Music in the Speech Room: Rapping and Rhyming for Better Hearing and Speech Month (and all year long!)


May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and this year to celebrate,  I wanted to add something unique and engaging to my TpT store geared toward  the elementary population.  I wanted it to be FREE , fun and motivation while promoting good speech and language during the month of May.  I composed a poem and gave it a little twist.  I’ve added my very first audio activity to my TpT store!!  It’s a poem, it’s a rap, it’s a rhythm, it’s a fun way to practice speech skills and language concepts!    I employed the help of a couple young and willing volunteers and together we created a BHSM Poetry Rap!

BHSM-Logo-Horizontal Do you incorporate music into your speech/language sessions? Here’s some evidence to support the value of using music in your therapy room:

  • Research indicates the entire brain is active when participating in music. There is no specific music center.
  • Research indicates that music facilitates retention of new information and positive emotional and psychological benefits.
  • Researchers believe that music instruction impacts a student’s brain functioning in processing language, which in turn impacts reading subprocesses like phonemic awareness and vocabulary. These subprocesses ultimately impact a student’s ability to read with comprehension.
  • Musical activities are cited by researchers as effective experiences for building listening skills in the classroom (Hirt-Mannheimer, 1995; Wolf, 1992), for both mainstream classrooms and classrooms with children who have disabilities.(Humpal & Wolf, 2003). Recent brain research (Flohr et al, 1996) shows that music training changes and improves brain functioning related to listening.
  • Researchers have recently verified that musical instruction can have an exciting impact on young children’s phonological awareness. Many top educational researchers recommend integrating music into phonological awareness instruction. These researchers recommend songs, and specifically rhyming songs, as an effective mechanism for building phonemic awareness with children in early childhood classrooms (Adams, Foorman, Lundberg & Beeler, 1998; Ericson & Juliebo, 1998; Yopp & Yopp, 1997)
  • Components of a verbally enticing song include:
    • Frequent repetitions
    • Songs that invite participation
    • Raps and rhythms
    • Songs within the child’s verbal ability
    • Natural musical flow of words and phrase
  • You can find more amazing evidence to support the value of music in the development of speech and language in this comprehensive document from ABC Music and Me

Although my poem was made with your younger students in mind, music certainly can effectively be incorporated into lesson with older students.  Song lyrics are a great way to address vocabulary, inferencing skills and  figurative language. I especially look for songs that have  lyrics that contain a positive and inspirational message. Additional  inspiration for creating this poetry rap came from a recent experience.  In April (National Poetry Month) my son’s school went on a field trip to see The Mayhem Poets.  This trio of 20-something- year-old poets rapped and rhymed about every topic under the sun from politics, to fast food to homework and their target audience is middle and  high school students.  It was a great way to engage older students and get them excited about discussions on current events and age appropriate topics!

Need more evidence on the effectiveness of music, rap and rhyme in language development? Check out the audio/video program Flocabulary!   Flocabulary uses music, rhythm and rhyme to teach concepts on many subject areas from grades K-12.   Flocabulary uses  music to facilitates memorization and recall of academic content, while the use of hip-hop and other culturally-relevant media to increase student engagement. I was introduced to this musical tool when my son’s teacher used it to help the class learn the parts of speech and literary devices.   He was rambling off the details of these language concepts in no time with Flocabulary.   There are some free demos as well as options to purchase a subscription available on their site.


You can visit my TpT store to download your FREE audio copy of my poetry rap.  Use this catchy tune to promote a positive message while working on a variety of skills with your students!! (Be sure to have Windows Media Player downloaded to your computer to view this file.)

Use the rap to address the following areas:

•Search for rhyming word pairs
•Listen for all the words that contain their targeted speech sound
•Address good listening and comprehension skills by asking questions about the information in each section of the poem.
•Target written language by asking your students to create their own lyrical ending for the poem.
You can also download the printed version of this activity so that you can print out a hardcopy for reference here.

…..And if you are looking for more activities to help promote Better Hearing and Speech Month in your school, take a look at this product in my store: bhsm tpt cover The packet includes fun language-based ideas can be used across a variety of age/grade levels: 1—Read the BHSM poem (written by yours truly) with your students and use the follow-up page to identify rhyming words, synonyms and to explain the idiom all found within the poem. (pages 3-4) {this activity would be suitable for upper elementary/middle and even high school students} 2—Make the “I’m a Good Communicator” craftivity using the avatars, name tags and speech bubbles included. Display your student’s finished projects in the halls, on the doorway or in your therapy room to help publicly promote BHSM in your school. (pages 5-12: includes avatars, name tags, speech bubbles) {Use this activity with a variety of levels-Pre-K through middle school and adapt accordingly} 3— Speech and Hearing Fun Facts and Opinions—use the information sheet as a review/reference to identify which of the 36 cards are fact and opinion statements about speech, language and hearing. Use the included sorting mat to organize which category the cards belong in. These cards can also be used to help educate and increase awareness among your school staff about speech, language and hearing information! Answer key included. (pages 13-19) {use with older students and school staff} 4–-My Year in Review—A Speech & Language “Snapshot” consists of sentence starters to create a “snapshot” of your student’s experience in speech/language therapy. Have students share/discuss their responses. (page 20) {suitable for K-high school}

BHSM-Linky-Party-2015Jessica at Consonantly Speaking is holding a link up during BHSM so go check out her blog for more speech/language/hearing inspired posts all month  long!

Two Facts and A Fib REVEAL!

fib reveal

I hope you had fun playing with us during the “Two Facts and a Fib” blog hop.   As I hopped through the blogs reading all of my fellow SLPs facts and fibs, I found it difficult to determine which statements were facts and fibs!  The facts were just as amazing as the fibs!!  I was fascinated by all the stories and realized that SLPs lead some pretty cool and exciting lives!!

Fib Reveal: 

(c) I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago.

So here is my fib (which is not so exciting or entertaining, but really rather ordinary. )  It is a FIB that I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago!   If you have ever quit any bad habit ”cold turkey,” I definitely applaud you, however I have never even smoked a cigarette a single day in my life!     Truth be told, I absolutely hate the smell of cigarette smoke.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  Growing up, my mom smoked on a daily basis.  I used to sneak into her purse, find the cigarettes and flush them down the toilet!  I’ve never even been curious about taking a puff.   I guess I have my mom to thank for despising cigarettes so much.  BTW,  my mom did quit smoking cold turkey many years ago!

And in case you were wondering…..

a) I Had an 11 lb baby.   True! 

I had a perfectly normal 40 week pregnancy and a very happy and healthy baby boy, however when I was pregnant, most people thought I was carrying twins!  I definitely got vey BIG during the last few weeks.   I’m 5’3″ and wear size 2 and 4 clothing so I am not exactly the body type you might expect to be carrying such a big baby.   My doctor nicknamed my son “Little Buddha” when he was born and told us he was ready for kindergarten! And as a side note, I did have a C-Section after laboring for many hours!


b) I made the Division I lacrosse team when I was in college even though I had never played the sport before.  True!

Although I had not played lacrosse prior to my college days,  I was a field hockey player in high school and college. I was always very athletic and fast!  In college, I was what is called a “walk on,” which means I tried out for the lacrosse team without being on scholarship.  Some of my field hockey friends also played lacrosse so they showed me some of the basics before the try outs.  I learned enough to get a position on the team and had the opportunity to travel to other colleges all over the Maryland and Virginia area.  I was by no means a superstar, but I did get some playing time. It was a great learning experience and I use the story to this day as a lesson for my own child and my students.   When I talk about my lacrosse experience I tell them, “You never know what great things you are capable of until you try.  Set your expectations high and you might be surprised what you are able to achieve!! ”  Such a great life lesson!



Thank you all for playing!  You can check out the winner by heading over to Speech Universe!  And  don’t forget to check out the #AprilSLPMustHave sale on TpT!  This is the last one for the school year!  My End of the School Year Variety Bundle will be 50% off for April 7th ONLY!!

Two Facts and a Fib Blog Hop!


2 facts and fib 1

I’m keeping this blog post brief because I am at the airport awaiting  my flight to France.   I will be serving as the private SLP to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s youngest children for the next few months at their home in Chateau Miraval in Southern France!  April Fool’s!!!!!!!   (Talk about the ultimate dream job! )  I love that we have this fun day in our calendar for saying something truly outrageous and getting a reaction from others!   My speechie friends Erik Raj and Jennifer Gibbs-Moses (SLPrunner) had a few fun April Fool’s Day ideas that you can try with your students. Check out their very entertaining blog posts!

jolie pitt pict


A few of us SLPs joined up and decided to celebrate April Fool’s all week long with our “Two Facts and a Fib” blog hop!  The  rules are simple:  Read all three of my statements below and decide which two are the “facts” and which one is the “fib.”  Record your “fib” responses as you hop from one blog to the next (you can also download and print out this black and white answer sheet created by Speech2U here!!    The person with the most correct responses will have the opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card!  In the event of a tie, will be used for the tie breaker.  Want to take the on line quiz?   You can find it over at Speech Universe, the last stop of the hop!

facts fib blog hop 2

So here are my three statements:

a)  I gave birth to an 11 lb. baby.

b) I made the Division I lacrosse team when I was in college even though I had never played the sport before.

c)  I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago.

Can you guess which answer is my fib?     When you are finished, head over to the next blog on the hop, Consonantly Speaking, to see what facts and fib she is sharing!  Good luck!


2 facts and fib 2

To start at the beginning go to Speech2U (Special thanks to Kelly at Speech2U who had the fun and creative idea for this blog hop!)   Hope you have fun guessing our fibs!

first blog pict 1


The Frenzied SLPs March Edition: #Lucky2BEanSLP and a Magically Delicious Treat!

This month The Frenzied SLPs are also Lucky SLPs!  March seemed like the perfect opportunity to share some reasons why we feel lucky to do what we do for a living!

When I’m asked by family members or friends how my day was, I often find myself saying things like, “We played games,” “We made crafts,” sometimes “We made something yummy to eat!” and “I got a high-five,  a smile  or a hug from a child.”  It sounds so much more fun and interesting than, “I attended a very intense IEP meeting,”   “I finally finished evaluating a new student,”  “I started working on a mountain of paperwork.”  And while all of the latter responses are definitely essential parts of my job, I feel so lucky to be able to balance it out with the creative and light hearted aspects!  It’s what helps motivate me to get up and out the door in the morning!  So yes, I feel lucky to be an SLP for some of the above mentioned reasons, and so many more.  In fact, I was inspired to create a wall art poster that reflects a few more reasons why I feel lucky to do what I do everyday.   You can grab it for FREE in my TpT store. Here’s a sneak peak….

"Lucky to be an SLP" Poster and student activity {FREE}

Proudly display this “Lucky to be an SLP!” wall art poster on the door of your therapy room, on a March-themed bulletin board or on your desk.

I’ve also created four-leaf clover “Lucky to be an SLP” badges. Laminate for durability and attach to your clothing with a pin or double sided tape. Proudly wear your badge on St. Patty’s day or any day you want to display your pride in your profession!

And I included something for your students as well.  Hand out the “Lucky to be Me!” badges for your students to wear when you wear yours! Then, use the character building chart included and have your students reflect on positive messages about themselves. Students can write or draw examples in each of the circles. Share and discuss responses within your group. This is a particularly fun and engaging activity for students working on social skills related to perspective taking, emotions and self-esteem!

And of course I needed to include a food-tivity in this post!

Magically Delicious Magic Squares:

(This portion was originally posted in March 2013. )

Please check for food allergies before conducting any food related projects with your students!

This month  I will be using Lucky Charms cereal to create Magic Squares!!   In fact, I loved this fun food-tivity so much, it inspired me to name one of my vocabulary products after it.  You can find it here!

Lucky Charms cereal has been around a long time (51 years to be exact)! The cereal has evolved over the years and the contents have changed with the times. The first boxes of Lucky Charms cereal contained marshmallows in the shapes of pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. Today you will find that several of the original marshmallow shapes no longer exist and have been replaced with new marshmallow charms such as hats, rainbows, balloons, pots of gold and horseshoes. The marshmallows are meant to represent Lucky’s (the leprechaun character on the cover of the box) magical charms, each of which having their own special meaning or “powers.”

Hearts – power to bring things to life

Shooting Stars – power to fly

Horseshoes – power to speed things up

Clovers – luck, but you will never know what kind of luck you’ll get

Blue Moons – power of invisibility

Rainbows – instantaneous travel from place to place

Balloons – power to make things float

Hourglass – power to control time

Here’s how I’m using the marshmallow charms in my therapy sessions with my older students:

After telling the students what the various shapes represent, they will get to pick a shape from a bowl and tell me how they would use that power. For example, if they pick a heart, (the power to bring things to life), I will ask them what they would bring to life if they had the power. This is a great way to work on higher level thinking tasks, problem solving, WH questions and story building!


Magic Squares


You will need:  5 cups Lucky Charms cereal, 3 1/2 cups marshmallows, 3 tablespoons butter

***Have a hotplate????  This activity is easy enough to make in the classroom/therapy room.  Please check for food allergies before completing a food-related activity at school!!!




This activity is a great way to work on sequencing, measuring and reinforcing action words like POUR, MIX, MEASURE, STIR, MELT, PRESS, CUT.



Add marshmallows and butter to a large pan.  Melt over low heat—stirring constantly until smooth and fully melted.

Observe the appearance of the marshmallows and butter BEFORE they melt……


………compare it to the mixture AFTER it has melted and discuss what happened and how it’s appearance has changed.


Pour marshmallow mixture over the cereal.


Mix well until all of the marshmallow mixture is evenly coating the cereal.


Press mixture into a well-greased 8X8 inch pan.  Butter your fingertips to help keep the cereal from sticking to your hands.


Let pan set until cool—place in refrigerator for a few minutes to help it set.


Cut into squares and enjoy your creation!!  I think I will go home and tell my family how lucky I was to make these Magic Squares in my therapy sessions this month!

…and I couldn’t resist taking a walk down memory lane–here’s a  Lucky Charms commercial circa 1980!!  


Want to share the reasons why YOU are #lucky2BEanSLP?

 Use the image below and post why YOU feel #lucky2BEanSLP on facebook, twitter or instagram!  Fellow “Frenzied SLP” Mia from Putting Words in Your Mouth has a simple step by step tutorial for adding your own text to the image so go check it out!


Product Swap & GIVEAWAY {Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits by Smart Speech Therapy, LLC}

Last February, I had the pleasure of participating in a “product swap” with  fellow SLP and blogger, Tatyana Elleseff .  I’m back again to review another of her fantastic products.

Tatyana is a bilingual SLP with a full time hospital affiliation as well as private practice in Central, NJ. She specializes in working with multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted as well as at-risk children with complex communication disorders. She presents workshops for a number of medical, academic, and non-profit organizations and writes articles for various specialized publications.

In case you’re not sure how this product swap works, we will review each other’s product on our respective blogs and then hold a giveaway for that product. Tatyana is reviewing a product from my TpT store:  The Healthy Heart and Language Mart.  I created it for American Heart Month in February, however it is perfect for any time of year since it sends such an important message regarding good health, fitness and nutrition to young people.   Be sure to check out the review on her blog!!  

February Language Building: The Healthy Heart & Language Mart

I reviewed Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in School Aged Children .  It is available for $13.99 in her product shop  This 61 slide presentation is filled with intervention strategies to use with school-aged students on your caseload suspected of having social pragmatic language deficits.  As an SLP who works primarily with middle and high school students, I address social pragmatic goals with several of the tweens and teens I work with.   Having this treatment packet on hand is a helpful reminder of which strategies might assist me in successfully meeting my students needs as I work toward helping them improve this vital communication skill. As a result of this review, I have gained some valuable background information, a few new strategies, and suggestions for materials that will help my students improve their social pragmatic skills.

treatment social pragmatic


This packet clearly outlines its purpose and goals which include:

1-Describing components of successful social skills treatments.

2-Listing common challenging behaviors and behavior strategies.

3-—Summarizing social pragmatic treatment approaches.

4-—Identifying materials that can be used to address treatment goals.

Tatyana brings to light the fact that social pragmatic deficits are often under diagnosed and under treated in the school setting and the reasons why this occurs.   It takes a team approach to identify and assist children who fall into this category.  Team members are identified and their roles are outlined.

The packet highlights and breaks down social pragmatic skills by levels: initial, intermediate, and advanced skills are included.   Do you work with students individually or in a group session when implementing social skills treatment? The differences between individual and group therapy approaches are pointed out.  I have several students that I work with individually on social skills.  There is definitely a difference in the way that I conduct my individual sessions versus group social skills in therapy. I appreciate that this product points out the differences in dynamics between the two therapy approaches.

What makes a  social skills therapy session successful and effective? Intervention approaches are clearly laid out to help set the groundwork and guide your sessions.  The packet then highlights the behavioral issues that are often an obstacle when addressing social pragmatic therapy.  It identifies types of behaviors and possible approaches to addressing some of these behaviors.

Social stories and scripts are one of the most effective ways of providing students with the necessary guidance for improving social skills.  The packet discusses social stories products and approaches that may benefit your students.   Additionally, within the realm of social pragmatic therapy, there are several targeted skills that SLPs address.  These areas are identified and include problem solving, pragmatics, (conversation skills,) and social emotional competence (perspective taking, big vs. little problems, flexible thinking), advanced listening comprehension (inferencing, predicting, drawing conclusions), narrative productions (sentence formulation, story grammar).

My favorite aspect of this packet is the comprehensive collection of social pragmatic resources that can be used with your students.  (The products are broken down by age/grade level which will be very  helpful when deciding which materials will best suit my middle/high school caseload.)  Programs from various vendors (Linguisystems/Super Duper), program developers (Michelle Garcia-Winner/Social Thinking) and apps/software are provided to help assist the new or seasoned SLP in making their therapy sessions a success.

Another very crucial aspect addressed in this packet is the importance of parental carryover.  Ways to address this all-important piece of the puzzle is included.

This product concludes with an appendix, consisting of seven pages, which provides a “snapshot” of all the areas discussed.  I plan on utilizing this helpful go-to resource by laminating, hole punching and securing it with a binder clip.  I will keep this information readily available as a tool for facilitating discussion when collaborating with teachers and meeting with parents.

If you are in need of some additional social pragmatic resources to supplement this product, Tatyana offers a wide range of packets for pre school and school age children.


You can find her Social Pragmatic Checklist for School Aged Children in her store:


A Social Pragmatic Assessment for School Aged Children product:

assessing social skills school children

A Social Pragmatic Checklist Sample for FREE:

SPD school checklsit sample

A FREE Social Pragmatic Checklist Sample for Preschool Children:

SPD preschool checklsit sample

A Social Pragmatic Deficits Complete Packet for preschool children:

preschool pragmatic checklist


It was a pleasure to review this product.  It provides a variety of strategies and materials for addressing social pragmatic skills across several age groups.   The information is clearly and thoroughly organized and explained.  It is also a great refresher for the therapist or educator who needs a go-to reference when planning therapy strategies and activities for students with social skills deficits on their caseload.

tatyana post pictre

You can visit Tatyana’s blog: and “like” her on Facebook:

Now for the giveaway! You can enter from Monday, March 2 through Wednesday, March 4 for a chance to win one copy of Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in School Aged Children.  Be sure to head over to Tatyana’s blog where she is giving away a copy of my Healthy Heart and Language Mart packet!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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