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Speech, Language, and Literacy Fun with Karma Wilson’s “Bear” Books

In my previous posts, I’ve shared my thoughts about picture books being an excellent source of materials for assessment and treatment purposes. They can serve as narrative elicitation aids for children of various ages and intellectual abilities, ranging from pre-K through fourth grade.  They are also incredibly effective treatment aids for addressing a variety of speech, language, and literacy goals that extend far beyond narrative production.

In the past, I’ve shared several posts regarding how to incorporate both fiction and nonfiction picture books into contextual language intervention sessions, with the most recent posts describing how I incorporate Helen Lester‘s as well as Julia Cook‘s picture books into therapy sessions.

Today I wanted to share how I implement books by Karma Wilson into my treatment sessions with preschool, kindergarten aged, as well as early elementary aged children.

Though these books are intended for younger children (3-8 years; pre-K-3rd grade), older children (~10 years of age) with significant language and learning difficulties and/or intellectual disabilities can significantly benefit from reading/listening to them and enjoy working with them as well.

Much like Helen Lester’s books, Karma Wilson’s books possess tremendous versatility with respect to what goals can be targeted via their use.


  • Ms. Wilson’s books are terrific for discussing a variety of seasonal events and happenings.
    • Bear Feels Sick’, ‘Bear Feels Scared’ and ‘Bear Says Thanks‘ take place in the fall.
    • Bear Can’t Sleep’, ‘Bear Stays Up’, and ‘Bear Snores On‘ take place in the winter.
    • Bear’s New Friend’ and Bear’s Loose Tooth‘ take place in the Spring and Summer.
  • They are great for discussing illness and visits to the dentist (‘Bear Feels Sick’ and Bear’s Loose Tooth’), hibernation ( ‘Bear Snores On‘), holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas (‘Bear Says Thanks‘ and ‘Bear Stays Up‘).
  • They are also great for select social themes such as feeling frightened and making new friends (‘Bear Feels Scared’ and ‘Bear’s New Friend’).
  • Finally, ‘Bear Wants More‘ is great for working on nutrition as well as on making healthy food choices, in addition to reviewing a variety of food groups as well as food categories.

Speech Production: Bear books are terrific for the production of a variety of sounds in words in sentences including /r/ in all books, /s/ (‘Bear Feels Sick’, ‘Bear Feels Scared’), /th/ (‘Bear Says Thanks‘ ), etc.

Language: There are numerous language goals that could be formulated based on Karma Wilson’s books including answering concrete and abstract listening comprehension questions, defining story-embedded vocabulary words, producing word associations, synonyms, antonyms, and multiple-meaning words (semantic awareness), formulating compound and complex sentences (syntax), answering predicting and inferencing questions (critical thinking), gauging moods and identifying emotional reactions of characters (social communication), assuming characters’ perspectives and frame of reference (social cognition, theory of mind, etc.), identifying main ideas in text (Gestalt processing) and much, much more.

  • Select Highlights:Vocabulary: For the ages/grades that there’ve written for (3-8 years; pre-K-3rd grade), Ms. Wilson’s books are laden with a wealth of sophisticated vocabulary words such as vale, crooked, trail, lumbers, prowl, howl, spooks, wails, dimmer, squeaks, lair, roam, perch, prepare, trembles, longs, flounce, squawk, cluster, etc. (From the ‘Bear Feels Scared’ book)
  • Social Communication: ‘Bear’s New Friend’, ‘Bear’s Loose Tooth’, and ‘Bear Says Thanks’ are especially terrific for addressing a variety of social themes such as rules of politeness, making new friends (and accepting them for who they are), as well as helping out friends in difficult circumstances.

Literacy: Similar to the above, numerous literacy goals can be formulated based on these books. These include but are not limited to, goals targeting phonological (e.g., rhyming words, counting syllables in words, etc.) and phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency and comprehension, spelling, as well as the composition of written responses to story questions.

  • Select Highlights:
    • Phonics: Students can practice reading words containing a variety of syllable shapes as well as decode low-frequency words containing a variety of consonantal clusters (From the ‘Bear Feels Sick’ book: achy, autumn, stuffed, sneezes, heap, wheezes, whiffs, mutters, mumbles, moans, broth, squeezes, whispers, cloth, gopher, coax, herbs, smidgen, fuss, fret, etc. 
    • Morphology: There’s a terrific opportunity to introduce a discussion on simple affixes when using Ms. Wilson’s books to discuss how for example, select suffixes (e.g., –s, -ly, ‘ed, etc.) can change root words.  (From the ‘Bear Stays Up’ book: soundly, stays, gathered, etc.) 
    • Spelling: There is a terrific opportunity for children to practice spelling numerous spelling patterns to solidify their spelling abilities. From the ‘Bear’s New Friend’ book:  -00-, -ee-, -ea-,-oo-, -oe-, -ou-, -le, -ff-, -mm-, -tt-, etc.

As mentioned in previous posts, when working with picture books, I typically spend numerous sessions working with the same book. That is because research indicates that language disordered children require 36 exposures  (as compared with 12 exposures for typically developing children) to learn new words via interactive book reading (Storkel et al, 2016). As such, I discuss vocabulary words before, during, and after the book reading, by asking the children to both repeatedly define and then use selected words in sentences so the students can solidify their knowledge of these words.

I also spent quite a bit of time on macrostructure, particularly on the identification and definitions of story grammar elements as well as having the student match the story grammar picture cards to various portions of the book.

When working with picture books, here are some verbal prompts that I provide to the students with a focus on story Characters and Setting

  • Who are the characters in this story?
  • Where is the setting in this story?
  • Are there multiple settings in this story?
  • What are some emotions the characters experience throughout this story?
  • When did they experience these emotions in the story?
  • How do you think this character is feeling when ____?
    • Why?
    • How do you know?
  • What do you think this character is thinking?
    • Why?
    • How do you know?
  • What are some actions the characters performed throughout the story?
  • What were the results of some of those actions?

Here is a sampling of verbal prompts I provide to the students with a focus on story Sequencing 

  • What happened at the beginning of the story?
    • What words can we use to start a story?
  • What happened next?
  • What happened after that?
  • What happened last?
  • How do we end a story?
  • What was the problem in the story?
  • Was there more than one problem?
    • What happened?
    • Who solved it?
    • How did s/he solve it?
  • Was there adventure in the story?
    • If yes, how did it start and end?

Here is a sampling of verbal prompts I provide to the students with a focus on Critical Thinking Image result for bear says thanks

  • How are these two characters alike/different? (compare/contrast)
  • What do you think will happen next? (predicting)
  •  Why/How do you think ___ happened (inferencing)
  • Why shouldn’t you, couldn’t s/he ____ ? (answering negative questions)
  • What do you thing s/he must do to ______? (problem-solving)
  • How would you solve his problem? (determining solutions)
  • Why is your solution ______ a good solution? (providing justifications)

Here is a small sampling of verbal prompts I provide to the students with a focus on Social Communication and Social Cognition 

  • How would you feel if ____?
  • What is his/her mood at ____ point in the story?
    • How do you know?
  • What is his/her reaction to the ____?
    • How do you know?
  • How does it make you feel that s/he are _____?
  • Can you tell me two completely different results of this character’s actions?
  • What could you say to this character to make him/her feel better?
    • Why?
  • What would you think if?

At times, I also use select Free TPT resources to supplement my sessions with book-related visuals as related materials.

There you have it! Just a few of the reasons why I really like using Karma Wilson’s books for language and literacy treatment purposes with younger children. How about you? Do you use any of her books for treatment purposes? If yes, comment below which ones you use and why do you use them?


Helpful Related Smart Speech Therapy Resources: 

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Birthday Giveaway Day Thirteen: Corduroy Book Companion

corduroyIt’s DAY 13 of my Birthday Month Giveaways and I am raffling off a giveaway by Gold Country SLP , which is a  Corduroy Book Companion

This delightful 49 page packet is based on the book Corduroy by Don Freeman and designed to accompany it by targeting receptive and expressive language skills based on the content of the book.
Product Contents:

  • Vocabulary cards
  • Definition cards
  • Story Sequencing cards
  • Sequencing words cards (first, next, then, etc.)
  • Comprehension Question cards
  • Social Skill/Pragmatic Questions & Scenarios
  • Story Props for retelling
  • Game board
  • Yes/no questions with icons designed to enable a point-to response
  • Story maps for different levels of function
  • Grammar activities targeting pronouns: has/have

You can find this product in Gold Country SLP TPT store by clicking HERE or you can enter my giveaway for a chance to win.
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Birthday Giveaway Day Nine:If You Take a Mouse to School Book Companion and add-on

On DAY 9 of my Birthday Month Giveaways I am raffling off a giveaway by The Speech Bucket, which is a  “If you take a mouse to school” book companion AND an Add-on Activity. That’s right not one but two great activity packet’s with everyone’s favorite mischievous mouse.

If you take a mouse to school 17 page packet includes activities that target sequencing, story retell and comprehension (with and without picture support), basic language concepts, following directions, and much more (e.g., board game, bingo, writing, etc.)

Add-on Activity has adorable pictures that go with what the mouse sees when you take him to school, beach, and farm.  In short these 2 activity packets have lots of nice materials to last you at least several sessions.

You can find these products in  The Speech Bucket TPT store by clicking HERE and HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.
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Birthday Month Extravaganza: Week Two Giveaway Lineup

Birthday GraphicIn case you haven’t read my previous post on this topic, my birthday is in October so I decided that it will be fun to give away one product every day of the month (well almost). My SLP colleague bloggers and TPT sellers thought the same, so they donated many exciting materials and products for me to give away all throughout the month of October.

Every 7 days I will be posting a schedule of giveaway products as a jpeg with embedded pdf file containing links to the donor’s blog and product being given away so you’ll know in advance which giveaway you’d like to enter.

Below is a WEEK TWO lineup. Take a look at the posted schedule and decide whether you want to enter a few giveaways or all of them, it’s really up to you!   Each giveaway will last only one day so you better keep up because if you blink you’ll miss it!

bd week 2

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Birthday Giveaway Day Seven:Three Little Pigs Book Companion

The First Birthday Giveaway Week  wraps up with Three Little Pigs book companion giveaway from Home Sweet Speech Room.

This enormous 60 page companion pack contains activities for speech, language, and literacy. Materials include: sequencing cards, comparing and contrasting activities, question formulation, character vocabulary cards, comprehension questions, true/false cards, articulation cards, and much much more. Its perfect for working on some many different speech, language, and literacy goals and the materials will easily last you for 3-5 sessions!!

You can find this product in her TPT store by clicking HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Birthday Giveaway Day Three: Fall Into Speech and Language Pack

Today I am  bringing you DAY 3 of my Birthday Month Giveaways by raffling off a Fall into Speech and Language Pack from Felice the author of thedabblingspeechie blog.   

Included in this pack are various craftivities (tree, apples, leaves, turkey) and materials to target categories, multiple meaning words, articulation and synonyms/antonyms for older elementary children. A vocabulary sheet with the definitions of the multiple meaning words is also provided for the SLP.

Included articulation targets:

  • /f/ in initial medial and final position (written support without picture cards)
  • /s/ in initial medial and final position  (written support without picture cards)
  • /k/ in initial medial and final position  (written support without picture cards)
  • /l/ in initial medial and final position  (written support without picture cards)
  • /sp/, /st/ and /sw/ blends (written support without picture cards)

Included semantic flexibility targets: 

  • Categories (written support without picture cards)
  • Multiple meaning words (written support without picture cards)
  • Synonyms (written support without picture cards)
  • Category cards and mats (with written support and picture cards)

You can find this product in her TPT store by clicking HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.
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Birthday Giveaway Day Two: Book Companion for Fall Leaves Fall

Today I am  bringing you DAY 2 of my Birthday Month Giveaways by raffling off a book companion to Zoe Hall’s “Fall Leaves Fall” created by Kathy Grover of Speech All the Time blog.  

I absolutely love Kathy’s products for a number of reasons: they are TRULY thematic, engaging, and comprehensive. She also just happens to create book companions to some of my favorite children’s books of all time, and this product is no different.

This 35 page packet contains detailed lesson plans, materials and activities for a number of sessions (at least 3+) and is perfect for the preschool-early elementary age population.

She includes picture cards for some commonly associated fall words (e.g, football, apple cider, etc.), seasonal signs cards to identify the seasons by activities and items, a variety of games, mats, and color cards, two different levels of comprehension questions of reduced (with visual support) and increased complexity (without visual support), story based vocabulary words with antonyms (e.g, throw, pointy, etc) as well as some grammar (irregular past tense verb cards) and articulation (/k/ words and sentences) card activities.

You can find this product in her TPT store by clicking HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.

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Birthday Giveaway Day One: Book Companion for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

lady leaves Today I am very exited to start DAY 1 of my Birthday Month Giveaways by raffling off a giveaway by Figuratively Speeching SLPwhich is a book companion to Lucille Colandro’s “There was an old lady who swallowed some leaves”.

This is a lovely 33 page supplemental packet to the book which includes a variety of activities aimed at improving the student’s auditory processing (following one, two-step directions,and conditional directions), listening comprehension (story questions), vocabulary knowledge and use, sequencing ability, story retelling ability, phonological awareness skills (identifying the first sound in vocabulary words), articulation abilities (word lists and homework pages) and much much more. You can find this product in her TPT store by clicking HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.

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Who Doesn’t Like Keiko Kasza? A Book Companion Review and Double Giveaway

badger cover

Those of you who follow me, know that I LOVE book companions.  I think that they are a great way of supplementing children’s literature in a meaningful and enriching ways. I also love certain children’s authors and Keiko Kasza just happens to be on the top of that list.

Her books just have so much to offer! Bright engaging illustrations, sophisticated vocabulary words, lots of humor and irony, you name it. That is why I was so excited to do a material swap with Kathy Grover from Speech All the Time. Kathy is currently reviewing my Language Difference vs. language Disorder” packet on assessment and treatment of bilingual and multicultural children, and I am reviewing her “Badger’s Fancy Meal” by Keiko Kasza book companion packet.

Let me start off by noting that the packet contains complete lesson plans and activities for 4 sessions. This is very detailed for a companion packet since most of them are not designed to be that comprehensive. It’s also a feature which definitely makes Kathy’s companion packet stand out from the crowd.

The beauty of the packet is that you can use the lessons as is, especially if you are a grad student or a CFY who is just starting out in our profession and needs a bit more structure and guidance.

You could also make the lessons shorter to suit the needs of your students. Whichever way you decide to go Kathy does recommend that the activities be presented in order since they build upon each other.

Now lets proceed to the packet contents:

Activities include:

  • Animal Facts
  • Vocabulary Words
  • Context Clues
  • Craft Activity
  • Game with Game Cards focused on answering “wh” questions related specifically to the story (awesome thematic activity)
  • Sequencing Activity

Using the above material you can use the packet in innumerable ways!

You can teach new information, predicting and inferencing skills, new vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words and idioms. You can build oral narratives and story retelling skills.

If you are working with a group of students you can put up a play in which kids play different story characters and have to act out the book. And of course you can always use the game to focus on comprehension of -wh questions to reinforce vocabulary and story knowledge.

This great companion has so much to offer and you can find it for a mere $4.75 in Kathy’s TPT Store.

As I mentioned previously Kathy is currently reviewing my Language Difference vs. language Disorder packet on her Blog.

So we decided to do a Raflecopter giveaway of these products on our respective blogs! She’ll be giving away her  Badger’s Fancy Meal packet on her Blog. while I’ll be giving away my  Language Difference vs. language Disorder packet  on mine.

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If you give a mouse a cookie, it will want some phonemic awareness to go with it

I love book companion packs! Honestly I can’t get enough of them!

One of the reasons I particularly enjoy using them is because they nicely supplement thematic language therapy activities (see Twin Sister’s Post HERE on thematic therapy).  This is why I jumped at the opportunity to review Speech Universe’s  If You Give A Mouse A Cooke Phonemic Awareness Packet.

Phonemic Awareness activities are incredibly important for young (Pre-K-1st grade) language impaired learners.  They are especially important for children from low SES households as well as young  limited English proficiency learners.

Jen’s packet is terrific at addressing a number of phonemic awareness skills including: