(Speech) sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’?
Off the shelves, books are openin’
A beautiful sight
We’re happy alright
Readin’ in speech, language wonderland!

Let’s be honest, the temperature isn’t the only thing that decreases towards the end of December.  Timelines shorten, non-therapy time is absorbed by administrative tasks, and therapy ideas begin to wane.  Nonetheless, therapy must go on!  What are the best winter speech and language books to use?  We got together this past Monday and combined our efforts by compiling a list of our favorite books to use in therapy for the frigid months.  Grab a mug of tea, sit back and take in some of the best literacy-based ideas.  We are excited to share some of our frosty favorites with ideas for leveraging the excitement of the holidays into therapy progress.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell;  by Lucille Colandro

Best winter speech and language booksThere Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell is a fun way to work on vocabulary and sequencing.  The repetitive structure of the book helps to build language skills.  I’m excited to pair a surprise bag with the book as a pre-reading activity where the students draw out the various items in the book such as a bell, bows or gifts.  Then, students describe the items and create sentences.”       – Anna

Best winter speech and language books

Also available in Spanish

Links and Activities:

Makinglearningfun.com also has some great “Old Lady” materials :

Make&Take Art Supplies for the Old Lady

Literacy Activities for the Old Lady

Math Activities for the Old Lady

Shoe Tying Practice for the Old Lady

The Gingerbread Man: by Catherine McCafferty

Best winter speech and language books“I love this book because of the repetitive phrase.  Both Spanish and English versions of the book has the same rhyme and meter.  I usually do a literacy-based lesson around this topic for a couple of weeks.  There is a recipe for gingerbread cookies that I like for my students to make right before going on winter break.  And, I have included a website for some free printables.”              – Patricia

Speech Therapy Blog

Also available in Spanish

Links and Activities:

Pre-reading activities can include talking about what is “gingerbread” and introducing new vocabulary. Students can make connections about cookies!  I like to introduce all of the characters in the book before reading it and then ask prediction questions.  We graph our predictions on a big piece of paper.

Google has a ton of downloadable gingerbread man materials

Gingerbread man recipe

1.) Who makes the gingerbread baby?Best winter speech and language books

2.) Who eats the gingerbread baby?

For one of our post-reading activities, we pull out our charts and change our answers at the end.

During therapy time, we can also use the Cookie Doodle app to make gingerbread men and practice following directions.

The Mitten: by Jan Brett

 Best winter speech and language books“I love reading The Mitten with my students!  I used the photo copies of the mitten to make a big foam mitten (stapling the along the edges and leaving the bottom open).  I had the kids put the animals in the mitten as we went through the story.  Or, it can be a sequencing activity for after the story.  The sentence strips and pictures in the same PDF allowed the kids to talk about who is in the mitten (e.g., “The hedgehog is in the mitten!”).   There is also a winter and a summer background. I laminated the backgrounds and then I printed out 5 winter clothes and 5 summer clothing items.  I used Velcro, and the students sort the clothes into winter clothes and summer clothes.”      ”   – Lindsey

Links and Activities:

Mary also loved using The Mitten.  Here are her ideas:Best winter speech and language books

1. Pre-K activity – masking tape mitten on floor.  Last year I made it even more fun and used a large parachute with students in the pre-k artic program (i.e., PEAR Program in the Round Rock Independent School District) and let them crawl under the parachute (into the mitten).  You could even give them masks for all of the animals to pretend, or they could practice saying, “I am in the mitten.  Joey is not in the mitten…”

 Click here for this idea from teachpreschool.org:  I had a large mitten shape made out of tape on the floor to use as our mitten prop. Instead of animals, we had children climbing in our mitten to keep warm.  As the story went along, each child was invited to climb into the mitten and since our mitten was getting full, the children had to adjust how they sat in the mitten so they would all fit inside.  And at the end of our story, all the children were thrown out of the mitten because someone gave a big sneeze! Only our mitten didn’t fall apart!

2. Compare and Contrast with similar story The HatBest winter speech and language books
A great lesson with the books The Mitten and The Hat is to compare and contrast the two books with your class. As a group, complete a Venn Diagram on the two stories. After you have compared the two books as a class, have your students team with a buddy and complete a compare and contrast sheet.

Spanish versions of these two books:  El Miton and El Sombrero

The Mitten sentence strip_Spanish

The Mitten Sentence strip English

The Mitten_glove_animals_BW

The Mitten_glove_BW

The Mitten_story props_color

Those Shoes: by Maribeth Boelts

Best winter speech and language booksThose Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts, is a book that resonates with the heart.  Jeremy wants a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone seems to be wearing. His grandma says they don’t have room for “wants”.  As someone who grew up with humbling financial means, this book surely validates feelings of envy we all have as children.  Not only is this a great book for literacy-based interventions, but it teaches students about culture, friendship and, essentially, the ins-and-outs of life.”   – Phuong

Links and Activities:

Organize a clothing (and shoe) drive for children
Have students draw a pair of desired shoes–Compare and contrast shoes
Have student do a story retell with students on a different campus working on the same skills via Skype[hr]

Froggy Gets Dressed: by Jonathan London

Best winter speech and language books“I love this book for winter-themed therapy. It is a cumulative story, based around a central theme of getting dressed.  Each time Froggy goes outside to play in the snow, he has forgotten an article of clothing.   So, he has to come back inside and take everything off in order to put on what he was missing.”                                                                                         – AlysonBest winter speech and language books

Links and Activities:

 I use this book to target a few commonly addressed goals:

  • Categorization (clothing, things that are cold)
  • Sequencing for how to get dressed (in the correct order)
  • Artic- there are many opportunities for initial /fr/ and final /s/, in English and Spanish
  • Syntax- there are repetitive lines on each page, describing Froggy either putting on or taking off different articles of clothing
  • Who, what, where, when, and why questions 

There are TONS of other resources out there to use along with this story that I love to use as pre- and/or post-reading activities:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats

Best winter speech and language books“This book is an opportunity to target adjectives “slow” and “fast” to describe how the boy moved his feet in the snow and slid down the hill. You can also have your children explain the sequence of events that occurred during the story.  If it is appropriate for your students, you can read and complete activities for this story in Spanish one week and then in the following week, read and complete activities for the story in English.”  – CarolynBest winter speech and language books

Snowmen at Night: By Caralyn Buehner

Best winter speech and language books“I love using multiple snowman books for narrative development.  The character (the snowman) and the place (outside, winter) stay the same so the children can compare and contrast the plot of the stories.  My all-time favorite is Snowmen at Night.  It is a fantastical story about what happens at night when we are all asleep.”                                                      – Scott

There are 24 pages that can be used in therapy such as compare and contrast and WH questions in our Storybook Intervention Templates.

Additional Snowman Favorites

Best winter speech and language books Best winter speech and language books Best winter speech and language books Best winter speech and language books

We are excited to share our best winter speech and language books!  Do you have a favorite?  Please share with us!

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