I could honestly talk about themed therapy for hours upon hours. The advantages and the struggles. If you’re newer to the theme-based approach, you can learn about the “basics” in this blog post. Let’s say your sold on using a speech therapy themes and you’ve started the planning process. You’ve looked at your caseload and have a list of your themes. (If you’re stuck here, check out some of my ideas.) Now the therapy planning starts! One important planning step is developing themed word lists.

Thematic word lists are super helpful to us as therapists but also to our students. Using themed vocabulary words helps provide context for our students learning process. How and where can you start with these word lists? I have a few ideas in mind. Today, I’m writing to share places where you can find themed word lists to use with your games, toys, or activities that you’re planning. 

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Why are Themed Word Lists Helpful?

Learn about 5 places you can find theme-based vocabulary lists for your speech therapy sessions.

Themed vocabulary lists require a little bit of planning time and maybe even some research. It can feel a little time-consuming but as you plan more, the process usually speeds up! 

The time spent developing and planning thematic word lists will give you something to reference during sessions. It’s like your own cheat sheet for your sessions. Sessions can quickly become hectic with students with different goals, different materials, data to take, and maybe even some challenging behaviors. While balancing all of this, the last thing you want to worry about is coming up with vocabulary words on the spot. 

Themed Word Lists Save Your Brain Energy

Themed word lists are invaluable to use during sessions and save you some extra brain energy.

I know, I know… I’ll get to the good part. How do I make a themed word list? Where can I look when I’m stumped on which words to use? I have 5 ideas for you… 

Themed Therapy SLP FREE Quiz

I wanted to let you know about a free Themed Therapy SLP quiz I created to help you get information about using a theme-based approach. Whether you are new to themes, trying to get more organized, or need fresh ideas for planning by themes, you will want to take the quiz to get an email with links to podcast episodes, blog posts, and resources to help you with your themed therapy planning.

Websites for Themed Vocabulary Lists

1. Enchanted Learning has thematic word lists A-Y. They even have themes for different time periods! Choose your theme, then it will direct you to lists of words to use. These words are divided up by letter, which may be helpful for your students working on speech sounds. 

2. Visit Words to Use which is great to use for holiday and season themed word lists. This site breaks down words by part of speech. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a lot of options for non-seasonal themes such as pets, frogs, snowmen, or insects.

Learn where to find themed vocabulary word lists for your speech therapy sessions.

Thematic Word Lists Organized by Speech Sounds

3. On My Vocabulary, you can click on a particular topic like dinosaurs, and it will sort words by letters. 

    • Keep in mind words aren’t organized by their sound. So, a word like “fossil” will be listed as an “f” letter word. On your themed word list, you can use fossil for the initial /f/, medial /s/, and final /l/.

4. Themed Therapy SLP membership has themed word lists organized by speech sound in all the themes! That’s over 30 themes to have themed word list cheat sheets to reference as you plan out your themes. We can use them when practicing sounds during games, or open-ended reinforcers. Decrease your planning time and tackle themed therapy with your students!

Learn where to find themed word lists for your speech therapy sessions!

Thematic Word Lists Using Books

5. When you choose books within your theme, they often contain many great themed words to use with speech and language goals. 

    • For example, look at “Bee-Bim Bop” by Linda Sue Park. This book is loaded with thematic vocabulary for food such as supper, eggs, stir, fry, spatula, flip, rice, boil, pot, hot, knife, slice, garlic, green onions, meat, chop, bowls, spoons, chopsticks, dinner, recipe, and ingredients.
    • Try writing a themed word list from the book on a Post-it note and putting it inside the book. You could also use a vinyl pocket clear organizer in the book and hold index cards for words by sound.
    • If you don’t want to have to hunt around to find thematic words by speech sounds, join the themed therapy SLP membership. We have book cheat sheets filled out with speech sound words to save you time.


How Do You Store Your Themed Vocabulary Word Lists?

Hopefully, by now, your wheels are turning in ways you can develop themed word lists. Now the next step… storage! How do you store your themed vocabulary lists? If you have a way you keep your theme-based vocabulary word lists organized, share in the comments. 

Use speech therapy word lists by themes for your speech therapy sessions.