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  • Mandi-updated 9/5/2017

What's the Deal with Talk Like a Pirate Day? Ideas for Speech Therapy!

If you are in the SLP online world, you probably see a ton of posts, resources, and hype about International Talk Like a Pirate Day every September. If you are wondering about why it is such a big deal, you've come to the right place.

A little history on the holiday....

International Talk Like a Pirate Day ( September 19) is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate. For example, an observer of this holiday would greet friends not with "Hello," but with "Ahoy, matey!" (source: The Original Talk Like A Pirate Day Web site, by John Baur and Mark Summers). Here is a picture of the founders themselves! Read the story on exactly how this all started here!

As you can see, this holiday was created all in fun and that is why SLPs and teachers around the world embrace it. For SLPs, it also has a hidden agenda of promoting one of the most difficult sounds to remediate "ARRRRRRRRGH" (vocalic /ar/).

Many students on our caseloads struggle with the vocalic /r/ and this day is a great way to emphasize that sound (and to get extra practice in!).

Why join in on Talk Like a Pirate Day? MOTIVATION! This is such an easy way to change up your normal routine and motivate you students to learn. My students LOVE pirate week and look forward to all of the fun activities to work on their goals and objectives!

How you can participate as an SLP or a teacher?

Do a pirate theme the whole week! I create mini pirate-ships out of cardboard boxes, do pirate scavenger hunts, read pirate themed books, do pirate crafts, dress like a pirate, talk like a pirate, and more.

Here are some of my favorite pirate resources and ideas. Tip: Click on any picture or underlined text to get a link!


Colorful Treasure Basic Concepts Coloring book. A cute FREEBIE for working on basic concepts such as: numbers, positional vocabulary, and colors.

Pirate Speech and Language Drill Mat by Panda Speech. This can be used with ANY goal! Just practice and make a doubloon! I use play-doh, dot marker, or bingo chips with this

Perfect for perfecting your students' "arrrrrghhh" Full version available with pre-vocalic /r/, /er/, /air/, /ear/, /or/, /ire/, & /rl/.

by Peachie Speechie. These mats pair with the popular game Pop the Pirate! She has a full version too !

by Tech N' Talk SLPs. These are great to have on hand to compliment your pirate themed lesson. It comes with sheets for r, l, & s.

Pirate Categories Cards. 18 great cards to practice naming the category and naming items in a category. (Full version available too with 54 cards)

by Peachie Speechie. Try to get 100 trials each session with these fun pages. They are ink friendly and no prep! You can use them with any speech or language goal.

You can also get some FREE pirate coloring pages from DTLK here

Busy Bee Kids also has FREE pirate print-ables (word searches, coloring pages, connect the dot etc...)

Pirate Games!!

My favorite games to use during pirate week are Pop the Pirate, Don't Rock the Boat, and

The image on the left is my Pirate Drill Sheet and the image on the right is Peachie Speechie's Popping Pirate Speech Mats

My Favorite Pirate Books

I love using book companions with these books (makes therapy planning super easy!)

Check out the No PREP ANY pirate book companion by Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room. This pack comes with vocabulary worksheets, pronoun worksheets, "build-ables" (see picture), articulation reinforcer pages, story retell, and more! This makes planning super easy!

Need and interactive and adaptive book to use with young students? Try my lift-a-flap Where's the Treasure book! This book is highly engaging and has multiple interactive elements.

Parrot Positions Positional Vocabulary Mini-Unit. Get two books (expressive and receptive language) to target positional vocabulary with a fun pirate theme! Also comes with a following directions game, flash cards, and visual support boards.

A good friend introduced me to this book and I am "hooked" (pun intended). The students choose what happens in the story with moveable pictures (right up an SLP's alley!) Get it from Discovery Toys here!

TPT Quick or No-Prep Resources

No-Prep Pirate Language Pack. This packet targets associations, categories, following directions, positional vocabulary, compare/contrast, antonyms/synonyms, subject-verb agreement, & more! This also comes in a BUNDLE with No-Prep articulation pages!

Pirate WH Questions by Peachie Speechie. These are great no-prep worksheets to target a variety of wh questions.

Get your little pirates up and moving with this fun following directions pack! I love that it has 1, 2, & 3 step directions! Pirate Says by Sparklle SLP

Pirate Treasure Maps by Peachie Speechie! I am so excited about these! Work on articulation skills and then roll them up and send them as homework! My students are going to be so proud carrying their treasure maps home!

Inferencing & Vocabulary This is a fun and motivating game for older students working on these skills. The SLP Runner has many great products for older students!

Over the past year (2016-2017) I have put out a line of color by symbol worksheet products to target articulation and language skills for elementary aged students. I recently added to the series with a pirate version for articulation. Pirate Color by Symbol Articulation

Feed the Pirate Activity by Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room. This adorable activity is great to pair with sensory bins! She has a freebie on her blog, you can find it by clicking HERE

Pirate Crafts

Check out this new no prep craft by Panda Speech. Buried Treasure Articulation is a simple cut & paste craft to work on articulation (the articulation words are on the gold coins).

Jenn Alcorn from Crazy Speech World has these cute pirate patterns in a craft pack in her TPT shop! I used them to decorate my door after the students made them. See it here!

I found this idea on Pinterest this year! We are making these this year! I am going to have the hats drawn up and ready to cut for my students before hand. How adorable is this!

Another fun Pinterest find! I think it would be fun to use these to hook speech cards on rings!

Pirate Style (of course!)

(my son at age 4)

I am a big fan of dressing up (I work mostly with young students) and it is so easy to do for pirate week. If you don't want to go all out (with a full costume), here are some easy ways to get festive! (The photo above is my son at age 4).

Eye Patches: You can get these on Amazon for cheap in packs of 12! I have also seem them in the party section at Target .

Bandana: Find a red bandana and tie it around your head and you're done!

Pirate T-Shirt: These shirts from Peachie Speechie are my favorite (I own both of them)!!

I also love this shirt I found on Amazon this year. It was super affordable and it's hilarious! Click on the image below to see it! (disclosure: affiliate link)

Paper Pirate Hats: I always look on Amazon first (Prime shipping!) but you can find pirate hats at most party stores. You can also make your own (make it a therapy craft!).

I found a step by step guide with a template at this DIY website. Click here to see it!

Other Fun Pirate Stuff

Pirate Apps!

Articulate It! by Smarty Ears. This is my all time favorite full articulation app! Did you know you can change the theme in the app? They have a pirate theme (pictured to the left)! How fun is that! The parrots squawks when you take data (you can turn it off in the settings, but the kids like to hear it for a few times).

This is a new app by Home Speech Home! It is a pirate theme articulation game! It is called Articulation Hunt! I have downloaded and played around with it, looks great! We will test it out during pirate week.

Pirate Cam and Make Me a Pirate are both fun and easy to use apps that turn you into a pirate. I let my students use it at the end of the session! I have even let them print (in black & white) to take home! I "pirate-ized" my school picture last year (ha ha what else am I supposed to do with it).

Scribblebeard's Treasure app for the iPad: This is a highly motivating app that your students will love! They get to finish drawing scenes in the story and then their drawings animate and move around the screen!!

The Pirate's Treasure matching game by Wombi. This app is available for iPhone, iPad, or android devices. It is great for memory skills, expressive identification, and just fun!

Pirate You-Tube Video: If you have a Smart Board or projector, you could play A Pirate You Shall Be from Just Dance Kids: Get the kids up and moving with this fun dance!

Hungry Pirates game by PBS Kids: This game is great for following directions, number identification, counting, and more!

This guy is always a hit in my speech room! He repeats what you say in a funny pirate voice and flaps his wings. I have my articulation students say 3 speech words for him to repeat! (Disclosure affiliate link)

I hope I have inspired you to get involved this September 19th! I would love to hear how you participate in this fun holiday (tell me in the comments!).

I will be sending out an exclusive pirate themed FREEBIE in my newsletter in September. Make sure you are subscribed! Click HERE

Follow my on Facebook or Instagram during pirate week to see all of my pirate week fun and even more ideas! In my speech room we will be celebrating September 18th-22nd

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