Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Literacy and Language

As the summer is sadly coming to an end, I already know I'm going to miss letting the kids stay up late, sleep in, and enjoy the lazy summer days.  When school starts next week, we will have to get back to some sort of bedtime routine; and as much as I'll miss our late nights and relaxed schedules, it will be nice to have some time set aside each night to read together.

I use children's books during my speech therapy sessions all the time, and encourage parents to use them at home as well.  Picture books and story books provide so many opportunities to encourage and enrich children's language skills. 

Here are some ways to do this while reading with your children:

  • To help your child learn new words, name objects and actions in the pictures.  Ask your child simple questions about the pictures.
  • Describe the pictures using phrases and complete sentences.  Your child will learn new words and new sentence structures.
  • Use descriptions, tell about the pictures.  Then ask your child to describe the pictures to you.
  • Help enhance your child's sequencing skills.  Talk about what happened in the beginning of the story, the middle, and the end.
  • Make predictions.  Ask your child what he/she thinks will happen next.
  • Story books provide many opportunities to ask and answer WH questions (who, what, where, when, why).
  • Work on problem-solving skills.  Talk about the problem in the story, and think of logical ways to solve the problem.
  • Children's books are filled with early language concepts (location, time, quantity).  Talk about where objects are (the moon is in the sky), when events happen (we see the moon at night), and how much or how many things there are (one apple, too much food).

Keep in mind, these tips are only suggestions.  Share stories in a way that is enjoyable for both you and your child.  Most importantly, have fun reading together!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shark Week

While watching Shark Week the other night with my kids (is that bad?), I remembered coming across this cool shark envelope online a little while ago, and thought it would be the perfect time to use it in therapy.

After making the shark, each child glued their target word pictures onto colorful construction paper fish.

Next came the fun part - "feeding" their fish to the shark!

After that, we played a game with the fish pictures.  I put all the fish out on the table "into the sea", and added a few fish with shark teeth.

Just  a few simple rules:

1. Flip over all the fish so you can't see the pictures.  Take turns "catching" a fish.  Turn over the fish and say the name of the picture.  If the word is pronounced correctly, you can keep the fish.  If not, it goes back in the "sea".

2. If you catch a fish with shark teeth, all of your fish have to go back in the "sea".

3.  Whoever has the most fish at the end of the game is the winner. 

Besides providing an opportunity to practice target words, this game is also good for turn-taking, naming colors, sorting, counting, and learning concepts more and less.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Super Mario and Angry Birds Pixel Art

This activity was inspired by these awesome cupcakes that my oldest daughter made for my son's birthday this year.

The link for the cupcakes can be found here.

I wasn't exactly sure of the best way to recreate this on paper, so my kids and I had a lot of fun trying out a couple different techniques at home.

We used washable paints and a mini round sponge for this one...

...then tried painting with pencil erasers...

...and then some Angry Birds done with Q-tips...

After trying all three, I decided that Q-tips were the easiest; and they're disposable so there's not too much to clean up.

I'm excited to try this during therapy sessions, and thought of a few different ways to use it with my clients:

1.  As a reinforcer - after five trials of a sound, word, or sentence, the child can add five dots
2.  Following Directions/Sequencing - "Make three brown dots, then two blue dots" etc.
3.  Location Concepts/Prepositions - under, above, next to, left, right, top, bottom, "put brown under blue, blue goes next to yellow"

I know there are tons of ways to incorporate this into speech and language sessions.  Let me know how you use it!