October 22, 2012

"Halloween" Themed Books AND Core Vocabulary!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and it lends itself to so many great activities for speech and language learning and functional communication use. I have been working with several teachers (including my parnter, Kelley) to spread CORE vocabulary into many classrooms, and this week I have found a few books to help me combine these two FUN concepts.
The first story I used came from an OLD book, "Storytime: Holiday Fun" by Pati King-DeBaun (1993). The story I pulled from this book is called "Stirring the Brew". I have had this tool in my "toolbox" since my first year as an SLP (I actually found a note attached from my CF supervisor!--Thanks, Penny!) Unfortunately this book is now out of print, so I couldn't find it to share. I DID find a photo of it online though! Here it is:
The concept of this story is simple and REPETITIVE. Each page turn shows a witch stirring the brew and then adding various items such as cats, ghosts, bats, spider webs, pumpkins and goblins. This would be a fairly easy concept to make on your own. I LOVED this book for TWO reasons. . . 1)It is repetitive and by the 2nd page, even my kiddos with limited verbal skills were singing the carrier phrase "stirring and stirring the brew, P. U!" and 2) There were many opportunities to use the CORE word "in". While I read this story to my students, I also had a "cauldron" that I found on sale at Target (I found it near the traditional "pumpkin" buckets). I had pictures of each item from the story and a spoon for each student. I also had large picture symbols of the core word that I was working on with the students "in" and later we added "out".

I also found a pre-made board from Boardmakershare.com that depicts some images to pair with this story. Visit the link HERE .

Another book I used last week to incorporate CORE vocabulary was the story "Big Pumpkin" by Erica Silverman. Fortunately I was able to find MANY activities online to go with this book.
For this story, we focused on the CORE words "ON" and "OFF". I started by practicing ON and OFF using small objects and large blocks. I also made large picture cards to depict the "symbol" to associate with each word.

I love this story because it is repetitive with carrier phrases and adds a new character to each page. My kids especially loved when I would "change" my voice while reading each page. This story also leant itself to many great questions and vocabulary words, and of course, story elements. For my youngest students, I used picture symbols to help them focus on the the concept "ON". Our carrier phrase was "the (witch) pulled, the pumpkin stayed ON". I also found these awesome links with visuals to add to the story activities!
  • Vocabulary cards HERE
  • Literacy activities, coloring sheets, sequence cards, & craft activities HERE
  • Poem, Story Re-tell, and Book report HERE
  • Boardmaker Story board and picture symbols HERE

The last story that I have used this month to work on CORE vocabulary is "The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything" by Linda Williams.

I love this story for MANY reasons in addition to the CORE vocabulary that is targeted. The carrier phrase that I focused on with core words was "SHE said, I am not afraid of YOU". The anticipation in this book made it very exciting to read and re-tell many times! I created this visual to teach the core words "YOU", "I", "SHE" and "HE", all of which can be used with this book and it's repetitive text.

I also found many other amazing online activities to pair with this story!
  • Literacy, Art, and Circle Time activities HERE
  • Story board and picture symbols HERE
  • Boardmaker Communication Board HERE
This school year, I have added many new students to my caseload and many new students with limited verbal skills and/or poor general intelligibility of speech. My "knee-jerk" response was to GO CORE with more students. If you have not yet gone "CORE", I encourage you to research this topic and you will see some pretty amazing results.

Thank you Gail Van Tatenhove for your amazing work in this area!