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Working with Middle Schoolers brings a lot of grammar to the forefront of your work day.  I had many students who came to me with goals to explain different parts of speech, locate various parts of speech, etc.  After working with the students, it became apparent that the most basic parts of speech were difficult.  Therefore, we started with nouns.  I came up with this visual aid to help them visualize the different kinds of nouns.  Again, I was trying to hit on as many learning styles (TVAK) as I could (If you are unsure what TVAK is, then click here to read my blog post about TVAK - it will change the way you think about teaching something - hopefully).

How did I make it?  I simply used google images to print the pictures.  I printed them on colored paper and then cut them out and glued them on white paper.   I was trying to show them that they are all nouns (the same color), but are distinctly different kinds of nouns (have their own section).  I used silhouette images, but you don't have to do that.  My explanations were tied directly to both the picture and what the noun was.

Proper Noun:  It's capitalized and kids can usually remember to capitalize names since they have to do that everyday with school (writing their names on their paper).  Therefore, I chose a person and had her say, "My NAME is Proper Noun" explaining that a proper noun is the NAME of a PERSON, PLACE, OR THING.  Giving them examples they would recognize is also important (name of their school, people's names, names of restaurants, name of companies - Nike, etc).

Adjective:  Adjectives describe nouns.  If describe is too hard of a word for the kids, then I explain that describing means to tell about something.  The sentence they should remember is, "Tell me about this noun using adjectives."  Therefore, my silhouette picture was of a thing (I found a candelabra, but anything can be used) and I wrote all kinds of adjectives around it DESCRIBING the picture.  Again, giving them descriptions of things they see in the room or what they are wearing helps the adjectives become more real for them.

Pronouns:  Pronouns seem to the hardest for kids.  With this one I chose the silhouette of a house (again, anything could be used).  The sentence paired with the picture is, "The house is a pronoun" with "the house" crossed out and "it" written above.  This shows them that a pronoun replaces a noun.  Therefore, the sentence is part of the picture description.

I'd love to hear from you and find out which pictures you choose and which ways you improve upon my idea that I came up with during one speech session!

 
I'm sure you have seen flip books all over pinterest or for sale at teacher supply stores.  However, here is an easy way to make one for little ones who are just starting to learn.
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I love this one for kids who are already good readers and know when letters do NOT create a real word.  However, what happens when your child is just learning to read, flips three letters up that don't make a word, takes the time to sound it out, and then asks you what it means?  I'd think there might be some frustration on the child's part (I know there would be for me if I were that child). 

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Instead of doing a flip book where any word can be created, you want to set your child up for success with a flip book that only has words that are REAL words.  I've separated mine into word families.  There are tabs to indicate where the word families begin.  Here's how I did it...
1.  Buy a bound set of ruled index cards.
2.  Decide which words you will include.
3.  Section out the first set of "family" words (all end with the same letters like: hat, cat, rat, sat...)
4.  Cut the index cards in half for the entire "family" section EXCEPT for the last one.  This will make a natural divide between word families.
5.  Write the beginning letter(s) on the left half of the cards
6.  Write the word family ending (i.e. "at") on the right card (you should only have to write it one time).

Now every flip will create a REAL word!!!

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(Left) shows you the last card of the "family" that is NOT cut.

Also, click here for a great website that has FREE printable books that have to do with word families, sight words, etc.  It will instantly become a favorite if your child loves to learn to read!!!

 
Is your child having a hard time remembering what a preposition is?  There's a great way to help him/her remember the list of prepositions or what a preposition is.  All you need is some paper, a writing utensil, and some stickers (preferably something small and a living thing).  

Take your piece of paper and draw a house.
Now place the stickers all over the paper to depict a house.

Here is a short list of prepositions to get you started:  above, below, in, out, on, off, in front of, behind, beside/next to, around, across, after, before, between, following, toward, away from.  Now, you can't possibly depict every single preposition.  However, it will give your child a visual to remember a good number of them!

I wrote the prepositions that are being depicted on the back of my preposition house.  I tried to write them in the general area of where the ladybug was in order to help identify which was which.  

Also, I have mine on two pieces of paper so that I could cut the door open and have a ladybug "inside" the preposition house.  I then laminated it in order to make it last longer.
 
My dad sent me the link to an interesting article this morning.  I thought I would share with you since it fits for our "milestone monday" topic.  The article is based on the idea that there are 25 words that your child "must have" by the age of 2.  Their preliminary research is showing that kids who do not have these 25 words (you can have more, but this list is the minimum) are considered "late talkers".  It's an interesting checklist for you if you have a child around the age of 2.  I know I'll be keeping this list in the back of my mind as Timothy turns 2 this year!

Click here to the see the article.
 
A friend of mine posed the question, "how do you teach your child sign language?"  I looked back at past blog posts thinking, "surely I have blogged about this before since I'm a former deaf education major and a speech language pathologist who, in general terms, supports to use of sign language with young children."  I was shocked to find that the only blog post was from August 26 and was about a sign language app!  How did I forget to blog about this?  Here is a short "tutorial" on how to teach sign language to your children who are pre-talkers or fall in the early language category.

I always think that it is easiest to start signing at snack time.  Whatever time you choose, you want to make sure that there is a reward that the child will want to use signs in order to receive, you are not stressed or busy, and there are minimal distractions.  For me, snack time fills those requirements.  We are usually in the kitchen without a lot of noise or toys, Timothy loves snacks, and it's usually at a time when we are not busy and I'm devoted to him.  The other benefit of snack time is that the "reward" of the snack naturally disappears when your child eats it, which means he/she must sign again to get more of the reward!

  1. Show your child the snack and say, "Ok, Tommy, we're going to have goldfish for snack time today".  Make sure that it's a snack your child particularly enjoys.
  2. Show your child the sign for "eat/food" (same sign) while saying, "Do you want to EAT your snack?"  Show the sign again and then hand him/her a cracker.
  3. The next time you are showing your child the sign and say, "do you want some more snack?", then also use hand-over-hand technique to make your child do the sign.  Then immediately hand them a cracker.
  4. You will probably have to use hand-over-hand technique for a few days, but eventually you will want to fade the hand-over-hand and wait for your child to attempt the sign.


Now, you may ask why I've started with "eat" and not "more".  This is where I will get on my soap box. PLEASE DON'T TEACH YOUR CHILD MORE FIRST!  You can teach them more, but make sure to pair it with another word.  Let's say that your child was playing ball with you.  You had little Mikey signing "more" to get the ball again.  Then it was snack time and so you gave him some fish crackers.  Again, you worked on "more" to get more fish crackers.  Now it's after nap.  Mikey wakes up and signs "more."  What does he want more of?  You have no idea!  However, he has been taught that "more" means he gets what he wants.  Instead, pair "more" with the thing you are doing.  "more ball" = play with the ball; "more food/eat" = more snack; "more drink" = more to drink, "more music" = wants to listen to music. Now, unless your child deaf/hard of hearing and you have chosen manual communication (sign language), you probably aren't going to teach your child every sign.  Therefore, you don't have to teach him/her every food sign, "food" will do.  It's something to think about.  

If you need some help on learning the signs that you want to teach, then click here for a great FREE video sign language dictionary.
 
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In our house, we have a Valentine's Day tradition of having heart shaped pancakes for breakfast!  This year I even colored them pink with red food coloring.  It's a simple tradition that can even be cooked up the night before and reheated if mornings are too crazy at your house.  I started thinking about our little tradition and how I could incorporate language into it (instead of coming up with another special Valentine's Day/Language activity).  It was quite simple.  I talked about what was happening and what would happen next.  I let Timothy experience as much as he could (as he is only a little over a year) in the process.  As he 

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gets older, he can re-tell how to make heart shaped pancakes, recall the materials needed, put pictures of him making the pancakes in order, write out the recipe, listen for the materials needed and find them (listening comprehension), practice an articulation sound while baking, etc.  

What is your Valentine's Day tradition (making cookies, making Valentine's Day cards, making potpourri, etc) and how can you make it into a language activity?  The possibilities are endless.

 
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Kids are not supposed to be able to say all of their sounds correctly right away.  It can get confusing as to when kids are supposed to be saying certain sounds, but others are still developmentally appropriate if they are misarticulated.  I've seen a guide like this before and wanted to make one!  This is based off of the Iowa-Nebraska Articulation norms.  The orange numbers on top are the female norms and the blue numbers on bottom are the male norms.  (The orange and blue was partially intentional - I couldn't figure out how to get pink since it didn't seem to an option and I'm a GATOR fan)

I chose to use the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols.  If you are a parent and a few them look like hieroglyphics, then simply click here to see the translation of which sounds they stand for.  If you would rather have this in chart form, then click here (the reference that I used).

I hope this can be an easy, quick-reference for parents and therapists alike!

To download the pdf version, click here.

 
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I haven't posted a game on folder game Friday in a long time!  Here is one that is a week late, but football can be a fun game year round (even if the season is over for this year).

This is an easy game to print off, personalize, and use again and again.  The game is easy (but fun) and will get your child/client working hard. One of the greatest features is that it is BLANK and so you can fill in whatever you want to on the white blocks: articulation words, questions to answer, sentences with a grammatical error, etc.  Does your child/client need to simply work on playing a game (taking turns, waiting, doing work before taking a turn, learning to lose, learning to win graciously, etc)??  Well, then put something fun in each block and simply use the mechanics of the game as your work for the session.  Is your child/client working on correcting a voice disorder?  Have him/her read sentences that you write in the blocks in order to work on proper voicing while reading.  This can also be used the same way for kids who stutter.

You can do this one of two ways.  You can print multiple copies and make multiple game boards.  Or you could print one copy, laminate it, and then use a dry erase marker to use again and again.

The PDF version is FREE and contains the instructions on how to play the game.  Just print and play!  This also makes a great game to print off, fill out, and send home for homework!

click here to print the PDF version.

 

This week we have been discussing different activities to work on your child's reading fluency.  This is one of the components within reading comprehension.  Tuesday we discussed Choral reading and yesterday was Paired reading. Echo reading will be today's activity and the last of this series.

We have discussed choosing a text in both choral reading and paired reading.  However, I will review some of the principles just in case you have not read those two blog posts.  You will want to choose a text that is short.  If the text that your child chooses is longer, then select just a portion.  You may want to choose something that is interesting, rhymes a lot, something descriptive/"colorful", or is something significant for your child.  Other than books, consider the following texts: song lyrics, poems, or a letter.

Echo reading is just what the name describes.  If you were to stand in a canyon and yell "Echo", you would hear the refraction of your voice repeat "echo... echo... echo..".  The same is true for Echo reading.  You, the skilled reader, will read a passage and your child or client will then read the same passage.  The skilled reader will read the passage and then the struggling reader reads the passage.  This goes back and forth until the struggling reader is able to read the passage fluently and without mistakes.  

You might consider typing up the text so you have your own copy.  Then you can mark how many errors your child has on the first reading.  Count how many times you have to go through the text before he/she is able to read it fluently and without error.  Show your child the progress he/she made in a short time!  Remember to start with something that is easy for your child to read until he/she is comfortable with the process of echo reading.  Then you can move to a more difficult text.  The point is to read something that is too difficult for your child to read on his/her own, but for him/her to experience the text and eventually be able to read it on his/her own!

Echo reading, like the two previous activities, is designed to build confidence in your child's ability to read fluently, learn sight words, build this skill to be able to read material that may otherwise be too difficult for your child, and to practice proper phrasing, pronunciation, and expression while reading.

This activity can be great for kids who have to read a speech in front of a class and need to practice.  It can also be a great way for kids who struggle with articulation errors to practice their sound(s) at the reading level.  
 
Yesterday, we discussed choral reading.  Our next activity to help with reading fluency is paired reading.

Like choral reading, you will read the same thing over and over in paired reading. It will give the child experience with a particular text to help with speed, accuracy, and site reading.  Therefore, you will want to choose a text that is fun or interesting.  The text could be a page of a book (a short paragraph if there are many words on the page), song lyrics, a poem, a letter, something from a magazine, etc.  You want to start off with something easy for your child to read to give him/her confidence and then increase the difficulty.

The procedure:
  1. You, the parent, will read the text once through as the child follows along.
  2. You and the child will read the text together three times through.
  3. The child will read the text by himself/herself

This can also be a great activity for a child who works on a particular sound.  This will give the child a lot of practice reading the sound in a longer text and following a good model (your speech).  This may boost his/her confidence to read in class!  It could also be good practice before performing a speech in front of the class.