Low Prep Halloween Speech Activities For Mixed Groups

Low Prep Halloween Speech Activities For Mixed Groups

When October hits, everything seems to be coming at you at once, right? IEP meetings, referrals, progress reports due, and teachers needing support for their students. That leaves NO time for planning engaging speech therapy lessons. So, I wanted to share some easy and free Halloween speech therapy activities you can adapt for your mixed groups in October. If you love Halloween-themed speech therapy activities, this one will be perfect for younger and older students!

Halloween Speech Therapy Free Google Slides

Get these free Halloween speech therapy activities for your mixed groups!

So many cute Halloween costumes are floating around on Pinterest and Google Photos. So, why not use them as a Halloween-themed speech therapy activity? To keep things organized, adding your photos and Giphy to Google Slide templates is a great way to have an activity ready to go year after year. The templates include a variety of slides that you can customize:


  • Compare and contrast graphic organizer.
  • I see sentence starter and AAC CORE words slide.
  • Explaining if you would wear the costume to work on syntax and complex sentences, as well as explaining how to make the costume
  • Sentence starters for using the conjunction “because” to express opinion, reasoning, and conjunctions
  • Rate the costume to explain your opinion and describe by attributes.

Tech Tips for Using the Google Slides

You can duplicate the slide with the Google Slides templates to make multiple costume slides for your groups. It is worth the time to add pictures of Halloween costumes because once it’s prepped, you can pull it up over and over again in minutes!

To duplicate a slide, right-click your mouse and slide down to click duplicate. Then, go to Pinterest, Google Photos, or Giphy.com to search for Halloween costume pictures to add to your Google Slides. Adding a GIF is super easy and is explained around the 8-minute mark of this video. 


Make sure to prepare your Halloween costume pictures BEFORE students enter because there can be inappropriate GIFs or photos when searching. 

Use Halloween costumes to cover a variety of speech and language goals!

Tips for Adapting This Costume Activity for Speech and Language Goals

Easily cover your speech and language goals with these Free Halloween Google Slides templates.

If you have students working on speech sound goals, find Halloween costumes that have your student’s target speech sound. Give them a challenge list of words to use that are sound-loaded to describe costumes.


Have your students describe the costume by attributes and adjectives for vocabulary goals. Pick some tier II vocabulary words to discuss while talking about the costumes. Review the tier II vocabulary word definitions before pulling up the Google Slides. Encourage students to use the vocabulary words during the lesson. For example, you could use the words brilliant, prepare, fragile, inspire, or create while discussing the costumes.


Ask WH questions about the costumes.


Use this free sentence frame graphic organizer to build complex sentences about the costumes.

Create problems that the people could encounter while wearing the costume or trick-or-treating. Have students come up with solutions.

Discuss how to comment when you see someone in costume you love or don’t love. Share perspectives of tone of voice and how certain comments could hurt someone’s feelings. 


How Would You Use These Halloween Speech Activities in Therapy?

I would love to know how you would address speech and language goals on your caseload with these activities! Make sure to tag me @thedabblingspeechie if you use these with your Halloween-themed unit. 

Use Halloween costume pictures that have your students speech sounds for an easy Halloween articulation activity!
Beach Theme Speech Therapy Tips for Targeting Multiple Goals

Beach Theme Speech Therapy Tips for Targeting Multiple Goals

One of the many reasons I love themed therapy is that with one theme you can use all different books, activities, and materials to cover the wide range of ages and goals that so many of our caseloads entail. Not only does this create fun and relevant therapy for our students, but it also makes planning easier. During the summer months, using beach theme speech therapy activities is a great way to reinforce your student’s experiences with going to the beach. 

There are countless books, activities, and materials to use for beach therapy but I have made planning that much easier with my Themed Therapy SLP membership. Minimize your prep time with themed materials for your preschool through 5th-grade students who are working on speech, language, and social language skills.

Tips for Targeting Multiple Goals with a Speech Therapy Beach Theme

When using a beach theme or any theme with your speech therapy caseload, the key to targeting multiple goals in a session is to pick materials that have lots of opportunities to discuss the beach vocabulary and concepts. Oftentimes, books are a great material to choose from because you can easily adapt to speech and language goals.

Other options for beach-themed materials could include sensory bins, YouTube non-fiction videos, virtual field trip, pretend play activities, and hands-on STEM projects such as building a sandcastle. You will learn how to target a variety of goals with beach books, props and sensory bins.

Get tips for how to target multiple goals with a beach theme.

Beach Themed Books for Speech Therapy 

Learn how to adapt beach books to cover speech and language goals

Books are a fun way to experience the beach from your speech room! There are all different ways to break a book down to address speech and language goals. Let’s say I’m planning to use “A Beach Tail” by Karen Lynn Williams with my 2nd grade group. (Here’s where to buy the book on Amazon, and here’s a YouTube read aloud) This is how I’d use it to target different goals.

How to Target Different Goals with the Book A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams

  • Before I read the book, I’ll review tier II words such as sturdy, smooth, giant, scurry and suddenly with my students. Since these words are adverbs and adjectives, I’ll ask if they can think of something that is sturdy, smooth, giant, scurry or sudden
  • I also like to talk about the title of this book! What is a tale vs. a tail? Can they make a prediction about what this book might be about? What might happen in a beach tale? Why might the author have changed it to tail?


  • While reading the book, there’s ways to work on speech and language goals. For my students working on speech sounds, we’ll do a sound hunt! Can they find their speech sound in the book? If there’s limited examples of their sound in the book, give them a sentence starter that involves their sound. You can ask them questions throughout the book that they can answer with their sentence starter. (For /s/ or /s-blends/, “I see/spy…” For /l/, “Look! It’s a…” For final /z/, “It is…”)
  • Can your students find the examples of onomatopoeia in this story? There are so many examples of onomatopoeia (swish, swoosh) and other sound effects (uh-oh, zig zag, roar) in this story! Have your students find them and read it with different expressions (scary, exciting, surprising, etc.). 
    Learn how to adapt the book A Beach Tail in your literacy-based speech therapy sessions.

    Targeting Multiple Goals After Reading Your Beach-Themed Book

    Learn literacy-based speech therapy ideas for the book A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams
    • After you’re done reading the book, ask comprehension questions like Who went to the beach with Gregory? What did he draw in the sand? What did he find while making the lion’s tail longer? How does he find his way back? Don’t forget to follow up on the question, Why is this book called “A Beach Tail” and notA Beach Tale?”
    • This book allows from some great sequencing! Students can practice using sequencing words first, next, then, after, last, etc. Have some visuals prepared and students can re-tell the story using the visuals. Don’t forget to include all the story elements, too
    • If you’re looking for social skills to target, consider some conversation starters related to the book. In the story, Gregory got lost after drawing a long tail on his sandy lion. Ask: Did Gregory follow his Dad’s rules? What happened when he didn’t follow the rules? Have you ever been lost? What did you do? What would you do if you were Gregory? 

    Adapting Beach Sensory Bins for Speech Therapy

    I love using sensory bins during my speech therapy sessions, and a beach sensory bin is no exception. There are so many different fillers you can use like kinetic sand, pom pom balls, water beads, real or plastic rocks, and more. Add in mini buckets, shells, mini paper umbrellas, mini beach animals and other mini figurines! Students will love to see a “mini beach” in your speech room! 


    Now that you have your materials ready for a beach-themed sensory bin, start thinking about how you want to work on speech and language with it! Use a sensory bin after you read a beach-themed book with your students. Work on beach-related vocabulary like noun functions and action words. Ask WH questions and work on basic concepts like position words, quantitative concepts, and qualitative concepts. Make word lists with your student’s target sounds or plan a carrier phrase with their speech sound for them to use while playing with the sensory bin. 


    For more tips on beach sensory bins, I wrote a whole post about them here. 

    Learn how to adapt a beach sensory bin for speech and language goals.

    Beach-Themed Props in Speech Therapy

    Learn how to do beach-themed props in speech therapy.

    There are so many props you can use with the beach theme, and chances are you probably already have them! Grab a towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, bucket, shovel, and beach bag. To learn more about where to find themed props head here

    Use these props to work on spatial concepts (“Put the sunglasses under the bucket”), answering WH questions (“Where are the sunglasses?”), or for pretend play.

    One prop-based speech therapy activity I love is packing a beach bag! Here are a few of my ideas:

    • Read (or listen to) “How Will We Get to the Beach” by Brigitte Luciani & Eve Tharlet. Then, pack a beach bag. Your students can sort things that you bring to the beach, and things to not bring to the beach. 
    • Make a list of what to pack and why you’ll need it. 
    • Pack a beach bag loaded with your students’ speech sounds! Students can reach in and talk about what they find. In a group with mixed goals, students can work on describing the items, including appearance, function, parts, and category. 


    Read all about how to use beach balls in speech therapy in my post.

    Learn About the Beach in Speech Therapy

    Whether you use a nonfiction passage or a YouTube video, learning new facts about the beach is just another way to target speech and language goals with your elementary school caseload. 

    Find nonfiction passages on Wonderopolis or Newsela. On Wonderopolis, read about Where Sand on Beaches Come From or How Sea Shells Form. With either of these passages, ask your students what they think the answer will be. While you’re reading, review any vocabulary words you find. Vocabulary words are highlighted in yellow and include definitions of the words! At the beginning of the article, there are a few questions you can ask your students at the end. Ask your students these questions and use their own words to answer the questions. At the end of the articles, there are a few ideas for extension activities! Try them out. 


    You can also use YouTube videos to learn more about the beach like What Causes Waves or Where Sand Comes From. Students can make predictions about either of these questions. While watching, stop the video and talk about what’s being said. Are there words they don’t understand? Ask comprehension questions to make sure they’re able to follow along. After the video, talk about if any of their predictions were right. Then, talk about what causes waves or where sand comes from. You can discuss concepts like cause and effect and/or work on sequencing. I often find myself learning something new about the beach (or other topics) when I use nonfiction pieces in therapy!


    Learn how to use Beach-themed YouTube videos to cover speech and language goals.

    Ideas for Other Summer-Related Themes

    Get beach themed speech therapy ideas and how to adapt for mixed groups.

    Before or after your beach theme, don’t forget to use an ocean theme to cover the land and sea! I have a few other ideas to help you plan for summer speech therapy sessions like some camping activity ideas or pool play sets. These posts will help a bunch with your PreK-5th grade caseload!


    Between books, sensory bins, props, and nonfiction passages, a beach theme is sure to be a hit in your speech sessions! During the summer, so many of our minds are thinking about the beach! It’s safe to say using a beach theme in speech therapy will decrease planning time and keep you and your students engaged! How do you bring the beach to your speech sessions? Share your ideas on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie 

    Shark Week Speech Therapy Lesson Plan for Upper Elementary

    Shark Week Speech Therapy Lesson Plan for Upper Elementary

    It’s late Summer and you turn on the Discovery Channel. What do you find? Dun dun… dun dun… SHARK WEEK! Each summer, Shark Week mesmerizes everyone with wild stories and footage. What If we take shark week from Discovery Channel and make it into Shark Week Speech Therapy? You can use this theme as a lesson plan for upper elementary students and adapt it for small groups and co-teaching (push-in or whole class lessons). To read more about push-in setup, check out this blog post. At first glance, it may seem like this is a one-week kind of theme, but I’ve put together a few of my favorite ideas that will help you plan shark activities for at least 2 weeks.

    Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience in this blog post. When you use my affiliate link, I receive a small comission at no additional charge.

    Get Your FREE Themed SLP Planner

    Want to keep track of your lesson plans for future years? Use the free editable themed therapy lesson planner and idea guide to help you plan out your themes for the school year. It’s a free download on this blog post.

    With a themed speech therapy calendar that is editable and over 100 seasonal and nonseasonal themed ideas, you will have your monthly themes planned out for the school year!

    Get your free SLP planner for themed therapy.

    Shark Week Book for Speech Therapy

    Learn about shark themed books you can use in your speech therapy lesson plnas.

    “Shark Lady” by Jess Keating is the perfect book for shark week speech therapy. Buy it on Amazon or watch it a YouTube read aloud by Story Time with Ms. Jay. Get Epic also has an animated Shark Lady book. Use EdPuzzle to listen, too.

    The Before: 

    • Review any Tier 2 vocabulary words with your students. Some tier 2 words I found were fearless, doubt, eager, myth, and devise
    • Ask your students a big thinking question such as “Have you ever seen an animal that you thought was beautiful but other people thought was scary or ugly?”

    The During

    • Stop every couple of pages to ask a think-aloud question. 
    • Point to pictures in the book that represent some of the vocabulary words. 
    • Talk about character traits. How would they describe Eugenie as the story goes on?
    • This EdPuzzle has questions built in with picture choice answers.


    The After

    • Complete this Quizziz about the story. 
    • Discuss how the word “fearless” relates to this book. How is Eugenie Clark fearless?
    • Create a timeline about Eugenie Clark. What other questions do they have about her?
    • Do a word search like this one from Wordmint.


    Want a cheat sheet for “Shark Lady”? I have a full lesson plan cheat sheet for this book as part of May’s “Ocean Animals” theme in the SLP Themed Therapy membership.

    Use this easy shark week speech therapy lesson plan for upper elementary.

    Shark Week Videos

    Get shark week speech therapy lesson plan ideas for upper elementary.

    Videos are the start to some great shark activities that you can use in small group or whole class instruction.

    SciShow on YouTube has great options with Super Sharks or How Sharks Find Food with Electricity. After watching the video, ask comprehension questions. What questions do your students have about sharks?

    If you’re using this as a push-in lesson, here are some ideas:

    • Break your students into groups and assign staff members to different groups.
    • Provide whiteboards and dry erase markers for each group.
    • Pause the video after a key point is shared and ask the class a question.
    • Allow each group to write an answer on their white board, and then share it with the class.
    • When the video is finished, you can have the students write out the main idea, supporting details and a summary sentence about the video.
    • Don’t forget to float between groups and ask questions or help keep students engaged.
    • Close your session with: What is one cool thing you learned about sharks?

    Some other fun videos to watch are LIVE shark cams!ith these shark themed speech therapy activities. Here are a few I found:

    Tips for Using the Shark Videos in Speech Therapy

    While watching the live feeds, talk about what the sharks are doing. How many do they see? How are they similar and different? What other fish do they see? Research sharks with your students. 


    You can also use these as some conversation starters—Have your students been to an aquarium? What did they think of it? Did they see sharks? How do they feel when they think or see sharks?

    Lots of great shark speech therapy activities for upper elementary.

    More Shark Speech Therapy Activities to Extend the Themed Lesson Plan

    Planning for your upper elementary students just got easier with these shark themed speech therapy activities.

    Like I said earlier, there is plenty of opportunity to extend Shark Week into multiple weeks with even more shark week ideas. After you’ve read “Shark Lady” and/or watched some Shark Videos, check out some of these shark activities.

    Mystery Doug has some fun videos with some questions your students might have about sharks. Doug answers

    Before you watch, ask your students what they think the answer is. After you watch, ask students if their predictions were right. Don’t forget to ask your students what questions they have about sharks!

    Brain breaks are always fun with students, especially in whole class instruction! Coach Corey Martin has a great movement break for you to complete. This is a great tool to break up your push-in lessons.

    Last but not least, don’t forget about Shark STEM. Learn about shark buoyancy with this YouTube video from the Houston Public Library. You’ll need a plastic bottle, sharpie, 1 balloon, vegetable oil, funnel and a large tub filled with water. While completing this, pause the video and ask your students what they think will happen. After, they can draw a picture of the activity, and verbally explain what happened and why it happened.

    Looking for More Shark Week Ideas 


    Shark Week(s) is a great speech therapy theme for students of all ages. If you’re an SLP serving Prek-5th, Speech Sprouts has some great shark activities for the preschool speech therapy population. What shark activities you are using in therapy?

    Planning for your upper elementary students just got easier with these shark themed speech therapy activities.
    4 Speech Therapy Themes for Younger & Older Students

    4 Speech Therapy Themes for Younger & Older Students

    Themed therapy is a fun and efficient way to plan for engaging sessions while also targeting a variety of goals. While our caseloads are full of many different goals, they also entail a variety of ages and abilities. When planning your speech therapy themes, it’s important to find themes that are easy to adapt to both younger and older students. This saves time planning and keeps your brain organized to teach topics across grades. You can easily pull activities out that can be re-used for different grades and skills. 


    Pro Tip? Use a theme longer than a week! Plan themes for 2-4 weeks with lessons for everyone. Learn more about this by listening to this podcast episode. 

    Take the Themed Speech Therapy SLP FREE Quiz

    Want to learn more ways you can use a theme-based approach to plan for your speech therapy caseload? Take the Themed Therapy SLP quiz to learn what area you want more tips, tricks and ways to rock at using themes in speech therapy. 

    Top Tips for Using Speech Therapy Themes Across Your Caseload

    Learn about speech therapy themes for younger and older students.

    Themed therapy allows us to streamline our planning! Pick a theme and modify it across grade and skill levels. This is a game changer for SLPs and saves us a lot of time in our busy schedules! 


    When choosing themes across your caseload, think about what’s interesting for younger and older students. What is going to keep them interested and motivated to keep participating? Consider what’s relevant to them both inside the classroom (curriculum) and outside the classroom (events, hobbies, preferred topics, and more). 


    When you’ve chosen your theme, make activities open-ended. This will give you some wiggle room to target all the different goals in your caseload and maybe even different ages! Don’t forget, too, it’s ok to reuse materials! Across groups and across ages, use the same materials as long as they’re relevant and appropriate.


    Need some more inspiration for using and choosing themes across your caseload? Check out this post

    Speech Therapy Themes for Younger and Older Students

    1. Food

    Food is something that brings people all over the world together, so it’s the perfect theme for all your students. For younger students, a food theme may involve sorting food into groups, describing different foods, and using pretend play food while targeting speech and language goals. Read my post about ways to use play food in speech therapy. Or, you can actually use real food with Live Love Speech’s visual cooking recipes.


    Older students may work following directions in a recipe, re-telling the steps and ingredients to make something, and/or learning about different cultural foods. Check out this post on ways to use real cooking activities in speech therapy. Food also has a lot of ways to address social language skills like how to order at a restaurant and great conversation starters (What’s your favorite kind of food? Do you like to cook?)

    Learn about speech therapy themes for younger and older students.

    How to Adapt a Transportation Theme 

    Tips for how to adapt a transportation theme in your speech therapy sessions.

    2. Transportation

    One of the first things my students go to in my room? My toy cars and racetrack. Later on in the day, I’ll work with older students who (probably) know more about cars than I do. Transportation is another theme that seems to be relevant and motivating to all of our students. For younger students, you can work on sorting different methods of transportation. Read all about one of my favorite sorting activities here.

    Transportation also has natural ways to work on positional terms, action words, and more! Check out my transportation push in lesson plans for some more inspo! 


    For older students, you can plan 1 lesson for each method of transportation. (This is an easy way to use one theme for a few weeks!) One week you can learn how airplanes fly, then make paper airplanes. Another week, students can talk about cars and learning to drive- what’s their favorite kind? What are some important rules to follow when driving? Use Wonderopolis and Newsela to find some articles about transportation for your older students. 

    Fun Ways to use a Camping Theme with Younger and Older Students

    3. Camping

    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Camping has become such a fun theme to use with my students. This is a fun theme to use dramatic play for, and there’s great songs like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and books like Camping Spree with Mr. Magee. I also have some fun language-based push in plans for camping.

    For older students, have them plan a camping trip! What will they need? Who will bring what? Can they explain how to set up a tent? This is also a great conversation starter-who has been camping? Where did they go? How did they like it?

    For books, and more speech therapy ideas, check out this camping-themed blog post.

    You can find a lot of camping-themed activities in my Themed Therapy SLP Membership.

    Ideas for how to pick themes that are easy to adapt for younger and older speech therapy students.

    Use the Weather Seasons for Older and Younger Students

    Get some themed therapy ideas that you can use for younger and older students.

    4. Seasons

    For the longest time, seasons were my go-to themes. They are jam packed with vocabulary, exciting topics and plenty of conversation starters. Not to mention, there are so many ready-to-use materials on Teachers Pay Teachers

    With younger students, I love to do seasonal activities with sensory bins and vocabulary cards. I’ll use filling material that represents something to do with the season (cotton balls for snow, fake leaves for fall, etc) and hide vocabulary cards or mini objects to target vocabulary. This also allows for practice with speech sounds and grammar targets, too. Here is a low prep activity idea from my store. 

    Older students can learn about seasons in different parts of the world! Students can research seasons across the world and then share with the group while practicing comprehension and re-tell skills. Don’t forget about idioms, too. There are so many idioms that will help you break the ice with your students and put a spring in their step. Some other seasonal idioms include: Head in the clouds, soak up the sun, it’s raining cats and dogs, a bad apple, apple of someone’s eye, tip of the iceberg, under the weather.

    For more ideas by season, check out some of my previous blog posts and materials. 

    Learn about themed therapy and how you can plan speech therapy lessons for younger and older students.

    What Monthly Speech Therapy Themes do You Use for Younger and Older Students?

    Learn about themed therapy and how you can plan speech therapy lessons for younger and older students.

    Themed planning is a fun an efficient way to plan for your students- no matter how old they are and no matter what they’re working on. Streamline your planning by choosing themes you can use across your caseload. What theme do you find to be a hit with all of your students? Share your themed therapy with us on social media!

    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.
    Make a Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

    Make a Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

    I recently talked with a graduate student about managing a large caseload while also balancing school-based responsibilities-IEP meetings, evaluations, recess duty, and more. “How do you have time to plan?” My answer? Use a speech therapy theme calendar to streamline your monthly lesson plans.

    I explained that speech therapy themes use a specific topic or category to frame concepts and language. You plan books, games, crafts, and more all relating to the chosen theme. To learn more about the themed-based approach, you can read my blog post here

    I could see her wheels turning as she took it all in and started thinking of the themes she could do in the future. I went on to explain that themes in speech therapy still involve some planning, but it saves time that we’re already so limited with. 

    One way to streamline your planning time is by using themes each month. Avoid feeling overwhelmed with themes and make a speech therapy theme calendar. Here is my advice when it comes to making a speech therapy theme calendar.

    Take the FREE Themed Therapy SLP 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.

    How Many Speech Therapy Themes to Plan Per Month?

    Make your SLP planner for your monthly themes.

    Like I said, themed therapy still requires planning but there’s a way to minimize it to help you save time and avoid burnout in the long run. 

    When you’re planning speech therapy themes, it’s important to first decide how many themes you want to use each month. At first, your immediate answer might seem like 4 by using 1 theme each week. What if I told you, you could plan less themes? Listen to my podcast episode about why you should use a theme longer than a week. 

    By using a theme for at least two weeks, you can plan 1-2 themes for each month! Avoid the added stress and save time and energy in implementing therapy.

    Tips for Making Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

    Before you start planning themes for speech therapy, I’d recommend downloading my free-themed therapy planner. It has loads of seasonal and non-seasonal theme ideas as well as worksheets to map out your plans on. 

    I have a few more pointers when making your speech therapy theme calendar…

    1. Map out your calendar for the year. If you’re new to themed therapy planning, aim to do one theme a month.

    2. Talk with your student’s teachers about the units they cover each month. Is there a way to align your plans with the teacher’s units and classroom themes? 

    • This is a great way to address functional words, vocabulary, and related concepts! 
    • You can even start a theme a week before their teachers introduce it in the classroom. Pre-teach vocabulary and concepts to help build your student’s background knowledge and confidence!

    3. Fill out the SLP-themed planner with books, activities, printable activities, and vocabulary that you can use with the theme. Don’t forget, you can always fill the planner out as you are doing the theme, so it is fresh in your mind. These will be cheat sheets to reference the next time you do the theme.

        • Watch my Instagram reel on how to use the planner and edit it!

        Example of Themed Speech Therapy Lesson Plans

        Learn tips for how to plan speech therapy themes by month!

        4. Working with older students? Have them vote on themes they like. By having them vote, you’ll (hopefully) increase their buy-in to therapy. Students are more likely to engage in therapy if the topic is of interest and relevant to them!

        5. Need some examples of what to plan? Check out some of my themed speech therapy plans… 

        • My Back to School Theme includes books by grade level books, toys, picture scenes, digital activities, crafts and language based activities.
        •  My Camping Theme includes books, tips for structuring lessons around books, speech therapy activities, crafts and activities for older students. 
        • Get ideas for planning an ice cream theme for your preschool and elementary caseload. 

        How to Pick Themes for Your Speech Therapy Caseload

        There are so many different themes you can do… everything from food to sports to chores. It can be hard to narrow down which themes you want to do. There are a lot of factors that go into picking a theme for your caseload, and it might feel a little overwhelming. 

        There are a few things to think about… 

        • What motivates your students? 
        • What’s relevant and important to them in the classroom and in the community?
        • What motivates you as a therapist? You will be learning and talking a lot about these themes, so pick something you like!
        • What can you adapt across age and skill levels? What can you adapt for all goals?


        Need some more advice on picking a theme? Check out my 4 tips to help pick speech therapy themes. 


        Have you been feeling overwhelmed with the long SLP To Do list? Try using speech therapy themes to help limit planning time and motivate your students. It might require some additional time at first, but it will save you time in the long run! Snap a picture of your theme calendar or notes and share it with me on Facebook or Instagram!

        Tips for how to make a speech therapy calendar with a free SLP planner!