Fiction Book Series # 1 {Pirate Pete}

Apparently tomorrow, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Say what?! This is certainly news to me because this day has always been and will forever be my dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday to an extraordinary man, a.k.a. Mr. Retiree, who I love dearly! 

This week,  I decided to introduce pirate themed fiction stories because I love literacy! Plus, I figured my students would get a kick out of  knowing that there is such a holiday that celebrates pirates. 

There are three books in the series by the author, Kim Kennedy and
her brother and illustrator Doug Kennedy.  I used the first 2 books in the series this week in speech language therapy with my students. I have read them in the past, but not in honor of this holiday. I was lucky to have the audio CD for the Pirate Pete books that the kids love! 

The First in the Series by Kim Kennedy is Pirate Pete. In this story, he travels to Mermaid Island in search of treasure. He is guided by the map that he mischievously took from the Queen.  Pete gets side tracked on his voyage and visits other islands along the way. His loyal parrot gets him back on track to finding the treasure! 

Then, there is Pirate Pete’s Giant Adventure. This time, he travels to Thunder Island in search of a Sea Fairy’s missing blue sapphire. On the island, Pete meets an unexpected antagonist who is determined to ruin his adventure. 

There is also Pirate Pete’s Talk Like a Pirate. In this book, Pete eagerly recruits new crew members to begin another voyage. He is convinced that they must all know how to talk like a Pirate! Arrrr matey! 

These books are great to use in speech-language therapy sessions, reading activities in the classroom, and to read with your child as well! Here are some ideas of children’s activities to address speech language objectives and literacy skills: 

  • articulation practice of /r/ words in the text
  • answering literal and inferential questions
  • verbal story retell
  • written story retell
  • compare and contrast the stories in the series 
  • context clues for unknown vocabulary
Thanks for visiting the blog today! Enjoy International Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow! It’s September 19th every year. 

September Children’s Literature Reviews

Hey there! The official beginning of fall will be here in a few days. For you football lovers out there, I am sure that you have happily immersed yourself into cheering on your favorite team on GAME DAY!! I know there are plenty of die hard college football and/or professional football fans. I live in Georgia Bulldog country! Go DAWGS!! I have to admit though that I am not much of a football fan because I attended a HUGE BASKETBALL university!! GO TARHEELS!! 

Anyhow, I look forward to a new season because I get to introduce new books in my speech-language therapy sessions and I love books! Go LITERACY! Here are my three top picks for the month of September. 
Home-Field Advantage by Justin Tuck is an awesome story about family, forgiveness, and football! The main character is the author, a football player who played 9 years for the New York Giants. He now plays for the Oakland Raiders. This story is about him growing up with his five sisters who always seem to have the upper hand and his brother. One day, his twin sisters decide to give him a haircut that turns out horrible! There are great illustrations of his reverse mohawk or bald spot down the middle of his head and him diving under his covers to hide from embarrassment! Justin forgives his prankster sisters and they all support him through the years as he excels at his craft of football! 
My second pick is Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie by Herman Parish. I love this entire series actually. This particular one is a fantastic book to practice story retell, figurative language, and multiple meaning words. The author invites you to experience Amelia as she enjoys the season of autumn. She plays in the leaves at her grandparents’ house, takes a trip to the farmer’s market with her grandfather to buy Granny Smith apples, and lovingly makes her first apple pie with her grandmother. You need to read the book for yourself and with your students. There is a delightful twist at the end that will have you smiling. Plus, the author includes an apple pie recipe as well! Yum!
My third pick is There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves, by Lucille Colandro. I think many SLPs, teachers, and parents are familiar with this series. However, it is definitely worth mentioning. It is the perfect book to teach story sequencing and to give kids an opportunity to practice verbal and written story retell. There are tons of book companion sets that accompany this book on TPT. I have successfully used visual cues with picture and vocabulary cards (e.g. with sequencing terms) to help my students retell the story. Other children just need a quick picture walk after listening to the story to retell it by themselves. 
Here’s a link to my oral story retelling rubric: 
What are you favorite books for September? I’d love to hear. 

Literacy Website Review # 2 {Technology}

I am constantly adding new grade level fiction and non-fiction text to my speech-language therapy resources. It is critical that speech-language pathologists support developing children’s literacy skills on a regular basis. I do this by addressing listening comprehension and vocabulary IEP objectives related to text at students’ instructional reading level. An instructional reading level is the level of book that they can read with adult support. 

I love the website   because there is a ton of information on this site!You can search for books by different categories. I go right to the literature genre and leveled book collections when I need language therapy materials. 

If you are an SLP supporting the 3rd grade Common Core Reading Standards, you should click on the tab for Fables and access these books:


Each book is marked with an alphabetical letter that corresponds with a certain reading level. For example, the Boy who Cried Wolf is marked “Level E or 1st grade” but it supports the 3rd grade standard of teaching fables. I read aloud the stories to the children and have them follow along in a printed book. Then, I ask story comprehension and vocabulary questions. You can also have students practice story retell. 

I love that this website also has vocabulary lists available that are already sorted into Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III words. How awesome is that! The SLP can teach kids how to use context clues to understand the meaning of the words. 

You can also verbally model for your students how to verbally compare and contrast fiction/non-fiction text using the recommended paired book sets. Then have them practice this skill. This encourages kids to use higher level thinking skills to identify similarities and differences between the characters and events. Here is the link to access paired books by reading grade level: /

I frequently go to the leveled books tab when I want to differentiate instruction for my students. I will select a book for each child at their instructional reading level. For example, I may have a 4th grade student who is reading at a 3rd grade instructional level. So I may select level Q text such as:

Since I am a SLP, I read aloud the text so that the child is practicing their listening comprehension skills. However, I believe it is important to provide them access to books at their instructional reading level so they are not frustrated with their literacy practice. Their special education resource teacher addresses their reading decoding and comprehension objectives. 

You may access some of this information on the site for free! However, I recommend paying for a subscription because it is well worth the money! 

Thanks for visiting the blog today. 


Literacy Website Review {Technology}

Last school year, a friend of mine told me about, a website that has an engaging fiction story, literacy worksheets, and interactive reading games.  The story is divided into nine parts and features the main character, Roy the zebra.  This is great to use as a group language therapy activity in the classroom. 

This year, I am currently enjoying using this resource with two language therapy groups.  Before reading the story, Roy the Tale of the Singing Zebra,  I ask my students questions to help them make predictions about what the story will be about. Then I read aloud the story during a  language therapy lesson in both a moderate intellectual disability class and a mild autism class. My students are enjoying viewing the story as it is displayed on the whiteboard and listening to my animated oral reading.  In one of the classrooms, I am using Mimio software that allows me to easily click through the pages of the story by touching the stylus pen on the white board. 

At the beginning of the story, Roy lives in a zoo where all his favorite activities of singing, dancing, and rolling around are banned. In part two, he is eager to escape from the horrible zoo and gets help from his friend George and his elephant friend Lucy. At the end of each part, my students want to know what happens next but they have to wait until the next weeks lesson.

I recommend that the SLP or teacher pause the reading of the story at times to model “think alouds” by asking questions. This helps check for story comprehension and teaches them to think while they are listening. This is especially necessary for students with language disorders because of the unknown vocabulary that is embedded in the story. There are discussion questions available for use after reading the story to further check for understanding. 

There are 27 literacy worksheets available or  3 for each part of the story that may be used after listening to the story. The worksheets address skills such as sentence construction, correct use of punctuation marks, capitalization, story sequencing, rhyming words answering literal comprehension questions, and character perspective taking. I think the worksheets are great to use as extension activities by the speech-language pathologist or the teacher as appropriate by the skill taught. However, I typically ask students verbal questions and ask them to orally respond due to time constraints during language therapy lessons. 

Additionally, this literacy website has interactive whiteboard lesson plans that can be paired with provided learning games to teach literacy skills. An associated worksheet is also available to be completed as classwork or homework. I have not personally used the interactive games, but have reviewed them online and told the special education teachers about them. Some of the learning games are free and some you have to pay $6.95 to access them.

Here is the list of the free learning games:
Alphabetical Order- sequence words in alphabetical order 

Double Consonants- add word endings (ff, ss, bl, br, cl, cr, ck, ng)

Singular or Plural- sorting activity to distinguish between singular and plural nouns  *This is a great activity for SLPs to use.

Long Vowel Phonemes- identify target sound blends by clicking on them to make new words *Certain sounds such as “er”, “ir”, “or” would be great to use with students practicing their speech articulation of vocalic /r/.

Rhyming words- identify words that sound the same or rhyme

Here is the list of the learning games available for purchase ($6.95):

Consonant Blends- targets phonological processing skill of blending and segmenting consonants to make CVCC words

Long Vowel Phonemes- complete access to learning game; add vowels to make new words 

Tim Bowerbank in the creator of He was inspired to create the character Roy, after a trip to South Africa. He requests that all users register on the website and subscribe to his literacy newsletter before using the free resources. 

I encourage you to integrate technology in your speech language therapy lessons or instructional time in the classroom. Thanks for the reading the blog today. 

Tamara  Anderson

Stay current with all the latest best practices guidance in communication, language, and literacy. Join the community of those receiving complimentary materials!