Home Activities

When you practice speech and language skills with your precious child at home, that can be an important way to further enhance communication skills.  This time is so valuable in terms of carrying over key speech skills throughout all areas of your child's day.  In my practice, I have noticed that the students who practice these skills at home with their parents typically make the most significant level of communication progress.  I will be including a series of various speech and language exercises within this website folder throughout the year in order to help you practice communication skills with your child at home. 

“R” Sound Practice Exercises!

"R" Sound practice! Just roll with it!!

Have you ever noticed that /R/ is one of the most difficult sounds for a child to produce. That's because a very challenging set of mouth movements is required when articulating that particular sound. The tongue needs to curl up and back in the mouth, while the voice box remains turned "on" to produce noise. The lips also should never touch, but remain fully puckered while articulating "R". A child can sometimes achieve one or two of the requirements such as successfully retracting the tongue back in the mouth or turning the voicebox motor "on", but may often lack the strength or may simply forget to pucker the lips. This often creates an Elmer Fudd like speech effect known as "liquid gliding" when the "R" sounds like a "W". In my professional experiences a child usually needs "at least 2 years" in a speech therapy program before the /R/ sound can be remediated and progress starts to carry over within spontaneous conversations. Also, there are several sound levels a child needs to master, including articulating the /R/ sound in isolation, syllables, words, multi-syllable words, phrases, sentences, multi-sentence level, and conversation. It's also important to focus on the different positions of a word (initial, final, and medial sound positions should be practiced for each target sound). So always remember to be patient when it comes to "R" sound remediation, for this program is a lot more comprehensive than first meets the eye. That's why I like to call it the "Roll With It" sound for not only does the tongue roll back, but each child also needs time and patience to be able to feel relaxed when rolling with the "R" sound strategies and practice! The moral of Aesop's fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare” is that consistent, dedicated effort will eventually lead to success. The same message rings true when it comes to practicing the "R" sound. Being slow and steady with one's dedicated articulation practice will ultimately win the speech race!

Maintaining the Topic of Conversation!

Incorporating hands-on crafts and step-by-step food activities at home.

Pairing Language With Hands-On Activities!

Did you know that the more conversations you share and valuable play time you spend with your child, the more language he/she absorbs? Try pairing simple short phrases, sentences, and even questions during fun, motivating activities together. For example- My son Anthony and I recently enjoyed this step-by-step food activity together in his Pre-K classroom. The task was to choose an animal to replicate with listed food items. During the activity I would either express in a sentence the action he was completing (sentence modeling) or I would ask him to find various items for our next task: "You are spreading the peanut butter", "I am puting the bagel on the plate", "Can you give me two strawberries?", "Put the blueberry on the banana slice." During moments when he wanted a little more assistance, I would step in when needed. At the end of each hands-on activity, try to give a brief recap in words of the steps you followed to get to the end result (example: ”First we got a bagel, Next we spread the peanut butter . . . , etc.” A language overview summarizing all of the steps is always helpful. Anthony did an excellent job during this project and he later enthusiastically shared with his Dada at home all the ingrefients he used to make his special owl snack! 🦉👍

Keeping a reading log at home.

More play interactions at home with your child leads to enhanced language and social skills progress!

Answering “Wh?” questions for home practice.

Teaching “Wh?” questions at home.

Teaching “Wh?” questions! Focus on a student’s strengths when teaching the differences among ”Who?”, ”What?”, ”Where?”, ”When?”, and ”Why?” questions. For example if a student is a more visual learner, try to color code the questions and use a variety of visual cue cards. Try to empower the student by having him/her help choose the given pictures and colors for each cue card. Another helpful strategy includes having the student highlight correct answers within photocopied stories using the same highlighted color for each type of question. If a student is more of an auditory learner, make sure to frequently repeat information and provide several spoken models. Finally, if a student is more of a tactile-kinesthetic learner, try to provide manipulatives that the child can hold to help him/her recall the differences among the lines of questioning. A total communication approach can also be implemented to help the students learn using several of their senses- senses of sight, hearing, and touch!

Using Colorforms and border activities to practice following directions

Sorting items by category, function, location, and attributes.

Articulation Station!!!

Children learn to articulate their target sounds while using this motivating iPad app that records their voice and allows them to change the words and pictures on each screen.

Fun With Verbs And Sentences!!

Fun With Verbs And Sentences!

In my professional experience, students often demonstrate more progress when utilizing tactile, hands-on activities. One example includes using the motivating iPad app. “Fun With Verbs and Sentences.” Children have the opportunity to create complete sentences by tapping on the subjects, verbs, and direct objects of their choice. A video is then displayed that matches the sentence the student created and expressed. This is a whole learning, multisensory approach that helps students feel empowered while expressing language!

Practice with asking questions at home!

Asking Specific Questions

In my professional experience, one of the best ways for children to practice asking specific "Wh" questions is to play a guessing game. During this time the student narrows down the possible answer choices by asking questions about the person, place, or item you have in mind. Perfect examples of these types of games include "20 questions", "Who Am I?", or "Guess Who?" During these games children need to ask really specific questions in order to figure out the final answer. Certain questions can range from "Does your person wear green glasses?", "Are you a type of transportation?", to "Where do you live?" You can modify the lesson by providing question sentence starters on flashcards or providing a box of answer choices, while gradually fading out these various prompts over time. By turning this language exercise into a fun game, it not only makes learning more motivating, but also makes it easier for a student to recall these types of question formats later. It's time to start being a great detective by investigating through the art of questioning!!!

Role-playing written stories at home to inspire creativity!

Motivating Sound Games!

Practicing speech sounds can sometimes feel a bit monotonous when carrying out the same kinds of routine exercises. That’s why it is so important  to try to vary the activities for elementary school children as much as possible to keep them engaged and motivated.  Try to make 2 copies of each picture that contains a targeted speech sound.  In the example above you see speech words that start with the /K/ sound.  You can play games like “Go Fish”, “Memory”, “UNO”, “Hidden Pictures”, and “Twister” with your speech words.  It takes a little extra work for teachers and parents, but a lifetime of fun memories and mastered speech skills for each child! 

MIT Brain Research- Language Development!

A recent MIT Brain Study has indicated that children scored better on language tests and experienced higher levels of brain activity on brain scans after engaging in more back and forth conversation exchanges with others!  Try to arrange as many conversation moments with your child/children everyday as you can not only to enhance your close family bond, but to also help build strong language skills! 

Auditory Bombardment!

Motivating Speech Practice Activities using Stories!

Speech practice at home can be as simple as reading a short story, that contains your child’s challenging sounds.  By hearing the correct production of the target sound repeatedly (“auditory bombardment”), it is helping your child to know the right model to follow in order to copy that same sound. They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”- Well in the speech world that is absolutely true! Try to find as many reading and conversation opportunities as possible in order to provide an excellent speech model for your child to hear!