Party Animals! applications for Speech-Language Pathologists

Hello There! 

A bit about me to my fellow S-LPs:

I have worked almost exclusively with children with speech-sound disorders since I became an S-LP in 2015. My passion for this area of the field drove me to complete intensive training for motor speech disorders and Childhood Apraxia of Speech, including PROMPT Certification and the Apraxia Kids Bootcamp. My approach is heavily motor based and language rich. By motor based, I mean I select my targets based on a dynamic assessment, and I actively incorporate principles of motor learning (PMLs) into my therapy. I am watching for movement, and correcting errored movement while being mindful of massed and distributed practice, incorporating pre-practice, block and random practice, and carefully applying knowledge of results vs. knowledge of performance.

At the same time, I deeply appreciate that speech does not happen in a vacuum. While all speech is movement, that movement is successful when it relays meaningful messages and ideas. In other words, as you know, speech - when it is working well - is a vehicle for language.

Therefore, in therapy my targets are embedded into naturalistic language-rich contexts. When I’m working with kindergarten and elementary school children those contexts are often informed by picture books, and with older students I’ve used songs, or plays, or school projects that they are working on.

Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poems was designed as a useful tool for many students on an S-LP’s caseload:  

For children with motor speech disorders such as Childhood Apraxia of Speech or Dysarthria:

  • The poems are sound-loaded and repetitive. The words were deliberately chosen to include simple syllable shapes so that they are easier to master, thereby building in success for your students.
  • Each poem structure repeats the animal name on every line, while the descriptor for that animal varies. This way, for children whose motor speech is significantly impaired such that they need to work on a single target word, the S-LP can facilitate this using a cloze/fill-in-the-blank approach whereby the child completes the line solely with the animal name. (More block practice)
  • As children’s skills develop, they can extend that skill to the other words in the poem. (More random practice)
  • PROMPT trained S-LPs can zero in on the animals with the movement that your students need. - E.g. For jaw control using low vowels try Llama, for alternating planes of movement: moose, yak, baboon, wombat.  To work on lip rounding: hippo, baboon, toad, dodo. Lip retraction: Seagull, Zebra. At the level of lingual control: toad, dodo and narwhal are great for tongue tip control, sheep, cheetah, jaguar, and raccoon all assist with mid-tongue control, while  kiwi and gecko aim at back tongue control.
  • The Speech Movers and Shakers section of Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poemspairs movement image cues with a short explanation of how various sounds are made, and the speech sound features chart on page 31 provides a quick bird’s eye view of the salient features of the consonants addressed in the book.


For children with Phonological Processes

  • The sound loaded poems are perfect for auditory bombardment
  • For children who present with velar fronting Campsite Kiwi and Game Gecko offer loads of practice opportunities.
  • For children who present with stopping, City Seagull, Zoo Tube Zebra, Fashion Show Ferret, Vineyard Vulture, Shower Sheep, Theme Park Theropod, and Hotel Hippo can help!
  • Your student is backing? Practice /t/, /d/ and /n/ with Teatime Toad, Disco Dodo and Nursery School Narwhal
  • For students with deaffrication: Chain Store Cheetah, Gym Jaguar have over 40 practice words combined.
  • Road Trip Raccoon and Lemonade Stand Llama can help with gliding
  • For children with final consonant deletion the following poems have great targets:

Movie Moose: moose, mess, mitt, moon, mop.

Yardsale Yak: yak, hat, mat, yum.

Teatime Toad; toad, top, hat, tick, tock, time, (tea)pot, tip (it), (tea)cup, ten

Shower Sheep:   sheep, shoes, shake, shout, shine, shush, ship, shape


For children with Articulation Disorders:

  • The poems are broadly organized according to acquisition norms – poems highlighting early developing sounds like /p, b and m/ are at the beginning of the book, while poems highlighting later developing sounds like / ɹ/, / θ / or / ð/ come at the end of Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poems
  • Various aspects of the book can be applied to different stages of articulation therapy. The “Movers and Shakers” section offers word level practice for various consonants, each poem is written in short phrases, and the accompanying images facilitate sentence level practice.
  • For working on post-vocalic /ɚ/, flip through each of the pages and label professions/jobs (cashier, photographer, bus driver, janitor, tennis player, teacher, dancer, Zamboni driver)

For Children with structurally related disorders such as Cleft Palate:

Children with cleft palate often struggle with high pressure sounds and control of oral airflow. The following poems can be used to assist in practicing these targets when appropriate:

Poems to Practice High Pressure Sounds. I have listed words from the poems and/or their images that are especially helpful. In the words below, the challenging high-pressure sound is surrounded by easier low-pressure sounds.

/p/ Party Puppy – paw, pie, pin, pony, ping pong, pom pom, pal, pour (candy is pouring out)

/b/ Beach Babboon  - belly, ball, bee, boo boo, bow, bye, bell. banana,

/t/ Teatime Toad – tie, time, tall, two, twelve, tower, ten

/d/ Disco Dodo – deer, door, dine, dining, dollars, denim, done

 /k/ Campsite Kiwi -cool, calm, canoe, kiwi, koala, corn

 /g/ Game Gecko – gear, game, go, goon, goal, gap, guy

 /f/ Fashion Show Ferret – fan, foil, four, fairy, fur, fame, fine

 /v/  Vineyard Vulture – vine, veil, vow, valley, violin, van, lava, love

 /s/ City Seagull  - summer, sun, sign, sale, so long, CN

 /z/ Zoo Tube Zebra – zoom, zoo, zinnia, zen, zone, Zee

 /ʃ/ Shower Sheep – shower, show, shine, shimmer, shy, shell

 /tʃ/ Chain Store Cheetah – chain, charm, cherry, chilli, chum, cheer, chair, chin

/dʒ/ Gym Jaguar – jelly, gym, jolly, jungle, gem, join, January, June, July, joy

/ θ / Theme Park Theropod – theme, thorn, thin, thermos, thumb

For Children with Language Delays/Disorder:

Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poemscan be used to target:

  • Story grammar, narration and Sequencing: Each poem has a different WHO/WHAT/WHERE/WHEN to discuss. Poems can be extended using The Speak Boutique’s: What’s the Story? Story Telling Cards.
  • Vocabulary: Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poems is of course full of animal names – some very familiar (e.g. puppy), and others less familiar (vulture, theropod). Many poems also include Tier II vocabulary words (e.g. gulp, vanish, voyage, shimmer).
  • Verb conjugation. All the Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poemspoems are action-packed, which opens many doors to working on regular and irregular verb conjugations.


For Children with Fluency Disorders:

Practice Full Breath Target using the /h/ words in Hotel Hippo

All the poems can be used to practice a stretched syllable target

These poems are helpful for practicing gentle or easy onset target:

/l/ Lemonade Stand Llama, /m/ Movie Moose, /n/ Nursery School Narwhal

/ ɹ/ Road Trip Raccoon, / θ / or / ð/ Theme Park Theropod

/f/ Fashion Show Ferret, /v/ Vineyard Vulture

/z/ Zoo Tube Zebra, /j/ Yard Sale Yak, /w/ Waterpark Wombat

The following poems can be used to practice light contact targets with fricatives:

/h/ Hotel Hippo, /f/ Fashion Show Ferret, /s/ City Seagull, /ʃ/ Shower Sheep, /tʃ/ Chain Store Cheetah,

/θ/ Theme Park Theropod

The following poems can be used to practice light contact targets with stops:

/p/ Party Puppy, /b/ Beach Baboon, /t/ Teatime Toad, /d/ Disco Dodo, /k/ Campsite Kiwi, /g/ Game Gecko

Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poems can supplement your fluency materials. For excellent fluency training, I highly recommend The Fluency Plus Program offered by The Speech and Stuttering Institute. 

Supporting Literacy Skills

S-LPs are well aware that a significant body of research points to strong phonemic awareness skills as integral to successful reading intervention. This is especially important for children with Speech Sound Disorders who are at increased risk for literacy acquisition challenges. (For an excellent resource, see Dr. Farquharson’s Tutorial “It Might Not Be “Just Artic”: The Case for the Single Sound Error”).   Party Animals! lends itself to the phonemic awareness skill of initial phoneme isolation and identification. S-LPs can also incorporate activities for blending, segmenting with any of the poems or images on the “Movers and Shakers” pages. The Speak Boutique’s What’s that Sound? Speech Sound Cards can be used to extend phonemic awareness practice. The deck includes instructions for 6 phonemic awareness activities recommended by Dr. Gail Gillon.

Working with children in Pairs/Groups:

When working with a Speech Sound group, consider assigning each child a poem relevant to their targets. You can then extend group discussion by comparing and contrasting the characters, settings, and events in each of the poems. If you are in a school setting where you frequently work with groups, consider purchasing more that one copy so that each child can follow along from their own book. 

 Speaking to Parents and Teachers

 Party Animals! A Wild Collection of Speech Sound Poems includes several resources that are helpful when discussing speech and language with parents and teachers. The Speech Sound by Age illustration is based on the recent (2018) McLeod and Crow review (and is also available as a separate poster in the The Speak Boutique shop). S-LPs can use this chart to explain whether a child’s errored sounds are expected for their age. The Speech Movers and Shakers page includes images of mouth shapes that can be helpful in explaining how sounds are made. The sounds are grouped by place of articulation, and also according to voiced/voiceless cognates. This can be helpful for explaining how some sounds are made similarly with the exception of one being “loud” (voiced), and the other “quiet” (voiceless). The Notes to Teachers and Educators at the back of the book also elaborates on the distinction between phonemic awareness vs. phonics , and highlights applications of the book for speech sounds production, vocabulary and story telling.


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