I am a big believer in practicing speech skills over the summer. This year I made each of my students a Summer-Fun Communication and Literacy Gift Bag! I loved giving them all away. The kids loved them too! Hopefully, they will use the materials I included to help them continue growth in both literacy and oral language!
Some of my students have some very fun summer vacations planned! I wish I could tag along! Hawaii? Yes, please! Traveling and visiting new places is language building all by itself really, but there are some specific tips and ideas I’d like to share with you to help you keep your cool speech skills hotter than ever this summer!
Now that your kids won’t be seeing their school speech pathologist for a couple of months, when and where should you practice while traveling or at home? How can you build speech and language practices into busy summer schedules? Well, whether you are flying to Hawaii, or just busy with summer activities around the house, you can use these tips to be sure your child is practicing good speech and language all summer long! These 5 ideas for squeezing home practice into your summer days will help you beat the no-school-therapy heat of summer and sail into next fall with super cool speech and language skills! So what are you waiting for? Grab some lemonade and chat away…
5 SUPER – COOL SPEECH TIPS TO GET YOU THROUGH A HOT SUMMER!
1. Keep It Simple!
This is true for any speech and language homework activity any time of the year, but especially when you are traveling or just plain busy over the summer. Working on speech sounds and language skills doesn’t have to mean you are seated at the kitchen table for hours with a pile of worksheets to complete. Try a simple oral word game such as:
- “20 Questions”
- Riddle-Dee-Dee (i.e. Riddle dee, dee riddle dee, fellow…I see something that is yellow,” or Riddle dee dee, riddle dee fed, I see something that is red”, and the others playing will ask questions (yes/no or wh- questions to try and guess what object they have seen).
- Travel Games – You can play these oral language games while riding in the car, airplane, or while eating dinner. A few rounds of a guessing game involving asking and answering questions, giving descriptions, and rhyming is a great way to stimulate language.
2. Keep It Brief!
No need to spend a big chunk of time doing drills. A few minutes here and there is a much more effective way to practice speech skills.
3. Make it Fun!
Practice time shouldn’t be a punishment or used in a way that makes your child dread it. I recommend that when you want your child to spend some time practicing his/her speech or language, that you avoid those unwanted power struggles that sometimes ensue. Motivation is an important key to effective therapy in the school setting and clinic and it is also important for the home setting, too. Please strive to keep it fun, relaxed, and engaging!
4. Make it a Game!
A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right? Right! So make it a game! Boys respond especially well when there is an element of challenge involved. Who can name the most words with the /r/ sound? Ready? Go! Who can name the most zoo animals, pets, tools, sporting equipment, etc. Go! Who can make up a story about a green monkey who wanted to go to third grade? Go! Who can tell me 10 things you like about the 4th of July and why? Go! Use a timer or an hourglass to really help them feel like it’s a challenge. My students, especially the boys, will do just about any task if I get my timer and say that it is a game. “On your mark, get set, go!” They love it. Offer a prize for the person who can complete the challenge or who wins the game before time runs out. Some suggested prizes might include (but are not limited to); staying up 10 minutes later, running through the sprinklers, helping mom bake something, choosing a family movie to watch, sitting in the front seat of the car, going on a trip to the library or bookstore, eating 3 chocolate covered raisins! Whatever you can dream up that your child will think is fun! Ready, set, go…!
5. Use Technology!
Do you have an iPhone, iPad or any other mobile device with app capabilities? Since technology is very appealing to kids, try downloading a few language, reading, or vocabulary apps or games. Visit the Reading Rockets website for some great apps that build language. Do you have a Kindle, Kindle Fire, or Nook? Let your child pick out a book to download and read with you! Here is a list of recommended books for your child to read this summer put together by Reading Rockets. These technology devices are great and very convenient for families on the go. For articulation practice, see how many /s/ or /z/ letters your child can find on the page then have them make their good /s/ and /z/ sound. If they can read, have them read a sentence or paragraph out loud using their best speech sound(s). Reading a book is great for that long car or plane ride. Take advantage of the “mobile” technology if you have access to it. It will keep your kids busy learning while you hurry up and wait to get wherever you’re going!