Building Communication, Language, and Literacy Skills in Diverse Learners
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!
Recently I have been working on phonological awareness skills with a 1st grade speech fluency student who also has difficulty with reading decoding and reading fluency. I provide services for an older elementary school student as well with language impairment that struggles immensely with basic literacy skills. From my observation, this is not an area that all speech-language therapists address. However, literacy is a part of our scope of practice according to ASHA.
These literacy areas are considered appropriate roles and responsibilities for SLPs: 1) preventing written language problems by fostering language acquisition and emergent literacy 2) identifying children at risk for reading and writing problems 3) assessing reading and writing 4) providing intervention and documenting outcomes for reading and writing 5) providing consultation to teachers, parents, students about effective literacy practices
Woah! Did you realize how in depth our responsibilities can extend in the area of literacy? SLPs can assist with reading & written expression. Say what? I know we have a lot on our plates working with the listening and speaking components of literacy so to think about helping with reading and written expression may be a bit daunting. After all, the resource special education teachers directly teach that for our IEP kiddos.
Nevertheless, a few years ago, I decided to get additionally training in the area of reading. I quickly observed that many of my students with speech-language impairment had a language based learning disability in the areas of reading and writing. Therefore, I completed a Georgia State University reading endorsement certification program. I learned valuable reading assessment and instruction best practices in this program that I can use when I provide consultation for students in the RTI process. It also helps me know what to do as I directly address phonological awareness with students from time to time.
So, what is phonological awareness? This is the term used to describe essential literacy skills that require a child to manipulate syllables, words, and sounds. These are auditory skills that generally begin at age three and are typically mastered by ages 6-7 if a child does not have a reading disability.
Here is what an SLP can do to teach this skill:
1) create word lists of rhyming and non-rhyming words
*Tell the child 2-3 words. Then ask, “do these words rhyme?”
*Give a child a target word and ask “What rhymes with ____?”
2) create word lists for syllable counting (segmentation) activities
*Tell and show a child a word and ask “How many syllables are in these words?”
3) create word lists with compound words and other multi-syllabic words * Have kids combine syllables to express words. For example, say “What word do you hear when I say hot…dog?
What is phonemic awareness? This is a component of phonological awareness and involves skills such as phoneme blending, phoneme segmenting, phoneme deletion, phoneme substitution.
Here are tips on how to work on these 4 skills:
*Use letters that you can manipulate such as these foam letters from Dollar Tree.
1) blend or combine sounds to say words
c-a-r, w-a-t-ch, b-o-o-k, p-e-n-c-i-l, p-l-a-y
2) verbally segment or separate sounds when given words
mom, dad, crayon, water, bear
3) verbally delete or omit a sound from a word to say a new word
say plate without /p/, say mat without the /m/
4) verbally change a sound to another sound
say /hat/, now take away /h/ and add /b/ or change /h/ to /b/
say /sun/, now take away /s/ and add /f/ or change /s/ to /f/
I highly recommend Hearbuilder Phonological Awareness program. It is available as an iPad or iPhone app or as paid subscription for use on the internet.
I hope you learned some new information or refreshed your memory about how to teach phonological awareness skills. These can be used in speech-language therapy sessions or shared while consulting with general education teachers as they deliver RTI interventions in the classroom.
Thanks for reading the blog today!
Reference: Lanza, Janet; Flahive, L. (2012) Guide to Communication Milestones. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems, Inc.
My speech-language therapy students are quite accustomed to me pulling out all sorts of vocabulary activities during their weekly sessions. I wanted a new way to help them practice saying the meanings of their key speech-language therapy and English/Language Arts words. So many of my students with language based learning disabilities struggle with verbally defining their curriculum vocabulary and many of them have memory deficits as well. After all, true mastery of a concept is when they can understand and explain the concept.
This was my motivation behind creating my Guess What? Frequently Used SLP Lingo & Test Prep Vocabulary Game. This is the 4th in this series. I wanted a fun way for my speech language kiddos to practice their curriculum vocabulary skills. This was an instant hit in my sessions!!!
To play this curriculum game, I select one semantic map from the set to focus on during a 30 minute session.
Research shows that the use of semantic or vocabulary maps is an excellent memory and learning strategy because it helps children successfully organize and retrieve information from their brains. Score! You can read more about that here as I did research on that as well when I completed my Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. http://bslspeechlanguage.blogspot.com/search/label/Brain%20Based%20Learning
Then I have each student in a group choose a mystery word and tell them to make sure they don’t let the others see it!
Then I put the question prompts page on the table and a word bank.
I love the variety of visuals available in this game because it allows you to differentiate instruction without your kids even knowing it.
For example, some kids may just need the semantic map when it’s their turn to ask a question while others will read directly from the question prompts page or another student will just need the word bank page to formulate his/her question.
Students will take turns asking their opponents a question to try to guess or figure out their mystery word. If someone guesses their word, they pick another word from the deck. The game continues until all the vocabulary from the selected semantic map are guessed.
My speech-language 4th and 5th graders absolutely LOVE this game and they get SUPER competitive too which I don’t mind because they’re practicing their learning objectives. This game will work well for middle school students too! There are 5 semantic maps with 40 Frequently Used SLP Lingo and 5 semantic maps with 40 Test Prep Vocabulary. Your students will have several weeks of language intervention to practice 80 words with this curriculum game!
You may purchase this product in my online TPT store here:
I have three other Guess What? Curriculum Games in this series that are also favorites with my speech kiddos. They are available in my TPS store as well.
1) Guess What? Types of Literature, Story Elements, & Text Features
2) Guess What? Types of Sentences, Parts of Sentences, & Parts of
3) Guess What? Figurative Language, Prefixes, & Suffixes
Thanks for reading the blog today! 🙂