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Building Successful Lives Blog Celebration Raffle!

Building Successful Lives Blog Celebration Raffle!

Hey everyone! I hope all of you on the east coast are keeping warm after this weekend’s snow storm. Here in Atlanta, there was a light dusting of snow. With all the hype on the news, I decided to get some R & R on Saturday and stay indoors! It was great for a change! Now for the exciting news…

I am excited to tell you about my Building Successful Lives Blog Celebration Raffle. In honor of my 3rd Blogiversary, I will give away 3 products from my TPT store: Tamara Anderson plus an extra one in anticipation of a great year!  You will also have a chance to enter to win 12 other products generously donated from other SLPs. Many of them are also bloggers and they all sell their awesome products via Teachers Pay Teachers. I am honored that they are joining in on this celebration! I created 6 bundles and 6 lucky winners will receive FREE products in celebration of my 3rd year.

You have a chance to win a variety of articulation, speech fluency, receptive/expressive language, grammar, and social skills resources. They include informal assessments, games, no prep printables, and fun speech language therapy materials! 

The raffle starts late tonight and will last until Sunday! Make sure that you tell other speech-language pathologists about my celebration. I blog and make products to share my ideas and resources that I use in speech-language therapy with all of you! I hope that you find the information beneficial! Thanks again for your support of Building Successful Lives (BSL) Speech & Language.

Thanks to all the SLPs who sponsored this raffle! Here is a preview of the prizes!

Tamara Anderson

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3rd Blogiversary Celebration!!!!

3rd Blogiversary Celebration!!!!

Wow! Today is a special day because three years ago I started my blogging journey writing this Building Successful Lives blog. At that time,  I was in my 9th year as an SLP and completing my Education Specialist degree in Curriculum & Instruction. 

I enjoy staying current with best practices in speech-language pathology and education. I am committed to building successful lives of children with special needs. I believe that communication, language, and literacy are the foundation for kids’ success in school and in life. 

Over the past three years, I have truly enjoyed sharing my speech-language therapy activities, favorite children’s books, instructional products, and information for parents too on this blog! I am grateful for all of you that have read my blog, used my FREEBIES in therapy, and purchased my products. I look forward to sharing more evidence based therapy techniques and engaging activities for speech fluency, language, and literacy. These are my favorite areas to address in therapy and the majority of my current caseload revolves around these necessary skills. 

Make sure that you subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss out on the latest Building Successful Lives scoop! There will be plenty of new content in 2016 and products in my TPT store as well. 

To celebrate my new personal milestone, I will have some FANTASTIC giveaways of speech-language therapy products from some great SLP bloggers and TPT sellers very SOON! I will also raffle off some BSL products too! I don’t want you to miss out on a chance to WIN! 

Here’s a picture of Building Successful Lives, LLC founder and I. My mother, Dr. Jacqueline Anderson, is definitely a big inspiration for my desire to enrich the lives of children and families. She is a retired school psychologist, but still works as a licensed clinical psychologist with children, adults, and families in Florida. 

I appreciate your support since 2013! Check back soon to enter my 3rd Year Blogiversary Celebration raffle! You can check out my 1st post from 1/21/13 here and last year’s recap too! 

Tamara Anderson

January 2016 Sale-bration! 1/20th-1/21st

January 2016 Sale-bration! 1/20th-1/21st

I have some great news to share! My Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) curriculum store will be on sale this Wednesday and Thursday! I am joining in on the fun for the Start Your Year Inspired TPT sale! You can save 28 % when you enter the sale code, START16, when you checkout. This is a great way to gain immediate access to some great speech-language therapy and English/Language Arts products. Don’t miss out on purchasing my specially created resources if you haven’t already!! Make sure that you follow my blog this week because it is also my 3 year Blogiversary and there will be other EXCITING announcements!!!!

It’s always great to have new activities to use in speech-language therapy and time-saving progress monitoring tools too! As busy SLPs or educators, it’s helpful when we have a variety of effective materials to improve the communication, language, and literacy skills of children! Thanks for reading my blog today. Until next time…

Visit my curriculum store here!

Tamara Anderson


Product Feature: The Mitten Speech-Language Activities

Product Feature: The Mitten Speech-Language Activities

It’s now the third week of 2016 and it’s been a great, yet busy start of the year. The artic blast is in full effect here in Atlanta which makes for great winter story telling in speech-language therapy sessions. Here’s a snapshot of a few winter themed selections that I’m using in my speech language room this year. 

The Mitten, by Jan Brett, is one of my favorite stories to read aloud at this time of year. I recently created a speech-language activity pack with 5 extension activities to accompany this book. My students enjoyed the book as well as comprehension and vocabulary activities last week. 

This speech-language activities pack is geared towards improving the language comprehension, vocabulary, and speech articulation skills of children in 2nd-5th grade. The activities should be used after an SLP read aloud of the text. Select the activities that best correspond with the learning needs of children on your speech-language therapy caseload. The Mitten has an “accelerated reading” level of approximately 3.9, but may be used with students in 2nd-5th grade. 

Today I used my articulation word list while a student played my Winter Land Game in a group session. The student had her own copy while I provided auditory bombardment with verbal model of correct pronunciation. She had plenty of speech articulation practice with mixed /r/ words. Here’s a snapshot of a completed checklist. 

In this unit, you will receive:
1) WH questions worksheet with a field of 4 choices (text only)
2) 2 synonyms worksheets with 2 levels of terms and word bank
3) 2 antonyms worksheets with 2 levels of terms and word bank
4) 3 tier 2 vocabulary worksheets with words used in sentences; students write definitions based on context clues
5) 1 articulation worksheet with 5 wordlists for /s/, /sh/, /s/ blends, /r/, and /r/ blends
Here’s a snapshot of a few more winter themed books that I love reading aloud to my students. 

You can read more about my favorite winter themed selections here. Make sure that you get the digital download for The Mitten Speech-Language Activities in my TPT curriculum store
Thanks for reading my blog today! 
Tamara Anderson

Wrapping Up 2015! Thanks For Your Support!

Wrapping Up 2015! Thanks For Your Support!

Another year is quickly coming to a close! I truly appreciate the support of my fellow speech-language pathologists, educators, and parents who have read my blog this year. I share my ideas so that others will have strategies and activities to use in speech-language therapy, in the classroom, and at home to improve communication skills of children with special needs. 

It has been almost three years since I started this Building Successful Lives blog! I can’t wait for all the things that are in store in 2016! I would love for those who purchased curriculum material to leave feedback in my TPT store. I am going to give away some complimentary resources to a few lucky winners! The amount of prizes are TBD! 🙂 I am committed to making quality informal assessments, speech-language therapy activities, and E/LA common core aligned instructional materials. 

Enjoy the rest of 2015 and I wish you all the best in 2016! 

Tamara Anderson

Pete the Cat Holiday Freebie

Pete the Cat Holiday Freebie

My speech language students LOVE when I read Pete the Cat stories to them. The holiday themed book, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas is no exception! This book is great to read aloud with preschool and elementary school aged kids on your speech language caseload. I created a quick “wh” questions comprehension check that has a field of 4 choices.  You can access it in my TPT curriculum store.

Many of my students have IEP objectives that require them to answer literal questions from fiction text so this FREEBIE will be a great practice and work sample for that! I know many SLPs like having fun book companions with numerous activities, but I have found that sometimes it’s best to KISS.  With this complimentary worksheet, you can keep it simple by having a quick and functional activity after your read aloud in a 30 minute session.  I even used it with success in my moderate intellectual disability speech-language therapy groups! 

I appreciate you reading my blog today. When you download this resource, kindly leave feedback in my TPT curriculum store. Thanks in advance! 
Tamara Anderson

Cyber Sale 2015

Cyber Sale 2015

Hey everyone! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your family. I certainly enjoyed my week long break here in Atlanta and my family visiting from Florida. 

There is just one month left of 2015 so it’s a great time to stock up on speech-language therapy and educator resources for December and 2016! I have 2 winter themed products that target Tier I and Tier III English/Language Arts vocabulary. 

I also highly recommend my progress monitoring tools and bundles available in my TPT store. 

I also recently revised my FREE Parent Handouts for Communication Disorders. I also suggest you download my FREE Communication Success Tips for Colleagues to make sure that you maintain effective relationships at work. 

Have a great week! 

Tamara Anderson
Building Successful Lives

Building the communication, literacy, & life success of children


Parent Information for Communication Disorders {Free Resource Guide}

There are many times when parents ask me about communication disorders. They want to know if their child’s speech-language skills are where they should be developmentally. Recently, a friend of mind told me that her daughter received a speech language screening at her preschool. The results indicated that she needed further evaluation. I was concerned when she shared with me that the therapist expressed concern that a 3 year old was not pronouncing sounds such as /l/ and /r/. I immediately saw red flags because it is developmentally appropriate that not all kids will correctly pronounce these sounds at age 3. In fact, there are research based age ranges of typical speech sound development. Yes, some children may correctly pronounce sounds earlier and that’s great. However, the following are developmentally acceptable ages of sound acquisition.

Age 3- w, b, p, h, m, n

Age 4-  k, g, t, d, y, f

Age 5- all 3 & 4 year old sounds

Age 7- l

Age 8- j, ch, sh, r, th, s, z, v

Please note that different school districts also implement different eligibility criteria for providing speech therapy for speech sounds in error. If you have questions about if your child needs an evaluation, I suggest that you consult directly with a licensed speech-language pathologist in your area.

I also often get questions about what language skills are expected of children at certain ages. You can access more information about my recommendations from a previous blog post about developmental milestones. Click here

I created a few complimentary parent handouts that explain the difference between speech sound disorders and language disorders. In this resource you will also receive helpful hints for improving receptive and expressive language disorders. These tips are geared towards children in kindergarten-5th grade. This packet also has a list of interactive websites that kids can use to practice improving their language skills.

I strongly encourage parents to give their children opportunities to practice their communication and language skills at home. I may add to this resource in the future so make sure that you subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the right hand column of this page. You can access this FREE digital download in my TPT curriculum store.

Have a great week! I hope you have an excellent Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends this Thursday!

Tamara Anderson
Building Successful Lives


Product Feature: Wh Questions Progress Monitoring Tool

Product Feature: Wh Questions Progress Monitoring Tool

In May of this year, I realized that I needed to create a WH Questions Progress Monitoring Tool because so many children on my caseload were working on improving their language processing skills in this area. I provide therapy services for many children who have receptive/expressive language disorder with co-occurring autism, specific learning disability, and/or intellectual disability and struggle immensely with this skill.

This tool has really enabled me to improve my ability to take data prior to beginning intervention with kids and after several speech-language therapy sessions.

Last month, I expanded this tool from 6 progress monitoring forms with 75 question probes to 12 progress monitoring forms with 165 question probes to evaluate children’s ability to answer who, what, where, when, and why questions about everyday events. This informal assessment is ideal for use in therapy sessions with kids identified with a communication disorder and for children in the Response to Intervention (RTI) process.


This WH Questions Progress Monitoring Tool includes:

1) 25 Who Questions- 10 questions for baseline data elicitation and post intervention progress check; 5 questions for 2 week interval checks (3 of these) *same for what, where, when, and why Q’s
2) 25 What Questions
3) 25 Where Questions
4) 25 When Questions
5) 25 Why Questions
6) 40 Mixed Wh Questions- 25 questions for baseline data elicitation and post intervention progress check; 5 questions for 2
week interval checks (3 of these)

It is recommended that this tool is used prior to beginning language therapy or RTI instruction with a child on a targeted comprehension skill. Then, the SLP or teacher should give the included 5 question data check every 2 weeks to monitor progress. Next, the SLP or teacher should repeat the longer wh questions data check after 8 weeks or more to assess a child’s comprehension and oral expression skills in the targeted areas. Last, I have included a data summary form to record all data for easy review.

This essential informal assessment product is available in my TPT store.  Here is what some buyers had to say about it:

“Great product! I am an SLP at an elementary school and we do a lot of “Wh” questions. This is going to be a great way to progress monitor!”

Incredibly helpful assessment tool! 🙂

Great resource to use in the RTI process!

Thanks for reading the blog today. Make sure you purchase this essential tool to enhance your ability to take data. Click here to access a complimentary digital download of my one page WH questions freebie.

Tamara Anderson

Falling into Good Habits as a School SLP

Falling into Good Habits as a School SLP

I don’t know about you, but there are days when I certainly need a reminder to deliberately work on building good habits at work. We all know the saying that your thoughts become actions and then habits. However, how often do you really evaluate the impact that your thoughts, habits, and actions have on your work relationships and performance?

I decided to share my three tips that will keep you falling into good habits as a school based SLP. These are the tips that I shared at the beginning of the school year, but I know that we can benefit from a refresher so that we are continuously building successful lives of all our wonderful children with special needs.  

Tip # 1

By now I am sure that you have found your rhythm as far as providing group speech-language therapy sessions. There is always plenty to juggle along with typical direct intervention sessions. Evaluations. Therapy Sessions. Progress Notes. RTI. Progress Monitoring. IEP Meetings. Staff Meetings. SLP Department Meetings. Data Entry. Medicaid Billing. PTA Meetings. Etc. Etc.

I think that is critical to remember that each day as a speech-language pathologist you are called to provide the best therapy services to children and adolescents. Regardless of how many staff meetings you need to attend, bus duty days or extra hours you work, it is important to focus on the purpose that you serve. I believe wholeheartedly that we are all building successful lives of the children that we serve. Communication and language skills are in fact foundations for social, academic, and life success. What an awesome opportunity we have as SLPs to improve the communication and language skills of children with communication disorders! So on those days that seem so overwhelming, please remember to especially focus on the success of children.

Tip # 2 

Colleagues will be more productive collectively when a school culture of positivity is cultivated. You can help create and maintain this culture by your words, actions, and habits. Be mindful about the conversations you have in the staff lounge, email, hallways and in meetings. Yes, I understand that you will have days when something or someone really irks you. However, I recommend making an effort to understand another person’s perspective and help find solutions when challenges arise. Do your words build others up or tear them down? I also believe that you will feel refreshed when you refresh others. Everyone can use a little encouragement from time to time whether they think they need it or not. Make having an attitude of gratitude a part of your daily routine. Try it out and you’ll see how positivity and kindness can be contagious!  

Tip # 3 

You may help sponsor an extracurricular club, participate in a school fundraiser such as Relay for Life, attend PTA meetings, or school chorus concerts. Your speech-language therapy students and families will be so happy to see you outside of your usually role in the speech-language therapy room or classroom. I believe that doing so not only helps you further build rapport with children and families but also with your school community as a team player. As a speech-language pathologist, we need to educate colleagues and families about our job description but also demonstrate that we care about the success of all children in various avenues of their lives.  

I have some freebies in my TPT curriculum store that will remind you of these tips. Click here to access my 7 Keys for a Successful School Year and Communication Tips for Colleagues.  

I’d love for you to stay connected to me throughout the year. You may subscribe to my blog, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and/or follow me on Facebook. I look forward to keeping in touch via social media world! 🙂

Tamara Anderson