Five Ways to Practice Speech-Language Skills Over Winter Break

Hey there everyone! Today is the last day of school for 2015 in my district and I am beyond excited about being on winter break for 2 weeks! I am sure that all the students are as well. Although the students will be on break from school, there are so many ways that they can practice their communication skills in their daily routines. I know that some of you will have private practice clients or a few days of work next week as school-based speech language pathologists. Make sure that you share these tips with parents.

5 Ways to Practice Speech-Language Skills Over Winter Break: 

1) Retell events and experiences
*Children should practice describing specific family outings, activities, and experiences with as much detail as possible. They should try their best to recall and retell information in the correct sequence of events whether it is going to the ice skating rink or to grandma’s house. 

2) Answer questions after listening to fiction or non-fiction story read by parents
*Children and families can visit the public library and check out books appropriate for their age. Parents should read aloud to their kids and ask them who, what, where, when, and why questions about the text. 

3) Play speech-language games on interactive websites
*There are many websites that children can enjoy practicing their speech-language skills. Some of my top recommendations are,,,, and

You can access a more comprehensive list in Parent Handouts for Communication Disorders in my TPT store.

4) Play speech-language games on iPad
*Many children have either an iPad or android tablet. They can practice a variety of skills such as speech articulation, following directions, vocabulary, grammar, sequencing, and overall comprehension on apps. Parents can search for related apps in the app store by companies such as Speech with Milo, Super Duper, PocketSLP, Hamaguchi, I Can Do Apps, Smarty Ears and so many more! Many companies have free trial versions that enable kids to practice many skills while others will need to be purchased. 

5) Use speech articulation and fluency strategies 
*At home and in the community, children should practice using their best pronunciation of the sounds they are working on in speech-language therapy. Parents can remind their children to use the correct placement of speech muscles when asking questions, answering questions, and speaking to family and friends.

Overall, children can practice their speech-language skills in everyday routines! I hope you found these 5 tips beneficial. Have a great rest of 2015!

Tamara Anderson

Parent Information for Communication Disorders {Free Resource Guide}

There are many times when parents ask me about communication disorders. They want to know if their child’s speech-language skills are where they should be developmentally. Recently, a friend of mind told me that her daughter received a speech language screening at her preschool. The results indicated that she needed further evaluation. I was concerned when she shared with me that the therapist expressed concern that a 3 year old was not pronouncing sounds such as /l/ and /r/. I immediately saw red flags because it is developmentally appropriate that not all kids will correctly pronounce these sounds at age 3. In fact, there are research based age ranges of typical speech sound development. Yes, some children may correctly pronounce sounds earlier and that’s great. However, the following are developmentally acceptable ages of sound acquisition.

Age 3- w, b, p, h, m, n

Age 4-  k, g, t, d, y, f

Age 5- all 3 & 4 year old sounds

Age 7- l

Age 8- j, ch, sh, r, th, s, z, v

Please note that different school districts also implement different eligibility criteria for providing speech therapy for speech sounds in error. If you have questions about if your child needs an evaluation, I suggest that you consult directly with a licensed speech-language pathologist in your area.

I also often get questions about what language skills are expected of children at certain ages. You can access more information about my recommendations from a previous blog post about developmental milestones. Click here.


I created a few complimentary parent handouts that explain the difference between speech sound disorders and language disorders. In this resource you will also receive helpful hints for improving receptive and expressive language disorders. These tips are geared towards children in kindergarten-5th grade. This packet also has a list of interactive websites that kids can use to practice improving their language skills.

I strongly encourage parents to give their children opportunities to practice their communication and language skills at home. I may add to this resource in the future so make sure that you subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the right hand column of this page. You can access this FREE digital download in my TPT curriculum store.

Have a great week! I hope you have an excellent Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends this Thursday!

Tamara Anderson
Building Successful Lives


Communication Success Tips

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful July so far! I am truly enjoying my summer. I try to do something productive and fun each day. That’s why I have 2 new resources to tell you about in my Building Successful Lives curriculum store.


I created Communication Success Tips (for children ages 12-36 month) so that speech-language pathologists, educators, and parents can use this guide to foster communication development in children’s everyday routines. I thought of this idea last Sunday afternoon as I was reflecting about the fact that my sweet little niece would be 18 months the next day. I couldn’t believe it! I am blessed that I am able to visit her regularly. It is such a joy to watch her as she grows and learns! As an SLP, I of course am all about those developmental milestones and thinking about all the things she can do now and what she needs to learn next.

Here’s a picture of her last Monday when she turned 18 months old!

Isn’t she adorable?! 🙂

You can access this COMPLIMENTARY digital download here.

My next resource guide in this series that I specially designed is Communication Success Tips for Colleagues.


My idea behind creating this was to remind SLPs and educators including myself of tips needed to build and maintain healthy relationships at work. I believe that effective communication skills are the foundation for healthy relationships. Colleagues are more productive when communication is clear and they feel valued by others.

I hope that you love this new resource guide as much as I do! You can access this COMPLIMENTARY digital download here.

Have an excellent week!

Tamara Anderson

Speech-Language Success Stories # 6

I am currently in the last 9 weeks of the school year in my district and spring break is 3 days away!! Speech-language therapy progress notes and report cards went home with kids last Friday. Naturally, SLPs review our students’ data and document speech-language objectives that they have mastered, made progress,  and areas that they may be struggling with learning a skill. 

My success story today is about having students celebrate their victories in the speech language therapy room. I have a poster that says “Super Speech Students- We Are Meeting Goals!!!” Students put a star sticker on the chart for each objective that they meet based on their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) mastery criteria. They really seem to enjoy looking at the incentive poster and counting their stars. 

I also have many of them graph their progress and take home their graph when they meet a goal! I can not count the times that I hear “What’s my score?”  or “Did I do good today?” They know that I take data regularly and that I desire for them to LEARN and improve their scores or percentages of accuracy. Many of them can’t wait to get their hands on my handy Super Duper clipboard that has a calculator at the top. Occasionally, I let a few of them enter the fraction to figure out their percentage of accuracy. I teach them how to convert the decimal to a percentage too! Math in the speech-language room! Say What?!

At the end of the 9 weeks, which usually coincides with a holiday too, I bring edible treats to reward their hard work towards meeting goals. Here are some goodies that I handed out today. 

I also gave out new stickers! Remember to celebrate students’ successes in your speech-language therapy sessions or classroom too!

Tamara Anderson
SLP on Spring Break Soon

Stay current with all the latest best practices guidance in communication, language, and literacy. Join the community of those receiving complimentary materials!