Every SLP needs resources on how to implement effective grammar intervention because half our caseloads have goals in this area!

Much of my career as a speech therapist has been working with students that have goals targeting grammar. I have seen that many children with deficits with grammar, often times, have language deficits in other areas such as vocabulary, oral comprehension and story narration.

how to implement Effective grammar strategies and resources

Today, I wanted to share about some articles I have found that talk about strategies for implementing effective grammar intervention.

Information about Implementing Effective Grammar Intervention

What I found when reading these different articles is there is not a “must use this technique always” when targeting grammar.  There is however, some really good guidelines that researchers have found to be helpful when you, the clinician are creating a treatment plan.

10 Principles of Grammar Intervention was a really good article to read that outlines what a clinician should consider when developing therapy plans for a student.

Fey, M.E., Long, S.H., Finestack, L.H. (2003). Ten principles of grammatical intervention for children with specific language impairments. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12: 3-15

Some of the principles shared in the article are as follows:

  • The function of improving a child’s expressive grammar is so that they can have better language to effectively communicate whether orally or in written form. Thus, we should be targeting skills that will help improve their communication (a tip for writing/choosing goals) or help them to make progress with common core standards and academic activities.
  • A clinician may get more “bang for their buck” if they target grammar by broad grammar patterns verses “isolated” grammar targets.
  • “When grammar is targeted, it should be treated in ways that lead to improvements in other domains, such as storytelling, comprehension and expression of expository text, and reading comprehension.”

Grammar Intervention Research Article

A randomized clinical trial looked at two grammar treatment procedures of recasting and a cuing hierarchy in 31 five year olds to see which treatment would yield better results.

Here is what they found:

First off, the very fancy term “recasting” is simply the clinician implicitly responding to a child’s response with the correct grammar and sometimes emphasizing the correct word like, “I really love cookiessssss too.”  This technique helps keep the flow of conversation going without having to stop and correct the child. (you’re welcome for learning a big fancy speech therapy word…now go sprinkle that into your IEP meetings to impress some folk

In the study, when a child in the recast group made a grammar error, the SLP would do a “recast” and move on with the lesson, using recasting every time there was an error.

With the cueing group, when the child made an error, the SLP went through a hierarchy of scaffolding techniques to work on having the child correctly produce the grammar structure.

The overall study found that the cueing group made more growth then the recasting group.

So, children with speech and language impairments appear to be responding to implicit grammar intervention that provides cueing and allowing the child to say the sentence again to correct his/her error.

The Effectiveness of Two Grammar Treatment Procedures for Children With SLI: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2015, Vol. 46, 312-324. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0041 Karen M. Smith-Lock, Suze Leitão, Polly Prior, and Lyndsey Nickels

Practical Strategies For Grammar Intervention

 Now, time for the practical tips for implementing these findings!  I typically will do 0ne-two structured therapy sessions filled with cueing and explicitly teaching the grammar components that I want to target. It will include visuals sentence strips, visuals of the rules, worksheets, lots of modeling, and having the student trying to correctly use the grammar rule.
Then, my next two sessions are filled with activities that the child may be asked to do in the classroom.  Basically, working on generalizing or applying the skill into a more complex task.  Often times, I will use books, story telling, answering wh-questions, describing nouns by attributes, play activities (i.e. play dough, cars, tea party, etc.) or describing picture scenes to work on grammar.  During this time, I am modeling, expanding, and “recasting” (it feels good word dropping fancy terms here). I feel like these sessions allow me to also let them hear correct grammar modeled to them, which seems important to the process.

Effective grammar resources that incorporate visual supports and hands on interaction for speech therapy

My Parts of Speech Sentence Flips are a great tool to use as a warm up to build mastery of LOTS of different grammar.  These sentence flips have a lot of opportunities for clinicians to cue the student with the correct grammar.

effective grammar intervention resources that incorporate visuals and make speech therapy fun!

My Parts of Speech Flashcard books are a great tool to use as a quick warm up as well or send home as homework.  Once assembled, students can create grammatically correct sentences with visual supports.

Use sentence frame graphic organizer with any language activity! FREE printable for teaching grammar concepts.

Sentence Frame Graphic Organizer (FREE) is a great tool to use with any book, youtube video or a picture.  It provides color coded columns to sort different parts of speech.  This is a great tool to start building more complex sentences and beginning to introduce written language.

effective grammar intervention resources that give visual supports to help with learning parts of speech

My Student Language Helpers are visual supports that you can make with two file folders glued or stapled together.  You can then glue all the different parts of speech to the helper.  The student can use this in the speech room or even in the classroom to help when writing sentences!

effective grammar intervention resources using themed vocabulary to practice grammar targets in speech therapy!

My seasonal themed vocabulary and grammar resource allows me to used seasonal vocabulary to practice grammar concepts as well as work on other skills such as wh-questions, compare/contrast and describing by attributes. These activities and visuals pair well with all of my seasonal books that I like to bring into the therapy room.

What resources for implementing effective grammar intervention do you use?  What techniques and research have you found for this intervention?  I would love to add more tools to my tool belt! Comment below or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com

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