Tag Archives: literature extension activities

How Will We Get to the Beach – Free Printable Activity

Last week was T week, and I thought turtles would be a good subject to focus on.  Turtle is one of those rare weird words that Noah can actually say pretty well, and I love the opportunity to hear him say his words.  So turtles it was.  That’s how we stumbled upon How Will We Get to the Beach?  A Guessing Game Story by Brigitte Luciani, illustrated by Eve Tharlet.  We found this at our local library, so chances are pretty good it’s on the shelves of your library as well.  (At the bottom of the post you will find directions for using this activity without the book.)

This book was a jackpot for this mommy always on the lookout for language and cognitive practice for her little boy.

The story starts with Roxanne taking her baby to the beach on a beautiful summer day.  She wanted to take five things with her; the turtle, the umbrella, the book, the ball and the baby.

Right here was the first jackpot – four out of five of those words are target speaking words for Noah.

The story follows Roxanne as she tries all different modes of transportation to get to the beach, but none of them enable her to bring all five things with her.  So for each new mode of transportation, one item is left off while all the others are pictured.

how will we page 1how will we page 2

The text follows the format of  “‘Then we’ll ride the                                      to the beach,’ said Roxanne.  But something couldn’t go with them.  What was it?”

The idea is the child should look at the picture and remember the five things Roxanne wanted to bring and determine which one is missing from the picture.  Noah needed a visual and hands-on way to play this game, so I made some PEC cards and a sentence board for him to use.  For the free printable download, go here:  how will we get to the beach story board 1

This is a seven-page file with pages like this:

how will we get to the beach - page 1

Thanks to www.mrsriley.com for making things like this so easy to put together!  Members can find the fully editable file here:  http://mrsriley.com/app/#fileID=64402

The first page of this file contains five PEC cards for you to laminate and cut.  Place Velcro loop dots on the back of each cut PEC.  Laminate the rest of the pages as well.  In each blank space on the remaining pages, place a Velcro hook dot.  (Sorry, couldn’t do page numbers, so you’ll have to keep the pages in order.)   Read the story to your child, stopping at the end of each spread that asks what is missing.  Use the PEC story board pages in order.  Point to the first box on the story board, say the word, ask your child to say the word himself, and then ask him to find that object on the page in the original book.  Move through each box on the page in that fashion, skipping the blank box.  After all the items on the page have been found, ask your child what is missing.  Show them the cut PECS and have them choose the object that is missing from the page.  Place the appropriate PEC representing the missing object in the blank box.  Repeat for the remaining book pages, stopping and using the PEC story board page that goes with each book page that asks the question, “But something couldn’t go with them.  What was it?”

It would take just a tiny bit of modification to use this activity without the book – just follow the directions for laminating, cutting and Velcro; lay out the cut PECS, go through each page of the story board with your child, point to each picture on the story board and say the word, at the end of the page, ask them to choose from the cut PECS what is missing on their story board page and place the missing picture in the empty box.

You’ll find this to be a great activity for vocabulary building, speech practice, receptive language skills, critical thinking, short term memory and working memory.  It’s just gravy that this book happens to be about going to the beach, and we’re just a few degrees away from summer here in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

All in a day’s work, Moms, all in a day’s work.

A House is a House for Me – Animal Habitats

Animal habitats (which animal lives in which environment) is a commonly-covered topic in preschool and kindergarten programs and curricula.  A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hobermann is a book that uses sing-song repetitive text and fun illustrations to run down an extensive list of animals and objects and the homes they “live” in.  The line “A House is a House for Me” is repeated throughout the book, making for a fun predictable reading experience.

Here’s a free animal habitat printable activity to go with A House is a House for Me that I worked on over the weekend:
A House is a House for Me blanks.

This activity goes with the book but can be also be used as a stand-alone.  It looks like this:

A House is a House for Me blanks

A House is a House for Me blanks 2

There are three sheets of fill-in-the-blanks (only one is shown) and one page of cards to cut to use to fill in the blanks.  I made these up as PEC boards – laminated all the pages and cut the page of fill-ins.  Then opposing Velcro to the empty squares and the cards was applied.


Read the text, “A (fill in the blank) is a home for a . . .” and allow your child to pick out the correct animal and place it in the empty square.  Remember, if your child has special needs, he may need more time to process the question than typical children.  If you give him extra time and he is still struggling, silently point to the correct card and allow him to pick it up and put it in the right spot.  This way your child experiences success no matter what is ability level is.  Depending on where he is in cognition, you may find it will take a few times of you pointing to the animals before he will be able to select them independently.  No worries – give your child as much support as he needs to be successful.  Also, don’t forget to say the word on the card once your child has selected it.  If your child tolerates repetition, now that the card is in the box, go back and repeat the entire sentence from the beginning.  Repetition is so important for our special little ones.

Cowboy Camp – Literature Extension Activities for Speech and Language Development

I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up.  For a while I thought it might be a teacher, a speech and language pathologist, maybe a nurse, but now I’m thinking what I really want to be is a children’s librarian.  Wouldn’t that be a blast???

In the meantime, since I already have the very, very best job in the whole wide world (being a wife of one and a mommy to seven), I’m going to try my hand at some literature extension activities that focus on Noah’s growing expressive and receptive language as well as visual and auditory comprehension, following directions, sequencing, emerging concept understanding, well, you get the picture.  The books  we’ll use are either our around-the-house favorites or borrowed from the local library.  One thing I’ve learned about library books is that the majority of books in the children’s section usually are found in most libraries, so be sure to check yours.

If literature extension activities with a focus on speech and language development are what you are looking for, please take a look at my Language-Rich Picture Books and Extension Activities Page for a complete listing of books, activities and general information and instructions on the different features you may find in these posts.  In other words, if you are looking for books to use in speech therapy or language play at home or in the clinic or classroom, you’ve come to the right place.  I’m starting this feature as of today, so although there may not be much as of December 2012, more is on its way.

I’ve been working on this set all weekend and it’s been SOOOO much fun!  I know, I know, I have a bad habit of starting new things, making promises of more to come and then, well, I drop the ball.  I’ve loved books for as long as I remember, and I’m enjoying teaching myself a little graphic design (if you can call it that); so I think this might actually stick.  I’ve started a new page entitled Language-Rich Children’s Books and Extension Activities.  Be sure to click here to visit the page and get a run-down on how to use the different sections.

We borrowed Cowboy Camp by Tammi Sauer from the library, and it gave me lots of material to work with.  You can really use the printables whether you read the book or not, especially if you are looking for something with a cowboy theme.  And who couldn’t stand to add cowboy and boots to their ASL vocabulary?

As usual, these materials are free, and I have made most of them in black and white.  I figure it’s easier to get somebody to help you color them in than it is to find a way to print color materials if you don’t have a color printer.  In case you ever wonder what chores you could possibly assign to your 6- or 7-year-old – this is a great one!  You’ll find links to websites and printables by clicking on the bold brown text.

Cowboy CampSynopsis:  Join Avery as he goes off to cowboy camp with a too-small hat, a too-big belt buckle and too-red boots.  He battles some pretty big insecurities and winds up being the hero of the camp.

Speech Words:  Ah-ah-ah choo!, boot, beans.  There is only one “Achoo” in the text, but sneezing is mentioned a couple other times.  Noah does a pretty good “Achoo” with gestures and all, so we practiced at each mention of sneezing to get in a good “Achoo.”    Same thing with beans and boots, just a couple mentions in the book, but there are several more opportunities to practice the word through the illustrations. 

American Sign Language (ASL)Cowboy Camp ASL – moon, hat, cow, horse, ASL video for boot – http://www.signingsavvy.com/sign/BOOT, ASL video clip for cowboy – http://www.handspeak.com/word/index.php?dict=coo&signID=502.  Although the word “moon” is not prevalent in the text, many of the illustration pages have a moon on them, so we played a lot of “Where’s the Moon” and “What’s that?” (pointing to the moon.)


Concepts – Big and Little:  cowboy camp big and little file folder game,  Your child places items in the  big or little column according to size.  This is a great time to work on two-word phrases.  The script goes like this, “What’s that?”  Answer – (signed or spoken) “Cow.”  “Is it a big cow or a little cow (gesturing or signing)?”  Answer:  “Big.”  Respond with “Big” as you prompt your child to do the same.  Immediately after your child responds, point to the object and prompt your child to name the object, so their answer should be, “Big cow.”           

Colors  – cowboy camp color word matching game.  Red boots are a theme throughout the book, The cowboys wear a variety of colors via their pants and bandanas, a perfect opportunity to quiz color words with questions like, “Who is wearing a blue bandana?”  Your child should respond by pointing to the appropriate cowboy.

Additional Resources (all free, all the time): 

http://www.pre-kpages.com/texas/ – Here you’ll find a TON of cowboy- and Texas-themed ideas for preschoolers and kindergarteners – printables, arts and craft activities, etc.

http://homeschoolcreations.com/CowboyPrintables.html – Here are those high-quality “tot” or preschool packs – pre-writing sheets, number puzzles, alphabet identification, labeling – all high quality adorable cowboy graphics.  This preschool pack even comes with a kindergarten expansion pack.

Have fun, and be sure to let me know what you think!