Monthly Archives: March, 2015

Untapped Resource: ESL Teachers

With over 15 IEP/RTI meetings the past two weeks, I have not been able to write a new post! Now that it is spring break (SO grateful!)…I have some time to provide some food for thought on…ESL Teachers.

¿Tienes muchos estudiantes que reciben clases de inglés como segunda lengua? I know I do! but in my journey in understanding how to better service my Spanish ELL students…I never thought to tap into the knowledge of the ESL teacher! My district had a presenter at a recent district meeting who mentioned  the importance in collaborating with the ESL teacher to gain more insight on the type of children that we encounter on our caseload. For example, ESL teachers (whether they speak the primary language of the children or not), may have exposure to students who have the same linguistic background as the ones on your caseload. For example, they can give you information regarding how a first grade student’s language ability is similar to his first grade peers within your school community.

I now have decided to not just include the ESL teacher’s input during assessments, but also when I am writing goals, quarterly progress notes, and conducting annual IEP meetings. They are a valuable resource since they are the other professional in the building that you can discuss second language acquisition skills with as well as the impact on academics!

Have you interacted with your ESL teachers lately? Let me know how in the comments!



Wordless Picture Books In Therapy

Happy Monday!

So, I LOVE incorporating books into my lessons because of the tremendous amount of value they have in facilitating language and articulation during therapy. This school year, I began using wordless picture books with my students–why I waited so long…I do not know?! Wordless picture books take things to another level, especially for English Language Learners (ELLs) because there! So it may seem a bit strange for someone unfamiliar with the benefit of wordless picture books to be inclined to ask, “Why use books with no words to teach language?”

Great question! I use them because with them, students can create their own stories in their own words–with respect to their cultural background as well as dialect. This gives me a window into the student’s ability (or lack thereof) to tap into background knowledge, vocabulary, inferencing, syntax and so much more! They are also great as part of your dynamic assessment toolkit; but more on that another day.

An article I found in preparation for this post is a really neat oldie but goodie by Flately & Rutland (1986). The title is: Using wordless picture books to teach linguistically/culturally different students. Its focus is on how to teach reading with the use of picture books, with some awesome strategies that I look forward to implementing with my non ELL students as well!

As I mentioned, I began using wordless picture books in therapy quite recently (better late than never, right?) and below are the ones I have used and ones that are on my list to use soon. Do you have any favorites?

Pancakes for Breakfast – Tomie dePaola
Good Night, Gorilla – Peggy Rathmann
Chalk – Bill Thomson
A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog – Mercer Mayer
Bee and Bird – Craig Frazier
Trainstop – Barbara Lehman

reference: Flately, K. & Rutland, A.D., (1986). Using wordless picture books to teach linguistically/culturally different students. The Reading Teacher, 40(3), 276-281.


Blog Building

Today, my focus was placing pictures and content on the different pages of the blog. I encourage you to check each one of them out! You will not be disappointed…unless you look at “SLP Cheat Sheets” :-). Since I am only a three day old blogger, I am still learning the mechanics and lingo of the blog world as well as deciding on what content I will upload for that page.

Let me know in the comments what you would like to see on the cheat sheets page.


Do you conduct your sessions in Spanish?

Now that this Spanglish SLP has finally decided to create a blog, my brain has been in overdrive with ideas and topics that would be beneficial to you as a reader! Since I work within the public school system, many of the topics will be specific to the pediatric population…specifically preschool through 5th grade since those are the grade levels I serve. I have a significant number of Spanish speaking preschoolers this year and I have found myself using more and more Spanish as part of my lesson; especially with the limited English speaking preschoolers.

Because I consider myself an intermediate Spanish speaker, I do have some confidence in administering simple directions and lessons (especially for my preschoolers) in Spanish. Very popular phrases that I find myself using are: “siéntate bien”, “espera un momentito” , “dime en inglés por favor”,  “¿y qué es esto en inglés?”, “repitemelo por favor”,  “¿estas escuchando?” and my favorite for my fidgety little ones “manos quietos.”

What are some of your most common phrases that you use in therapy?


¡Bienvenidos! Allow me to introduce myself!


Spain (JG)

I am a state licensed ASHA certified speech-language pathologist in a public school district in North Carolina. I have a very diverse caseload and particularly enjoy working with children who are English Language Learners (ELL) at the elementary level.

In undergrad, I participated in a short term study abroad program in Mexico where I traveled to various cities such as Guadalajara, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and Mexico City. The experience sparked an interest in learning the Spanish language outside the classroom walls and I found myself spending the summer after graduate school in Madrid, Spain as an English tutor. I will say that I learned the bulk of my Spanish during that immersion experience!

Now that I am married with two little girls, traveling is a bit more challenging, but my passion for the Spanish language and culture is still strong!

My goal with this blog is to share my experience as an English speaking SLP who works with Spanish ELL students. Look out for blog post topics that range from assessment and treatment ideas, goal writing, and any fun research articles I find, to app reviews, and any miscellaneous topics that relate to bilingualism.

I truly hope the information on this blog is resourceful to you as a reader, and you leave with a little more confidence on how to effectively service your caseload of bilingual Spanish students!