6 Ways an SLP Can Help with Preliteracy Skills

6 Ways an SLP Can Help with Preliteracy Skills

6WaysanSlpCanHelpwithPreliteracySkillsSo what exactly is  preliteracy?


This term covers all the areas a child needs to get ready to read.  It includes important skills like oral language and phonological and phonemic awareness (the awareness of sounds), as well as knowledge of the alphabet and an understanding of common print concepts (print goes from left to right and from up to down on a page, how to hold a book).
A child that has been identified with a speech and/or language impairment (SLI) can be at a higher risk for having reading difficulties.  Studies have indicated that as many as 40-75% of children with SLI will have problems learning to read.
A speech language pathologist (SLP) can help not only in the development of oral language but in the following areas as well:
1. Print Motivation
Get excited about what you are reading to a child, enthusiasm is contagious.  Talk about why you like the book and what you like about it. Be animated. Let  him know that it was your favorite when you were a child or that you read it to your little girl.  Help them to make an emotional connection.
2. Print Awareness
When using books in therapy to help develop vocabulary and sequencing skills, take this time to point out the title and the author. Let the child turn the pages. Track with your finger under the words as you read them.
3.Phonological Awareness
Help kids play with sounds to help them understand that words are made up of smaller sounds. Sing songs, read books with rhymes. Play a funny rhyming game with their names.
4. Vocabulary
Need I say more? As SLP’s we are all about expanding vocabulary. Label the pictures. Talk about some words that you think might be unfamiliar.  When you come across those words in the text, ask if they know what it means.  If not, talk about the words and place them in a familiar context.
5. Narrative skills
Ask questions about the story that can’t be answered with yes or no. Ask him to retell the story; if this is too hard provide a scaffold by asking questions or giving choices.
6. Letter Knowledge
Learning about letters and know what sounds they make is so much fun. Help kids get excited about recognizing the first letter in their name and make a game of looking for letters in their environment.  Make playing with letters fun and multi-sensory.
Learning the letters of the alphabet is a big part of Kindergarten.  It can be challenging to incorporate the repetition kids need and to keep them interested.
I created this Letter Recognition and Sound game to do just that. It’s an engaging, colorful activity with two levels of play.  Students can apply their knowledge of letters and letter sounds as they play games and interact with letters by flipping over the cards and building a smores.
Smores Letter and Sound Recognition Activity
Smores are available  by clicking on this link to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
So there you have it…6 Ways an SLP can help with preliteracy skills and have fun doing it!
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Favorite Board Games for Speech and Language Therapy

Favorite Board Games for Speech and Language Therapy

Favorite Board Games for Speech Language and TherapyKristen Cummings of  the wonderful Simply Speech Blog, is hosting a linky party about board games for speech and language therapy. Click on the picture below to be sent to the linky party. For those of you who are new to blogging, this is a great way to learn about new blogs and for SLPs to share ideas.


Board games are great for so many things and most kids love them! I like to use them for my groups. Great for teaching and reinforcing sportsmanship/social skills, board games keep therapy feeling like play. Students can work on their goals and keep it fun.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Always a crowd pleaser for the little ones, it is a great introduction to board games, turntaking, following directions, color matching and learning to deal with disappointment (when they have to go backwords).
Kids love to push the dice bubble and hear the noise it makes. Usually, I play it with just  two of the four game pieces for each player(because of time constraints). It’s great for artic practice, the student’s repetition of target corresponds with the number on the dice.  Awsome for all ages.
Sorry is another favorite. Like Trouble, it is fun for all ages. It’s good to teach sportsmanship and critical thinking skills.
Don't Wake Daddy
My kids go crazy for this game! I use it as a reward game to keep the novelty going. They get so excited with the anticipation of the “Dad” waking up. The noise can be too scary for some primary students and some kids that are on the Autism Spectrum. I always demonstrate the first time and if they are scared, we move on to something else.
Jumping Monkeys
Here’s another one kids love! This is technically not a board game, but it’s great fun for those days when the kids are having trouble sitting still (like during pre-holiday weeks). It’s great for drill.  Here’s a tip to help with focusing skills: don’t hand out the Jumping Monkeys all at once.  Taking turns, give two monkeys to a player after he has completed his speech target, then he can shoot.  Otherwise, the kids don’t pay attention, they are so busy playing with the monkeys while they are waiting for their turn.
Beware of Dog
This is another fun anticipatory game along the lines of Don’t Wake Daddy. Players have to try to sneak the plastic bones out of the dog dish while he is “sleeping”. The dog snores while he sleeps, if you press down too hard while grabbing a bone, he jumps forward and barks. Again, this is usually too scary for the little ones. I don’t like the cat claw tweezers, we just use our fingers.
Charlie Brown Christmas Game
Such a fun game for the holidays. I had the original version which has little Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy figures to use for pawns. It also had a little battery operated Christmas tree that the winner gets to light (unfortunately broken now). Kids have to collect ornaments, candy canes and presents.
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Board games are definitely our friends!  I bought the more expensive ones on sale. GoodWill can be a great source for board games too, you just have to make sure all the pieces are there. What are your favorites? I am always looking for a new classic!

Christmas Vocabulary Fun

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This is one of my groups from this morning. I got these Christmas word cards on Teachers Pay Teachers from Mrs. W for FREE! I laminated them in long strips and laid them out on the table . The kids took turns tossing red or green poker chips and naming the word that their chip landed on. Later in the day I had one group make sentences with the words, another group gave definitions. They thought it was great fun!

Using iPad Drawing Apps with Therapy Materials

Using iPad Drawing apps with therapy materials

It’s all about novelty. Kids love to be excited by something new. So I like to have a lot of different choices in my therapy bag of tricks.  Here is a great way to use some of your TeachersPayTeachers materials in conjunction with your iPad.

Let me show you how I recently used the Doodle Buddy app with some antonyms and synonyms worksheets from Nicole Allison’s awesome new product, Leveled Vocabulary Intervention.   Click here for a link to this incredible product. I have been using it for the last few weeks and it has quickly become a go-to vocabulary resource. Thanks Nicole!

After you make your purchase, open it on your iPad in Ibooks. Take screen shots (hold down main button and on/off button until you hear a click) of the worksheets you want to use.

Open the Doodle Buddy app.


Click on the tic-tac-toe icon.

C Choose photos. Go into your photos and choose the first worksheet you took a screenshot of.

D Now the fun begins. Tap the chalk icon and choose your drawing tool and color. For the example I chose glitter in red. Students use their finger to complete the worksheets. They love it! EH

Then when it is completed just shake the iPad to clear the screen. Magic!  Just click on the tic-tac-toe icon again to get another worksheet. Another really fun feature of Doodle Buddy is the stamp feature.  Click on that and a menu of stamps will appear. I chose the snowman for this example.


Students use their finger as a stamp to make the line. AND each stamp has fun audio, the holly jingles, the lips make a kissy noise. It’s really great fun! My students have been having a great time with it.


Doodly Buddy is FREE, yay, how great is that?! The Tic-Tac-Toe feature is really fun too.  I have been using it as a way to match pairs of opposites. I just write in the words quickly and let the kids use the stamping feature to match them.



Fun, motivating and easy! I hope you give it a try!

Dragons Love Tacos Activity Pack and Book Companion

DragonsLove TacosSpeechLanguageActivityPacket

This packet contains games and activities to support the book Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin.  The book is instantly engaging using humor and fun illustrations.

Dragons Love Tacos

I have been trying this out for the last two weeks with great success.  The kids love the story and are able to remember details.  Using puppets and the games/cards from the activity has been a great combination.

The Activity Pack, available on TeachersPayTeachers contains two levels.  Level 1 is  designed  primarily for kids with special needs. These are kids who are working on using longer sentences, who are learning spatial concepts and who are learning to answer “wh” questions. I made some of the materials in a large size to accommodate visual impairments and to facilitate focus (larger is easier ).  I also kept the graphics very clean and simple.

The vocabulary in Level 2 (for Kindergarten to 4th grade) includes card for definitions, synonyms, antonyms.  Just cut out these cards and use them during a simple board game. I just give the kids a taco card for each correct answer.

Level 1 also includes positional words (spatial concepts): These concepts can be really difficult to grasp. I made the images large (a full sheet). Concepts included are behind, in front, on (because it’s easy) and under. Hold up the card and say “Where is the taco?” If correct, give student a taco card to hold. Use the sheets to cue for Taco Bingo if needed. Bingo sheets are included. Sometimes bingo chips are too hard for the kids to grasp; try plastic water bottle tops or pompoms.

For both Level 1 and 2, there are  “Wh Questions”. I created some visuals to help with the “wh” questions. The picture sheet is for use in cuing and for kids that are less verbal. The “wh” question cards are for use with the students that are able to answer questions but are still working on knowing the difference between a “who” question and a “where” question.  Kids are given a taco card for a correct answer, they like seeing who can get the most tacos!

I hope you have as much fun with this as we have!

Using puppets to bring a story to life for students with special needs and low attention skills

Using puppets to bring a story to life for students with special needs and low attention skills

I am always on the lookout for great picture books that have a fun message, colorful illustrations , a little humor, and appeal to a large age range. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, is a book that delivers. It appeals to my K through 4 students and my special needs students. I am a big proponent of bringing more literacy and the gift of story to all children. (Click on book title for a link to Amazon.com)

I look for ways to make the story come alive for students that are working on very basic communication skills. Visuals, sound effects, and a crazy enthusiastic reader (me) are all strategies that work! I don’t read at them, I include them in the story by getting them excited. This year I have a couple of student that respond really well to puppets. So I decided to make some puppets and “props” to help support the story in Dragons Love Tacos.

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These sock puppets were sooo easy to make! I bought a really soft pair of socks from Target (the kids love the feel of these) and some felt sheets. It was really simple to make some wings and hot glue them to the socks. My husband helped me, and we made a stream of fire, and some fun little tacos for the dragons to eat.

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 When the puppets talk to the kids, the kids are sometimes more responsive. The puppet can ask them yes/no questions, “what’s your name?”, and ask them questions about the story. It’s just so much fun! I really encourage you to try it. Watch for my Dragons Love Tacos book companion COMING SOON!

dragon puppet in action


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