Effective Year Round Speech-Language Therapy Materials {Top 15 List}

It’s official. This has been my busiest year working in the school system EVER! I have evaluated numerous students, provided direct speech-language therapy services for children in 1st-5th grade, served as one of my district’s team leaders, supervised a new SLP for her Georgia license. It’s been a great year overall despite it being hectic at times. There are just 19 days remaining for students!

Now that the end of the year is quickly approaching and my plate is not as full, I can reflect a bit about this school year. I always make sure that I have my frequently used materials literally within arms reach on the bookshelf by my therapy table. 

I thought that you would like to know my top 15 effective speech-language therapy materials that I use year round. The students on my caseload have made progress on their IEP objectives using these resources. I purposefully did not include Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) products or iPAD apps because I think those are worthy of a separate post. ūüôā Ok. Here is my top 15 list of effective year round materials categorized by disorder. I’ve listed the publisher in parentheses if you want to purchase the items (and no I don’t work for Super Duper Publications or other companies…lol). 

Articulation/Phonology:
1) Webber’s Jumbo Articulation Book (Super Duper)
*Sometimes it’s best to KISS. Keep it so simple. This book is speech gold. It’s perfect for therapy and home practice. Plus, I had very few students with articulation or phonology disorders on my caseload so it was a great grab and go activity for speech sound drill work.

Speech Fluency/Pragmatic Language: 
2) What Do You Say…What Do You Do…At School? (Super Duper)
*This is an excellent social skills game board. Kids can learn how to solve problems for real life scenarios.  This game is great for kids to practice speech fluency strategies with oral reading, answering questions, and overall conversation. 

3) The School-Age Child Who Stutters: Working Effectively with Attitudes and Emotions (Stuttering Foundation)
*I LOVE that this product has practical ideas for addressing the emotional aspects for children who stutter. I have several 1st-5th grade students on my caseload who stutter. They use components of this book to add pages to their personal fluency books that we create throughout the year. Their books have a ton of information about stuttering, their feelings, strategies, and therapy practice exercises. 

Semantics/Sentence Building/Grammar:
4) Picturing Vocabulary Cards (Gander Publishing)
*These cards are ideal for labeling Tier I every day vocabulary, working on categorization skills, describing words, identifying attributes, and expressing simple sentences (e.g. I see the _____, I  have the _______). 

5) Webber Photo Cards- Verbs
*The title says it all, but I use these cards ALL the time. My students typically practice present progressive verb sentences with these cards (e.g The boy/girl is ______ + ing).

6) Define & Describe Double Dice Deck (Speech Corner)
*I like that this card deck has real photos of basic nouns. Kids can practice oral definitions with attributes or you place several pictures on the table and have them identify the card based on stated attributes. 

7) Compare & Contrast Double Dice Deck (Speech Corner)
*I like that this card deck has real photos of basic nouns. The students love the “double dice” and selecting the card that matches the shape that they rolled. I use this often without the dice to increase the trials for oral language practice during group therapy when they describe similarities and differences of nouns.

8) Synonyms & Antonyms Double Dice Deck (Speech Corner)
*This deck has tons of Tier I and Tier 2 vocabulary for endless practice. I tend to use these cards if I want to increase the difficulty level for students working on naming synonyms and antonyms. I also like that the cards have pictures along with text for those that need visual cues. 

9) Context Clues in Stories (Super Duper)
*My 3rd-5th grade students need plenty of tier 2 vocabulary practice. This product has 2 levels of cards. One has a short paragraph with a fill in the blank sentence for them to figure out the word from a field of 3 choices. The other has a color coded target word  in a paragraph and a field of 3 choices for them to identify the definition. 

10) Vocabulary Chipper Chat (Super Duper)
My students rarely complete worksheets in therapy sessions or play traditional board games, so they LOVE when they get to play this game. It’s amazing how earning tokens after answering learning questions with the added incentive of cleaning up the activity with the included magnetic wand keeps them motivated during a 30 minute session. This product is EXCELLENT to differentiate instruction based on your student’s vocabulary objectives! You can choose from these 12 skills: analogies, associations, attributes, categories, compare & contrast, context clues, figurative language, functions, homonyms/homographs, homophones, synonyms & antonyms, verbs

11) Grammar Chipper Chat (Super Duper)
This is a definite favorite activity for my students and ideal for differentiated instruction during group therapy. The kids each enjoy picking an animal themed game/token board. I like the variety of grammar skills that you can target and opportunities for oral language practice. 

12) No Glamour Sequencing Cards (LinguiSystems now Super Duper)
*This product has a variety of colorful picture sequences. I typically give students only 3-4 cards  and have them put them in order. I use these cards for kids to practice comprehension and expression of present, past, and future verb tenses. I pair the cards often with written text to assist them with comprehending/using different sentence structures.  

General Receptive/Expressive Language
13) What is the Main Idea? (Super Duper)
*This resource is great for the majority of students on my caseload. They can practice their auditory comprehension skills by identifying the main idea from a field of 3 choices, retelling brief paragraph, or answering WH questions that you create. 

14) Fiction & Non-Fiction Passages Binder (SLP created)
*I keep a binder of passages organized by reading levels that I can easily select. Many of my students have IEP objectives to increase listening/language comprehension skills when read aloud text and/or provided a copy of text at their instructional reading levels. They also have objectives to identify meanings of tier 2 vocabulary words using context clues from text.  I use the instructional reading levels according to the level determined from reading assessments by their special education teacher. For example, I may have a 4th grade student who is reading at an instructional 2nd grade level. Therefore, I have found that my students improve their language and literacy skills over time when I use articles with specific readability levels. 
*I use websites such as readworks.org, education.com, superteacherworksheets.com, and havefunteaching.com  to print passages.

15) Fiction & Non-Fiction Books (My personal classroom library)
*Each month, I have a selection of books that I read aloud to my speech-language therapy students. I have seen tremendous progress in the speech and language skills of my students during literature based lessons. This is by far my favorite and most effective way to promote receptive and expressive language growth. My students truly enjoy when I read to them and are eager to name vocabulary, retell stories, identify problem/solution, identify cause/effect, and answer story elements/comprehension questions. They are proud when they correctly answer questions about the story. Most of the students on my caseload also have co-occurring language based learning disability, autism, moderate intellectual disability, and/or ADHD and I can honestly say that they are engaged when I use books in therapy. Make sure that you subscribe to my blog because I’ll share a list of my favorite seasonal/monthly books that I use throughout the year. 

I hope that you enjoyed this post and have a few ideas about new products to use or new ways to target teaching speech-language skills using one of these resources that you already have. 

Have a great remainder of the school year for all the school based SLPs! Check out my instagram: bslspeechlanguage for pictures of many of these products. 

Tamara Anderson

Balancing SLP Life as a School Based SLP {10 Success Tips}

 

The job of a speech-language pathologist truly varies based on her work setting and it is essential to know how to skillfully balance and complete tasks. For SLPs in the school setting, I have learned ways that make it easier to get the job done with excellence. After all, you need to have the energy, materials, and enthusiasm to provide your students with engaging speech language therapy sessions.

If school based SLPs only had to complete evaluations and instruct students during therapy sessions, SLP life would be MUCH easier. However, you may start to feel like a professional juggler once you throw in attending special education eligibility meetings, ¬†IEP meetings, re-evaluation meetings, data collection, writing reports, medicaid billing, team meetings, etc. ¬†I have discovered 10 helpful tips that will ensure that you are effectively balancing your SLP life as a school based SLP. No, I don’t have a magic wand to make your paperwork or computer work disappear. Sorry…so sorry. The good news is that I have 10 success tips that will help you manage the therapy, paperwork, and meeting aspects of your job.
THERAPY TIPS:
1) Gather seasonal/holiday themed materials on Thursdays and Fridays before the season changes or upcoming holiday. Keep them in an accessible place that is near your therapy table.
*Fiction/non-fiction books (with companions/related activities)
*Speech-language activities from Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT)
*Token boards (fall, winter, spring, summer, holidays)
*Game boards
*Sports games (football, basketball, soccer, baseball)
*Seasonal worksheets for mixed articulation/language goals
*iPad activities
2) Vary activities in monthly sessions to maintain engagement.
Students can sense when you are not interested or excited about¬†¬† an activity. It’s okay to switch activities from one that you initially ¬† planned on using that day. Remember to try your best to make sessions meaningful, educationally relevant, yet fun!
PAPERWORK TIPS:
3) Use progress monitoring forms for articulation, speech fluency, and language objectives.
* Store master copies in a binder near therapy table.
* Put forms in students’ group therapy folder so that you can easily
   use them on data collection days (e.g. I organize attendance
   sheets, data sheets, therapy printables in folders per group).
* Remember that you do NOT have to take therapy data in every
   session!
4) Schedule time to write IEPs and evaluation reports.
It will hold you accountable with getting paperwork done with less stress. If you didn’t get to complete what you planned, just¬†scratch it out in your planner and re-assign it to another day’s task list.
5) Arrive to work early or stay late to complete documentation.
I think it’s important to set boundaries between SLP work life and personal life. I recommend that you avoid bringing home student files, IEP work, evaluation reports, or medicaid billing.
If you have children, you may try arranging for extended childcare
hours 2 days a week so that you can arrive early or stay late at work to complete documentation. You may be surprised how a slight adjustment will improve your efficiency.
EVALUATION & MEETING TIPS:
6) Schedule daily tasks in your planner.
Write down meeting dates and times. Note changes to usual schedule such as testing student vs. typical therapy session.
7) Schedule time for lunch (social meeting).
I think that it is important to give yourself at least 30 minutes that does not involve you eating at your desk while checking emails or doing other paperwork.
8) Schedule time to test students for upcoming speech/language screenings, comprehensive evaluations, and re-evaluations.
Contact SLP testers in your district if they are available to help lighten your testing load.
9) Learn to politely say no.
I know that you may want to help serve as a team member on special school projects, committees, and clubs. However, you most likely don’t have time to attend these extra meetings. ¬†It’s perfectly ok to say no without feeling guilty.
Instead, you can attend after school events (e.g. concerts, literacy night) to support your students and build rapport with families when you can.
10) Request to be excused from some meetings.
With parental permission, you can be excused from IEP meetings. Since SLPs typically have high caseloads and often must cancel therapy sessions to attend meetings, it is appropriate to be excused from attending an IEP meeting. However, you should always use your professional judgement when asking to be excused. This will need to be documented in the IEP online documentation or meeting minutes. It is best to send home speech therapy updates and proposed goals & objectives in advance when possible.
Check out my TPT store for time-saving theme based activities and progress monitoring tools. These resources are engaging therapy materials and will simplify the data collection process with your students!
Thanks for reading the blog. These tips help me tremendously during the school year. I’m now in the final stretch of the school year, but first it’s time for SPRING BREAK!
Tamara Anderson
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