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Speech in the Schools

Book It, Pt. 22: Although I Don’t Like Snow...

Published February 13, 2012 9:00 AM by Sean Sweeney

Kids do! I was skimming the shelves at Barnes & Noble one day when I saw the cute little picture book "When it Starts to Snow," by Phillis Gershator and Martin Matje. The title instantly made me think, "temporal structure!" Through adorable illustrations and rhyming text, the book describes what a variety of animals do when it starts to snow: the cat stays in the window, the fish "lies low." As the text proceeds, your students will be poetically bombarded with a complex sentence structure describing varied wildlife reactions to snow.


Besides the focused stimulation involved in actually reading the book, there are a number of ways this book can be useful to SLPs:

-Perspective taking and causals. Discuss why each animal does what it does, and why grownups don't like the snow quite as much as kids do!

-Before reading the book, work on the "ow" word family. Brainstorm a list of words that rhyme with "snow."

-Pause on the page about the stoat for a teachable moment on inferencing, description and comparative language. I had no idea what a stoat was, but apparently it's a white sort of weasel.

-Use the hidden animals page to work on spatial concepts. Where are all the animals hiding? Do you see the snake inside the rock pile and the bat at the top of the cave?

-Organize the different animals into their categories. There are different schema you can employ (i.e. farm vs. home vs. mammals vs. birds vs. reptiles).

-Finally, use my Bingo cards! Made with Microsoft Office clip art, these can be used first as a receptive language game (again, incorporating the script in the file, a focused stimulation of temporal structures). Then have the kids take turns being the "callers" so that they can use verbs and temporal language to describe all the actions of the animals when the snow flies. There is a script and eight different cards, so you can easily use this when co-teaching in a classroom. Feel free to share!

Enjoy! I am quite glad we have seen very little of the white stuff up in Boston (knocking on wood). Next up: a book about "snow days," which, again, I'd be happy to be without!

Read more of Sean Sweeney at



Thank you so much.  My grandson and I will love playing this game!

Deloris October 14, 2013 11:49 PM
Reno NV

I have spent a fair amount of time here complaining about winter , so it's a good time to let you know

March 12, 2012 12:03 PM

Thanks for this nice article about WHEN IT STARTS TO SNOW! This is also to let you know that there is a big paperback edition for classroom use: 13 1/2" x 17 1/2". - Phillis Gershator

Phillis Gershator February 13, 2012 10:25 AM

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About this Blog

    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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