Making everyday experiences language richMonday March 6, 2017
Between afterschool activities, therapy appointments and your to-do list, it can hard to find time to fit in extra practice for your child’s speech-language therapy. Parents can support their child’s expressive and receptive language goals making everyday activities (and even the extra special ones) more intentional. While many parents do this naturally, here are three simple ways to focus on building a language-rich experience. These tips can be used for everything from going to the grocery store to a day at the zoo or a special walk around the neighborhood.
- Make a plan before leaving the house.
Focus on using the future tense: we will, you will, we are going to
Use transition/sequencing words like: first, then, next, after, before, finally, last
Preview new vocabulary words associated with your activity.
Have younger children help make the plan by drawing out pictures or scribbling words next to your pictures. Older children can write out the plan in list form.
- During the activity, actively narrate what you and/or the child is doing.
Focus on using present-tense verbs (you are, it is, we are) and present-progressive –ing words (running, eating, looking, jumping).
Point out new vocabulary words and discuss what they mean.
For older kids, have the child guess what a word might mean based off context cues. For example, “We are in the produce aisle of the store. Look at what is around us. What do you think the word produce means?”
With younger children, you may simply repeat the new word in context. For example, “Wow, that giraffe’s neck is so long! His head is up in the trees because of his loooooong neck! It is longer than you, it is so long!”
- Discuss the activity once you get home.
Focus on using past-tense verbs, including –ed words and irregular verbs like: we ate, you jumped, they were, I was
If you took pictures, print them out and turn them into a book. For younger children, you can use the pictures or have the adult write a few key words. For older children, have them write a sentence or two that describes each picture. Use the book as a tool to help support retelling the events.
Younger children may simply list the action or noun with the occasional sequencing word. For example, “First, I saw elephants, monkeys and giraffes. Last, I rode the train.”
Preschool and early elementary children can focus on using sequencing words and begin to add additional details like the setting and people involved. For example, “Today I went to the zoo with Mommy. First, we saw the elephant. Next, we went to the monkeys and giraffes. Then Mommy bought us tickets to ride the train. We had a lot of fun!”
Older children (ages 7 and up) should focus on adding in emotions and smaller events that occurred within the outing. For example, “This morning, Mom and I went to the grocery store. Mom made a list, but we forgot it on the table, so we had to try to remember everything. First, we picked out all the produce. Then we got my favorite cereal. When we went to the checkout, and I remembered we needed eggs, too. Mom was happy we didn’t forget them!”
Keep in mind that you may first need to demonstrate how to retell a story, or you may need to provide support in adding details.
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