Working in the public school system is always a challenge when it come to holidays. As speech pathologists we want to talk about the appropriate vocabulary and culturally appropriate experiences children participate within their homes and communities. However, in this day and age, political correctness (and in my humble opinion over sensitivity to these matters) many times ties our hands and we are stuck with discussing “fall harvest” rather than Halloween. I don’t know about you, but teaching my students with ASD how to knock on someone’s door, and appropriately say “trick or treat” and “thank you” is so much more functional than talking about scarecrows and corn mazes. I, of course, believe we need to respect others’ beliefs, but I feel all of this can be balanced better in a more tolerable nature than what we current have. With that said, I am one person and cannot change the laws or district policies out there for many of you. BUT, I can try and give you an alternative way to discuss much of that same vocabulary via books that are “Halloween” themed without any mention of Halloween.
So, here are my go to books when I cannot discuss “Halloween” but I still want my students to come away with real culturally appropriate vocabulary:
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin: I LOVE this book for the fall season! (You WILL see this again in October…hint, hint…there’s a Freebie Friday post with Spookley’s name on it) This book has a great moral message about accepting others even when they are different than us. And of course a square pumpkin is super cute too!
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything: Who doesn’t love this book???? Oh the actions, sound words, repetition, sequencing activities that can be done just by reading this fun little book about a very brave old lady!
I Spy Pumpkins: You know I love my “I Spy” books from my previous post (if you haven’t read it, you can check that post out here). This is no exception. Looks creepy from the outside, but children with have lots of fun trying to spy some pumpkins in the midst of these “busy” pictures!
The Pumpkin Mystery: This book is a great chapter book. It’s simple but discusses how we plant and harvest pumpkins disguised in a fun, kid-friendly “mystery”. Great for predicting and inferencing as well as for retelling, discussing main idea, etc.
Five Little Bats Flying in the Night: This book is just like the 5 little Monkeys book but super fun for the fall! These silly bats will keep young children entertained while incorporating language and math in one!
Where’s My Mummy?: This a sweet book about a baby Mummy who’s looking for his mama. Of course you meet a few crazy characters (e.g. skeleton, vampire, etc.) along the way who teach us all about bedtime routine and in the end, our baby finds his mama!
Of course we can’t forget Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider!: Last year I wrote a few posts about using a spider theme in therapy and creating a human spider web. You can check them out here and here if you missed them!
The Spider and the Fly: I also like to use this book (my picture did not come out well on my camera so I had to use a pic from amazon) for my older students. It’s actually a poem about a Spider who tricks a fly to come into his “parlor” and he of course eats her. It is a bit dark, but my older students love to look at the illustrations and make predictions as to whether this fly will be fooled by the spider. This book is also good for my students with ASD as the spider says he wants the fly to come in for one reason or another, but of course that is not true. I like to teach my students to “listen to the spider’s voice” (as I read it in a “creepy” voice) and see if they can really figure out why the spider wants the fly to come inside. Sometimes it takes a while for our literal kiddos to really understand the true meaning of the spiders words.
Ok so that is my list of books you CAN read in the schools. You CAN discuss some really great culturally relevant vocabulary while skirting around the idea of “Halloween” and still teach some great language skills!
What do you think of my list? What are your favorite “Halloween” themed books you CAN read in school? Share below so we may all benefit!
Enjoy and happy talking!
I’m simply in awe of this article. How you were able to make this topic engaging is beyond my imagination. I am glad I got to read this. Thank you.