5 Places to Find Themed Word Lists for Speech Therapy

5 Places to Find Themed Word Lists for Speech Therapy

I could honestly talk about themed therapy for hours upon hours. The advantages and the struggles. If you’re newer to the theme-based approach, you can learn about the “basics” in this blog post. Let’s say your sold on using a speech therapy themes and you’ve started the planning process. You’ve looked at your caseload and have a list of your themes. (If you’re stuck here, check out some of my ideas.) Now the therapy planning starts! One important planning step is developing themed word lists.

Thematic word lists are super helpful to us as therapists but also to our students. Using themed vocabulary words helps provide context for our students learning process. How and where can you start with these word lists? I have a few ideas in mind. Today, I’m writing to share places where you can find themed word lists to use with your games, toys, or activities that you’re planning. 

This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Why are Themed Word Lists Helpful?

Learn about 5 places you can find theme-based vocabulary lists for your speech therapy sessions.

Themed vocabulary lists require a little bit of planning time and maybe even some research. It can feel a little time-consuming but as you plan more, the process usually speeds up! 

The time spent developing and planning thematic word lists will give you something to reference during sessions. It’s like your own cheat sheet for your sessions. Sessions can quickly become hectic with students with different goals, different materials, data to take, and maybe even some challenging behaviors. While balancing all of this, the last thing you want to worry about is coming up with vocabulary words on the spot. 

Themed Word Lists Save Your Brain Energy

Themed word lists are invaluable to use during sessions and save you some extra brain energy.

I know, I know… I’ll get to the good part. How do I make a themed word list? Where can I look when I’m stumped on which words to use? I have 5 ideas for you… 

Themed Therapy SLP FREE Quiz

I wanted to let you know about a free Themed Therapy SLP quiz I created to help you get information about using a theme-based approach. Whether you are new to themes, trying to get more organized, or need fresh ideas for planning by themes, you will want to take the quiz to get an email with links to podcast episodes, blog posts, and resources to help you with your themed therapy planning.

Websites for Themed Vocabulary Lists

1. Enchanted Learning has thematic word lists A-Y. They even have themes for different time periods! Choose your theme, then it will direct you to lists of words to use. These words are divided up by letter, which may be helpful for your students working on speech sounds. 

2. Visit Words to Use which is great to use for holiday and season themed word lists. This site breaks down words by part of speech. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a lot of options for non-seasonal themes such as pets, frogs, snowmen, or insects.

Learn where to find themed vocabulary word lists for your speech therapy sessions.

Thematic Word Lists Organized by Speech Sounds

3. On My Vocabulary, you can click on a particular topic like dinosaurs, and it will sort words by letters. 

    • Keep in mind words aren’t organized by their sound. So, a word like “fossil” will be listed as an “f” letter word. On your themed word list, you can use fossil for the initial /f/, medial /s/, and final /l/.

4. Themed Therapy SLP membership has themed word lists organized by speech sound in all the themes! That’s over 30 themes to have themed word list cheat sheets to reference as you plan out your themes. We can use them when practicing sounds during games, or open-ended reinforcers. Decrease your planning time and tackle themed therapy with your students!

Learn where to find themed word lists for your speech therapy sessions!

Thematic Word Lists Using Books

5. When you choose books within your theme, they often contain many great themed words to use with speech and language goals. 

    • For example, look at “Bee-Bim Bop” by Linda Sue Park. This book is loaded with thematic vocabulary for food such as supper, eggs, stir, fry, spatula, flip, rice, boil, pot, hot, knife, slice, garlic, green onions, meat, chop, bowls, spoons, chopsticks, dinner, recipe, and ingredients.
    • Try writing a themed word list from the book on a Post-it note and putting it inside the book. You could also use a vinyl pocket clear organizer in the book and hold index cards for words by sound.
    • If you don’t want to have to hunt around to find thematic words by speech sounds, join the themed therapy SLP membership. We have book cheat sheets filled out with speech sound words to save you time.


How Do You Store Your Themed Vocabulary Word Lists?

Hopefully, by now, your wheels are turning in ways you can develop themed word lists. Now the next step… storage! How do you store your themed vocabulary lists? If you have a way you keep your theme-based vocabulary word lists organized, share in the comments. 

Use speech therapy word lists by themes for your speech therapy sessions.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey Free Printable

When you need a Thanksgiving-themed book that provides repetitive text, silly things happening, and structured story sequencing, you grab the book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey by Lucille Collandro (Amazon affiliate link included.)

Kids love to talk about the items she swallows, and the text has a rhyme and flow that are great for phonemic awareness.

You can usually find some sound-loaded words in the text to make this the ultimate mixed group book!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey Free Printable

Have a story retell visual for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey free printable.

One way you can quickly adapt this book for your mixed groups is by having visual supports to go along with the book. Not only does this help you have an extension activity after reading the book, but you can also model and scaffold for students that thrive from having visuals.

If you were anything like me when I worked in the school setting, having TIME to prep in-depth visual supports was nonexistent. So, I have a free printable that is low prep to us with There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey.

Plus, this story retell visual support also has a digital Google Slide that you can use on your laptop, during teletherapy, or on a SMARTboard in a classroom.

Click the image below to get your There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey free printable.

How to Use Your Old Lady Story Retell Visual Support

What is great about this book is you can use it to increase engagement with Thanksgiving-themed vocabulary.

But, you can also conversation recast a LOT of unique verbs while reading the story and discussing the pictures in the book. With your free printable, you also get visuals for verbs and vocabulary in the story.

For teaching depth of knowledge with the vocabulary, you can name 

  • synonyms/antonyms
  • use the words in sentences
  • give kid-friendly definitions
  • describe the items the lady swallows by attributes

To target CORE words, you can model “swallow” or “eat” as well as “why,” “don’t,” “go,” “more,” and “see.”

Your students with grammar goals can work on sentence formation, past-tense verbs, and transition words such as first, next, and last.

Not only can you work on sequencing skills, but you also can work on basic concepts for first/last and before/after using the book and the visual story retell printable.

Use this free story retell visual support for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey to Work on sequencing.

Snowman Sequencing Activities to Build Language

Snowman Sequencing Activities to Build Language

When implementing a themed-based approach, you want to use activities that incorporate the words related to the theme as much as possible. It gives your students context with how to process the knowledge of the theme and the vocabulary used with the theme. In many ways, you are building stronger knowledge of the vocabulary because students can categorize and attach word associations to the words being used. Today, I wanted to share with you some ways to use snowman sequencing activities to build language. Plus, I will be sharing some different ways to talk about building a snowman so your students stay engaged!

Hands-On Activities for Building a Snowman

With students that have a shortened attention span or need to be activating their sensory system, there are some hands-on activities that you can do and still incorporate sequencing.

Using white playdough with items such as dried black beans, buttons, sticks, and a foam hat to build a snowman. Students can work on sequencing the steps for making a snowman while building their own. Similarly, you can find a felt snowman building set on Amazon or possibly Dollar Tree. Students can follow directions for the steps to make a snowman.

For more ideas on how to use snowman toys and props in your therapy sessions, check out this blog post.

Use hands on snowman materials to work on sequencing in speech therapy. Check out this blog post for tips on using snowman sequencing activities to build language skills.
Work on sequencing skills using a build the snowman file folder activity. Check out this blog post for more snowman sequencing activities for speech therapy.

If you don’t want a mess, but need a hands-on activity, why not build a snowman as a file folder activity!? You can target sequencing as well as requesting, CORE words, turn taking, and describing. To buy the printables for this activity, head to my TPT store

Target Sequencing with the Snowman Life Cycle

You can also work on sequencing while talking about the snowman life cycle. This also is a great theme smashing opportunity to incorporate how we get snow! Check out this YouTube video for discussing snow. As you work on the snowman life cycle, you can target verbs, adverbs (i.e. slowly, quickly), antonyms (i.e. hot, cold), basic concepts (i.e. before, after), and speech sounds such as with s-blends, you can target snow, snowman, scarf, stare, slow, stack, and smile. 

What other words with your student’s sounds could you target? If you need some visual supports for the snowman life cycle, these are in the snowman language lesson plan guides for K-2 students. 

Why not work on sequencing using a snowman life cycle!? Check out this blog post for more snowman sequencing activities you can use to build language.

Snowman Sequencing Activities with Short Stories

Here are some tips for how to use snowman sequencing activities in speech therapy to build language and vocabulary.

Discussing the steps for building a snowman in the context of a short story can help your students relate to the vocabulary when used in context. 

You can find snowman short stories on GetEpic such as “Make a Snowman” by Pam Holden. If you need short stories that also have picture sequencing cards, check out the winter short stories set in my TPT store. It not only comes with picture sequencing cards but also has short stories with an answer key and visuals to help you guide the instruction during your sessions. 


For more ideas on using short stories with different winter themes, check out this blog post.

Digital Materials to Build a Snowman 

If you are looking for some digital materials to work on building a snowman, check out ABCYa. They have a free build a snowman activity that you can work on sequencing the steps for making a snowman. Additionally, you can also target describing, requesting, CORE words (i.e. more, want, look, done, here, etc.), transition words, and grammar structures. For SLPs that love using Boom Cards™, you can use this snowman sequencing activity set to work on tier II vocabulary related to the sequencing activity. Plus, there are 3, 4, and 6 picture scenes to practice the steps for build a snowman. In all of the sequencing Boom Cards™ sets, there are extension activities to work on other language skills related to your snowman theme. 

What tips do you have for working on sequencing skills?

What is working for you when teaching sequencing with your students? I would love to know any tips or strategies that have been helpful, especially for your language impaired students. Share you tips in the comments!

DIY Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit

DIY Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit

Using books in speech therapy can be a great way to plan therapy because you can adapt the book to cover a wide range of goals, including story comprehension, oral narration, grammar, vocabulary, and perspective-taking. Plus, you can have students working on fluency or articulation carryover to summarize or retell the story while working on their strategies or sounds.

For the younger students, one way to get increased engagement with a book is to create story prop kits. Using story props allows students to kinesthetically get involved with the story. Today, I want to show you how to make an Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit to use in speech therapy. 

How to make an Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit to use in speech therapy

Where to Get the Book Apple Trouble by Ragnhild Samell

If you are looking for a great fall book that works on story comprehension and story retell, you will want to check out Apple Trouble by Ragnhild Scamell. It was originally called Ouch!, so you may be able to find it at your local library under that name. Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post for your convenience.

When I don’t have a book on hand, I will use a YouTube book read aloud and just mute the reader, so that I can read the book to the students. I always love having the real book, but when you are in a jam, this works well too. Today, I am going to share how you can make a storybook prop kit for Apple Trouble!

To help your students recall the details and vocabulary from the story, it’s nice to have hands-on materials to bring the story to life.

Making an Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit to increase engagement in your language therapy sessions

Invest in the Mini Animals and Reuse for Future Theme-Based Lessons

Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit to use in speech therapy

Plus, you can use the elements from this story prop kit for future theme-based lessons when working on forest animals, farm themes, hedgehog books, or apple themes. Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post for your convenience. When you use the affiliate link, I get a small commission with no expense from you.

Join the Themed Therapy SLP Membership for Prek-5th Grade Elementary Caseloads

If you love planning by themes for your elementary caseload but don’t have the time or creative energy to find all the activities for your themed therapy, join the Themed Therapy SLP membership. We take lesson planning off your plate so you can focus on enjoying therapy with your students.

You can access over 24 themed units for Prek-5th grade when you join the annual subscription. There are also monthly options, but you only get access for two months at a time. Sign up HERE. See a sample of the apple-themed unit below.

Items you will need to make your story prop kit

 Forest animals figurines: has a mini hedgehog, frog, squirrel 

Plush or mini hedgehog: The mini hedgehog is included in the forest animals figurines. You can find a plush hedgehog on Amazon

Farm Toobs: This set has a pig, and goat. You can get this set on Amazon or at Michael’s. 

Hedgehog’s nest is made from cut up cardboard and green moss hot glued that I found at the Dollar Tree. You could always buy some decorative leaves from the Dollar Tree or craft store and stick them in a box as the hedgehog’s nest.

Fake mini apples: You can find mini and large-sized fake apples on Amazon or at Michael’s. I got mine at Michael’s.

For the other items that get stuck in the hedgehog’s fir, you will need a pear, a blue piece of paper. 

Make a DIY Apple Trouble Story Prop Kit to target speech and language goals

How to Make the Apple Tree in the Story

You can easily make an apple tree using toilet paper rolls and cutting out a green piece of construction paper to look like leaves and branches. Color red apples on the tree. Then, cut two slits in the toilet paper roll on one side. Slide the green tree into the toilet paper roll and now you have an apple tree.

Use this apple tree for a future apple-themed unit to use when talking about apple trees and orchards. You can make an apple orchard sensory bin like the one I share on Instagram. 

Speech Therapy Goals You Can Cover With the Story Prop Kit

With your story props you can target the goals as follows:

  • Story comprehension and oral narration – act out what happened throughout the story
  • Work on basic concepts with the characters and props from the story
  • Describe the character’s by attributes and look for text to support answers
  • Build grammatically correct sentences using the characters and actions from the story
  • Add the props to a sensory bin and allow students to pretend play while working on initiation, commenting, vocabulary, etc.
  • Work on conversation dialogue with the characters
  • Have students practice summarizing or retelling while using transition words. This can also be a skill to work on articulation carryover. 

How Do You Use the Book Apple Trouble in Speech Therapy?

I would love to know how you would use this Apple Trouble story prop kit to target goals with your speech therapy caseload. Share in the comments or tag me on social media @thedabblingspeechie

Need more tips on how to use books to cover language goals? Check out this post with some book reading strategies.

10 Ways to Use a Pizza Toy Set in Speech

10 Ways to Use a Pizza Toy Set in Speech

Making time for play therapy in your lesson plan is a great way to have your student work on their language in a functional and engaging way. Kids love to play, and they also love pizza! Which makes these pizza toy sets a must-have tool for your speech therapy session. Use these pizza toy sets to target a variety of language and speech goals through play!

Where Can I Buy a Pizza Toy Set for Speech Therapy?


There are a few different pizza toy sets available online. All of the ones I’m suggesting below can be found on Amazon, but you might be able to find them at stores like Target, too. The links below are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience in which I receive a small commission when you click at no additional cost to you.

It can be fun to play pizza delivery or eating at a pizza restaurant with this Melissa and Doug Wooden Pizza Counter. If you want a felt version, there is this set for under $20. Working on pretending to go to a pizza party, you can grab this pizza party set HERE. For a more tactile pizza play activity, you can use the Playdoh pizza set.


Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

Play-Based Speech and Language Toy Companion Cheat Sheets

Need a cheat sheet guide to help you with targeting wh- questions, Tier II vocabulary, articulation, basic concepts, adjectives, and helpful therapy ideas for toys you use during play-based therapy? Grab this Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guide for Prek-2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for 25 different toys. 

You can save brain energy while effectively using toys to target your student’s speech or language goals. Use these cheat sheets so that you can have FUN in therapy too!

Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.
 Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

Using a Pizza Toy Set in Play-Based Speech Therapy

Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

A pizza toy set can be used to target so many speech and language skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to engage children in these skills:

1. Use the pizza toppings and pieces to work on following directions and sequencing the steps to make a pizza.

2. Describe the ingredients and sort the items into category groups: appliances, utensils, food, meat, veggies, dairy, etc.

3. Put the pizza toppings on flashcards and students pick a topping. Then, have the student practice their target. Use silly sentences such as “The rabbit ate the pepperoni.”

4. Practice turn taking and perspective taking by having the child prepare a pizza for someone else. Work on initiation for questions and comments.

5. Have things go wrong while making the pizza by having it burn, dropping the pizza, running out of toppings, and expressing dislike such as yuck for toppings.

More Therapy Ideas Using a Cookie Toy Set

    6. Act out different verbs and vocabulary with gestures such as devour, smell, hot, chew, mix, etc.

    7. Talk about which pizzas have more/less/few/none.

    8. Discuss the social rules for going to a pizzeria.

    9. Use toppings for phonological awareness cues or tapping out multi-syllabic words.

    10. Have your students feed different items pizza. You can work on building sentences, answering “who” and “what” questions and turn taking.

    Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

    More Toys to Use in Play Therapy

    Incorporate a pizza toy set into your speech therapy sessions to increase engagement and opportunities for meaningful practice on speech and language goals.

    If you are loving all these toy ideas for play therapy, you can read more blog posts on some of my favorite toys to use in therapy.

    When I pull out a toy knowing the purpose of how I will use it to cover goals, I feel confident with my therapy choice. It’s okay to put the worksheets away if you are FUNctionally using toys to target speech and language goals.

    Your students will probably be more engaged with your lesson for the day!

    Check out my favorite toys and 10 ways to use them in therapy:

    Ice Cream Toy Set

    Toy Trains in Speech

    Using Play Food in Therapy

    Farmhouse Toy Set

    How Do You Use a Pizza Toy Set in Speech Therapy?


    Do you have a fun way to engage your students with a pizza toy set in speech therapy? Share in the comments, tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie, or email me at fe*********@th*****************.com.

    The BEST Summer YouTube Videos for Speech Therapy

    The BEST Summer YouTube Videos for Speech Therapy

    Whether you are seeing your students in person, providing teletherapy, or doing a little bit of both, these are the best summer-themed youtube videos for your summer therapy plans. 

    When exploring summer fun, you can find reading passages about summer, weather concepts, going to the beach, ocean animals, and outdoor activities. Themed reading passages are a great way to work on tiered vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension, story grammar, sequencing, identifying the main idea, and recalling important details. Varying your supports and finding passages with your student’s speech sound are a plus! This will help you plan a great mixed group lesson for your students. 

    As always, www.readworks.org or www.getepic.com are great places to find books and passages for your summer theme. Summer videos are great companions to those passages or an alternative lesson plan to the reading passages all together. 

    You can use summer videos to help organize your therapy sessions with engaging content. In this blog post, I will be sharing some of my favorite summer videos for teletherapy.

    Summer YouTube Videos for Teletherapy

    You can kick-off your summer-themed lessons with this fun video about the sun and the seasons from Crash Course Kids. This video uses an engaging poem to help build background knowledge about seasons. With this video are 5 additional videos which you can break up over the course of an entire month to target vocabulary and language. These videos are great for a 20-30 minute session since they aren’t too lengthy.

    This Scishow kids video is great for learning about the importance of sunscreen!

    All the BEST Summer YouTube Videos for teletherapy so that you can stay organized with planning your sessions.

    Practice Social Skills Using Summer Videos


    These Simon’s cat summer videos are a fun way to target those nonverbal social skills with your students. I like to use these videos when we’re practicing facial expressions and body language. My student and I talk about how the animals are feeling in the videos. 

    If you want to see how you can use Simon’s Cat videos to target a variety of goals, check out this BLOG POST.

    I also like to use the animated videos when practicing inferences with my students. These are fun summer themed videos to practice this skill.

    Summer Videos Using YouTube Book Read Aloud Videos

    All the BEST Summer YouTube Videos for teletherapy so that you can stay organized with planning your sessions.

    Shared story book readings are a great home activity to support your students’ generalization of language concepts. Even though reading the actual book is preferred, sometimes my families don’t have access to a variety of themed books. Especially now with many libraries still closed. YouTube read alouds are a perfect alternative for students. They will still have access to the story, keep learning about summer, and increase their language building opportunities at home. 

    To make sure that it’s still a shared story reading, encourage families to keep the YouTube video on mute so that they can read the pages. I try to find book read alouds that show clear pages so that families can read the lines from the story. 

    This is a great home carryover activity, but it can also be a great therapy lesson. Pause the read aloud and talk about what your student sees on the page. I also like to ask my students what they think will come next or how this story goes along with our summer theme. 

    Other ways to use books are by screen sharing while projecting a book from Kindle Unlimited, Vooks, or using Epic. If you’re looking for some more summer books ideas, check out my list of books for targeting summer vocabulary.

    Get Up And Moving With Your Students

    It’s summer and the perfect time to go outside and get moving! Use these fun, summer-themed songs to have a movement break with your students during your sessions. These songs are great to use for your whole group lessons as a warm-up or when you can see your kids are struggling to pay attention. 

    Use these songs and videos to target seasons, summer vocabulary, and basic concepts in a way that’s fun and engaging for your students. I like to also have my younger students work on requesting and imitation with these movement breaks. 

    Don’t forget to check out the Frozen song video (who doesn’t love Olaf?). Share in the comments what songs you like to use with your students. 

    If  you want all these summer songs in one place as well as more of my faves, grab this free summer YouTube Google Slides by clicking the pink button.

    Use Google Slides to Organize Your Summer Videos

    All the BEST Summer YouTube Videos for teletherapy so that you can stay organized with planning your sessions.

    One way you can keep all your favorite videos organized is by adding them to a Google Slide or PowerPoint. I find that adding them to Google Slides is easier for sharing with educators or families. Once you add in all the video links, you can easily navigate to the ones you need for the lesson.

    Once you have it organized, you can use it year after year with your groups. If you need all of these videos in an organized Google Slides presentation, grab my summer-themed language lesson plan guides that have a Google Slides™ presentation included. It comes with everything ready to go.

    You can see how you can organize your videos and activities in the video below.

    What summer videos have you found and included in your summer lessons? I would love to add them to my collection of materials! Share in the comments.