my list!  What are your favorite books for early language learning?  I bet those of you that are parents and teachers out there have a TON of favorites!  Please share!

And as always, happy talking!

Friday, June 14, 2013

FREEBIE Friday: Summer Reading Packet!

This week I've been talking all about summer reading so I thought it would be fun to make some summer reading materials for your kiddos to use to track the books they are currently reading and the ones that have already read.  So check out my packet below!

Here are a few signs your children can use to hang on their bedroom doors and let you know what books they are currently reading.  If you laminate or place in plastic protector and use erasable markers, your children will only need to use on sign all summer!

 I made a cute zebra and purple one for girls, a green paw print one for boys and an orange sign for girls or boys!

I added this page so you and your child can track each book as they are read.  Just write the book name the crayon.  If you child reads more than ten books, just print off another sheet to continue keeping track!

At the end of the summer you can celebrate your child's reading achievements by giving him/her a certificate for reading.  What a celebration it could be!!!!

I hope you take advantage of these summer months to snuggle up with your kiddos and read!  Do you have a plan to celebrate summer reading?  Please share below.

Enjoy and Happy talking...and reading!
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tip Tuesday! Summer reading programs!

There is so much research out there that supports the need to "read" to and with your children over the summer months to ensure that they maintain their current reading level and can even aid in improving their reading skills even before that bus shows up at your doorstep in the fall.  So my question is...what are you doing this summer to support your child's reading?

The love of reading is huge in my house.  One of my favorite places to go is the library.  Don't you love that smell of books, new and old, displayed from ceiling to floor when you walk through those library doors? I know I do!

I think my love of reading was instilled in me at a very young age.  Did I ever tell you I come from a large family?  I have 7 brothers and sisters.  Yep that's right...there were 8 children in my family and my mother carted us all everywhere she went in our awesome station wagon.  There was no such thing as SUVs back then and a minivan was just a dream for us.  So we all piled in the station wagon, and off we went every week to story time during the summer months.  My mom would bring tote bags for all the books we would eventually check out.  One thing my mother never did was limit the number or types of books we could get.  If they book ended up being too difficult for us to read, well we either muddled through, asked a sibling for help, or got an easier book the next week.  And so began my LOVE-LOVE relationship with reading.

I have taken a page out of my mother's book (no pun intended) with my own son.  I've been reading to him since the first day he was born (although I will admit to reading speech therapy journal articles a time or two when he was in utero...who knows...maybe he'll become an SLP one day!  I can only hope :)).  We have shelves upon shelves of books in this house, in my son's bedroom he has his own book shelf, and in my living room I do have two baskets of books always readily available for him when he so chooses.  I change out my books every few months as my son is a child who tends to read the same books over and over again until he is bored with them.  I just take my cue from him and change up his books when he is no longer interested in them.

We also LOVE to go to the library!  Although, story time isn't the greatest where we live I still take my son to the library regularly so we can check out new books.  He very much LOVES when he gets to carry his "new" books home and we love to snuggle up on the couch and read.

But my favorite time of year at the library is the summer time because of all the cool summer programs libraries' provide for children these days!  My son and I are participating in the child's summer reading program where you must read at least 10 mins a day (no problem!) to or with your child.  You document your reading and each week or every so many weeks you can come back to the library to "win" a prize for each week you read!

This is what my son's reading log for the summer program looks like.  He must color in one object everyday he  reads at least 10 minutes with me.  Of course you can see he wanted to color in the dump trucks after the shovels, so I guess the little groundhogs will have to wait!  Ha!  What a silly kid!!!

In addition to their summer reading program, and story time, our library is also providing free child programs in the library focusing on all types of topics from recycling, to earth and rocks, burrowing and zoo animals, music, to scavenger hunts, and the list goes on.  They also offer free child friendly movies weekly AND they have a listening center for children!  All FREE for parents and children to enjoy!!!

What is your library offering this summer?  Do you know?  I hope you get to take advantage of the wonderful programs that are being offered.  Your child will most definitely benefit and you just might learn some new things too!!!

Happy talking and reading!!!
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Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Summer 2013 Reading List!

Busy Bee Speech posted her summer reading list last week (you can find her post here).  As you all know I am a BIG fan of reading and LOVE summer because of all the reading I usually get to enjoy.  I loved Lauren's post so much that I decided to share my own summer reading list!

Keep in mind all of these books on my list are for pure enjoyment!!!  I do have a few professional books I am reading but this post is about the fun books I am looking forward to reading this summer.  So...here goes nothing:

1.  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty:  My book club is reading this book this month and will be discussing it the beginning of July so its my number one book on my list!

Synopsis from Amazon.com:  Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

2.  The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory:  This was one of my book club books a few months ago that I didn't get a chance to read as I was unable to attend book club that night.  But I have it waiting in on my nightstand for me to crack it open.  If you LOVE reading about the Tudors and you LOVE historical fiction...you'll LOVE Phillipa Gregory.  She's so great!

Synopsis from Amazon.com:  A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.
Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

3.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:  This is a young adult book that seems just creepy enough to keep my attention.  Hmmm....we'll see!

Synopsis from Amazon.com: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

4.  Divergent by Veronica Roth:  This is the first book in Roth's trilogy and I'm hoping that if I like book #1 I'll read all three.  It has the same feel as Hunger Games but I haven't read it yet so the jury is still out.

Synopsis from Amazon.com:  In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

5. 6. 7.  10th Anniversary, 11th Hour, and 12th of Never by James Patterson:  I have been a fan of the Women's Murder Club series for years but since my move last year I have become sadly very far behind and I have 3 books to catch up on!!! I won't put each synopsis below but you can click on their pictures to read more about each book


8.  Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans:  I love all of Richard Paul Evans books and this series is no exception!  This is book number 2 of the series but I am looking forward to continuing the journey with Alan.

Synopsis from Amazon.com: Alan Christoffersen, a once-successful advertising executive, wakes one morning to find himself injured, alone, and confined to a hospital bed in Spokane, Washington. Sixteen days earlier, reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan left everything he knew behind and set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey. Carrying only a backpack, he planned to walk to Key West, the farthest destination on his map. But a vicious roadside stabbing has interrupted Alan's trek and robbed him of his one source of solace: the ability to walk. Homeless and facing months of difficult recovery, Alan has nowhere to turn 'until a mysterious woman enters his life and invites him into her home. Generous and kind, Angel seems almost too good to be true, but all is not as it appears. Alan soon realizes that before he can return to his own journey, he must first help Angel with hers. From one of America's most beloved and bestselling storytellers comes an astonishing tale of life and death, love and second chances, and why sometimes the best way to heal your own suffering is by helping to heal someone else's. Inspiring, moving, and full of wisdom, Miles to Go picks up where the bestseller The Walk left off, continuing the unforgettable series about one man's unrelenting search for hope.

9.  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn:  I have read Flynn's Sharp Objects and Gone Girl novels and they are fantastic psychological thriller/mysteries.  They are dark at times but I very much love the twists and turns in her books.  And yes, her books are the kind of books that stick with you for days after reading them.

Synopsis from Amazon.com:    I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her. 

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

10.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:  I know it's cliche' but I don't care...Pride and Preducide is my favorite book of all time!  I have it on book format, on my kindle and on my kindle app on my phone and guess what?  I've started reading it all over again!  I can't help it.  I just love it so much!!!  In fact, I love anything by Jane Austen but NOTHING beats Pride and Prejudice in my opinion! :)

Synopsis from Amazon.com:  In one of the most universally loved and admired English novels, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. Jane Austen's art transformed this effervescent tale of rural romance into a witty, shrewdly observed satire of English country life. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

A few more classics I have on my Kindle already that I have yet to read but are on my list....(I know what you are thinking...how have I gone all my life without reading these classics?  I know, I know...no judgments please.  At least they are on my list, right?!):



Ok so that is my list! Maybe a bit ambitious but I like to have tons of options!  And all of these books look so so so good!!!!  As I said, I love me some summer reading :)

So what are some of the books on your summer reading list?  Please share!  I'm always looking for good books to read!!!

Enjoy and happy talking...and of course, reading!

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Friday, June 7, 2013

FREEBIE Friday! Ladybug Count: A Reinforcer Game

I made this activity for my son and I thought how easily I could incorporate this into therapy for my PK kids and even early elementary kiddos (simply by working on adding and subtracting) as a reinforcer game for any speech and language goals.  So I thought, if I'm going to use it, maybe you could use it too.  Enjoy!

Grab your free copy here!

Happy Talking!

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