Let’s face it: SLPs are on a budget. And apparently, so are school districts . . . ‘cause they never seem to have any money available for educators to use for materials (this could be a whole different blog post filled with rants).
I know some SLPs get NO money for supplies, which is very unfortunate. That’s why I love having speech therapy activities that are budget-friendly, engaging for students, AND align with evidence-based practice.
Budget-Friendly Grammar Speech Therapy Activities
Today, I am going to share some grammar speech therapy activities that use paper plates. All you need are paper plates, glue, scissors, and markers! Plus, these grammar speech therapy activities will make you feel like a confident SLP, knowing that your lesson is aligned with EBP. Your kids will never know that they are “working” the entire session—which is a dream for the busy SLP.
What’s the Evidence Around Grammar Intervention?
If you want more information about best practices for grammar intervention in speech therapy, head to this blog post for more articles and tips. I always feel more confident about my therapy when I see research backing it up.
Cueing our students with the correct grammar form has shown to improve gains with grammar. In this study below, the researchers looked at using conversational recasting and cueing. Cueing showed more significant gains, but in other studies conversational recasting has also shown to be effective. Click the pink button below to get this FREE verb checklist.
With the results from another study, the researchers found more gains with grammar concepts when the clinicians used 24 unique verbs in a session with conversational recasting. Conversational recasting is when the clinician emphasizes what the child said with the correct grammar target. For example, if the child said, “He eat,” the clinician could say, “Yes, he eatsssss cookies.”
I will show you how you can get those 24 unique verbs in a session with my paper plate ideas. After reading this research, I did recognize that implementing this approach could be very difficult for SLPs who have high caseloads and are forced to have therapy groups of 4 and 5 students.
This research helped me to remember that I can target more than just a handful of verbs during a session (what I was previously doing in my drill) and that using a variety of verbs really does help our students with language impairments.
Plante, E., Ogilvie, T., Vance, R., Aguilar, J.M., Dailey, N.S., Meyers, C., … Burton, R. (2014). Variability in the language input to children enhances learning in a treatment context. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23, 530–545.
This research article found that explicitly teaching the grammar rules to students is effective.
Finestack, L. H. (2018). Evaluation of an explicit intervention to teach novel grammatical forms to children with developmental language disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0339.
Grammar Speech Therapy Activities with Paper Plates
The research shows that children with language impairments make better gains with generalizing grammar markers when provided explicit teaching of the grammar rules. That means we have to teach them the rule for the grammar concept.
So, for example, you can make a paper plate grammar slider to work on noun-verb agreement and present progressive markers.
You can also target past tense “was/were” and past tense regular and irregular grammar markers.
How to Make a Paper Plate Grammar Slider
First, you need to get an X-Acto craft knife, paper plates, markers, and colored paper (Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience). Then, you can cut out a two inch colored piece of paper to write the verbs and another strip to write is/are.
With the X-Acto knife, you will need to cut two slits in the paper plate. Allow at least 2 inches for the slits. Then, write your verb targets on one of the papers. Use two strips and try to write 24 verbs. The research also shows that using 24 unique verbs in a session shows significant improvements with language.
Then, slide the strips of paper between the two slits. Now, you can slide the paper strips up and down while practicing different verb targets.
You can adapt this grammar activity to work on pronouns or adding prepositional phrases.
Paper Plate Grammar Challenge
You can also work on grammar targets with a fun grammar challenge using paper plates. You need two paper plates. With your scissors, cut 2-inch slits around the plate. Then, on the other plate, put a generous amount of glue on the middle of the plate. Then, stick the plate with the slits on top of the glue.
Students can flip the flaps as they practice using their grammar target at the word or sentence level. After doing some drills, you can have students do “verb charades” and act out different verbs as an engaging activity. If you need help with coming up with verbs, download my free verb checklist by clicking the button below.
With your marker or stimulus picture items, glue/write your grammar targets on the bottom plate. You could write the verb on the top plate and then the conjugated verb for present progressive, past tense, third person singular, or future tense on the bottom plate.
More Easy-Prep Grammar Speech Therapy Activities
I have these fun visual supports that you can use with playdough to work on building more complex grammar structures. Read about it HERE and get the free printable.
You can also use Simon’s Cat videos to work on LOTS of verbs and grammar. I usually pair these videos with my FREE graphic organizer that you can find HERE.
What materials, books, or resources do you use to work on grammar in speech therapy? Share in the comments. If you make these fun paper plates in therapy, I would love to see pics. Just tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie.