Sherry Rogers - Wayne County Public Schools

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General Strategies:

Give encouragement and praise when the child attempts to communicate. Show the child that you understand the word or phrase by fulfilling the request, if appropriate.

Use short phrases and sentences to communicate with your students when they show difficulty understanding.

Exaggerate your vocal pitch and tone to model appropriate speech behaviors.

Frequently repeat targeted articulation sounds throughout the day.

Allow students time to express their thoughts without interruption or corrections.

Model slow and easy speech.

Use open ended questions to elicit speech; but after giving them time to process, follow up by giving answer choices if children struggle to answer questions (so they will feel successful).

Who ate the sandwich? (if no response---Who ate the sandwich, the girl or the boy?)

Clap/stomp/snap fingers to increase awareness of multiple syllable production. (Bas-ket-ball) (El-e-phant)

Use songs and finger play activities to encourage expressive language.

Use books to expand language by asking questions, by choosing targeted articulation sounds from the story (the RRRRabbit at the RRRRaspberrries)

During classroom demonstrations, use self-talk and parallel talk to describe step by step processes.

Self-talk – “I am cutting the circle.” (Describe what you are doing)

Parallel talk – “You are drawing the circle.” (Describe what the child is


If the student’s response contains a known sound error, repeat what the

child said with an appropriate model.

Prior to introducing new stories, discuss new vocabulary words and their

meanings with students.

Relate new vocabulary words to a personal experience for the students to

relate to.

Place pictures on note cards and use to play games such as memory.

Use music, movement, nursery rhymes, finger plays and story time as

motivating to promote spontaneous speech productions.

Repeat what the child says and add a word that is appropriate to the

context to expand child’s length of utterance to 2-3 words.

Child: Dog ; Adult: Yes, a big, brown dog!

Maintain natural eye contact with the student.

Provide students who may need visual input with a visual schedule to assist

with transitions and expectations for the day.

Categorization: Make a scrapbook of favorite or familiar items by cutting out various pictures. Group the pictures into categories, such as things you ride on, things you eat, things you drink, etc.

Yes/No questions: Play a game with “yes/no” questions. Ask questions such as “Are you a girl?” “Is your name Mary?” or “Do pigs fly?”, etc. Encourage the child to make up silly questions to fool you.

Expand Vocabulary: Get the child to name various body parts and state the function of each body part. Also, encourage them to name a variety of items in the classroom (e.g. transportation, foods, drinks, etc). “Tell me three things you eat for breakfast”.

Stating Function: You can place items in a canister and have the child pick out something. They can name the item and tell how it is used. (E.g. this is a ball. It bounces and we throw it.).

WH Comprehension Questions: (who, what, when, where, why): Use familiar photographs of the child’s family/friends in various places. Ask the child “WH” questions about the pictures.

“Pronoun+is+Verbing”: Use action pictures/books with action pictures, and ask what is going on in the picture. Encourage the child to utilize complete sentences (e.g. He/She is running, etc.).

Spatial Relations: Talk about spatial relations as they pertain to the classroom area/books/activities (e.g. first, middle, last, right, left, in front, in back, next to, etc).

Encourage 1-step, 2-step and 3-step directions: (1)Go to the table and (2)bring me a book, etc.

More Classroom Suggestions:

Use literacy to target verbal language skills by reading a book to the class once a day for one week. Choose books with a strong story plot, simple text, novel concepts, recurring lines and imaginative illustrations. Read the book on day 1, introducing parts of the book (front, back, author, title, illustrator, etc) and have them guess what the book is about based on the title and cover. Introduce key concepts and vocabulary. Over the course of the week, read the book with the kids predicting what will happen next, answer questions involving “who, what, where, why”, have children take turns “reading” the book to their classmates and teacher and let the children reenact the book, making up their own version of the story. Maybe even have art projects that relate to the story.

Encourage complex verbal reasoning by:

a. asking open-ended questions

b. comment on problems and problem solving opportunities

c. describe actions as performed

d. add written language and numeracy to activities to more easily make


e. tie experiences to remote events and experiences

f. Sample questions: What is happening?

What do you think will happen?

Why did that happen?

What would happen if ???

Facilitate Social Language through Peer Interaction.

a. Prompt children to ask other children for assistance or directions instead of adults meeting these needs when appropriate.

b. Assign roles or characters during pretend play if children seem too shy or unable to join in the activity.

c. Comment and praise children’s attempts at peer interaction

d. Facilitate children’s ability to use words instead of actions when emotionally upset with other children; teach the proper vocabulary by commenting on one’s own feelings and emotions of self and others.

Promote second language acquisition to help English Language Learners to better understand and use English in the classroom.

a. Talk to children in English about ongoing events

b. Incorporate gestures to support word use

c. Reduce your rate of speech, especially when introducing new concepts or language forms

d. Rephrase questions/comments to simplify language when message is unclear

e. Provide positive feedback when child attempts to use English to communicate

f. Translate into first language when several attempts to communicate in English fail

g. Repeat, expand and/or correctly restate children’s attempts to use English.

h. Limit children’s verbal choices when ESL-

speaking children are expected to respond in English

(Did you see a big black bug or a blue butterfly?).

i. Introduce favorite English songs with instructional, functional actions and fingergplays at music (“Head, shoulders, knees and toes”, ‘Wheels on the Bus”, etc).

-Perform sound-symbol association tasks with an emphasis on how we make

these sounds with our mouths

-Play rhyming games to help develop phonological awareness.

-To promote literacy skill, point out words seen every day on food containers,

signs and products.

-Provide paper and crayons or markers for your children to draw or scribble on

to encourage writing and fine motor development.

Specific Suggestions For Fluency, (Stuttering) Language (Listening Comprehension and Expression), Articulation (Speech Sounds), and Voice:

Fluency: (stuttering)

Help all members of the class learn to take turns talking and listening. All students — and especially those who stutter — find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the listener’s attention.

Have a one-on-one conversation with the student who stutters about needed accommodations in the classroom. Respect the student’s needs, but do not be enabling. They may feel more comfortable when given answer choices rather than open-ended questions. They may also be more comfortable talking (orally) in centers with small groups or a special buddy rather than whole groups at circle time.

Use a slow and relaxed rate with your own speech, but not so slow that it is unnatural. Using pauses in your speech is a good way to slow down your own rate of speech as well as the students.

Give the child time to talk and do not interrupt or stop a child while he or she is speaking.


Have students take turns describing familiar items or objects (e.g., car, apple,

book) found in the classroom. One student chooses an object and gives three clues to describe it. All of the other students take turns guessing what the first student is describing (e.g., it is a fruit; it can be red or green; it grows on a tree). If no players guess correctly, the student provides another clue about the object. The player who correctly identifies the mystery object earns a point and chooses the next word to describe

To practice phonological awareness skills, students can practice

creating rhymes for things they see in their classroom or school environment.

For example, if a child chooses the word “tree,” other students must name some rhyming words (e.g., knee, see, me). The student who gives the

most rhymes is the winner! As an added bonus, students can create rhymes using nonsense words (e.g., slee, dree). Other students take turns identifying whether the rhyming word is a real word or a nonsense word.

Speak in sentences that are 1-2 words longer than the student’s typical utterances. If a student typically uses 2 word utterances, your interactions should be 3-4 words. You are eliminating complex structures that the student is not ready to use, which allows the student to focus on the next level of development.

When interacting with a preschool child repeat what the child says and add a word that is appropriate to the context.

For example: While playing with a toy car, the child says “car”… you could respond “Car. Go car.” If the child uses two words, expand to three words, etc. “Go, red car.”

Speak in sentences that are one to two words longer than the child’s typical utterances .

If a child usually combines two words, you should be modeling 3-4 words in your interactions. (My turtle) -(“The tiny turtle is crawling slowly”)

It is also important to expose the child to adult and peer models of conversation .

Although they are not yet ready to use these structures, they are exposed to the appropriate models.

Introduce new words or concepts to a child by using the word in a variety of situations as well as using the word repetitively.

For example, when teaching colors: show a blue ball, a blue car, the blue sky, etc. Also use pictures or objects when available to reinforce.

Music, movement, nursery rhymes, finger plays, and story time are very motivating times for children to promote spontaneous speech productions.

Basic Concepts Understanding and Use

Provide a visual demonstration of the concept. For example, if working on the concept “on” actually put an item on the table, on the box, etc.

Have the child physically demonstrate the concept when possible .Have the child actually get ‘on’ the carpet square.

Following Directions

When giving directions, repeat them again using different words if needed, and also using gestures can be beneficial. Be careful to pause and allow the child time to process; however, before you bombard them with too many words.

Articulation: (speech sounds)

With younger students, bring whatever you are talking about closer to your mouth so that the child is more apt to focus on speech production. (talking about the b sound in the word ball, bring the ball to your mouth and demonstrate how the lips come together for the /b/ sound)

If a student’s response contains a known sound error, it is important to repeat what the child said with an appropriate model.

(ex: If a child says “nak” for “snake” you would say “oh, you want the SNake.”

This way you are not focusing on the error or causing negative attention to the child, but providing an appropriate model.


Discuss healthy ways for students to use their voices (i.e. drink water, no caffeine, no yelling or strange voices, or to use a quiet voice but NO WHISPERING.

Provide a positive comment for a student using good vocal hygiene, such as not shouting to get attention.


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