Today, I want to share how to use sentence strips in speech therapy with your entire caseload! Have you ever worked with a student not getting the speech or language skills you were working on in speech therapy?
You frantically grab a post-it note and write a visual sentence strip related to your student’s speech or language goal. With some prompting and modeling with the sentence strip visual, your student begins seeing success with the concept. At the end of the school day, you have mini post-it notes tabbed in speech folders, on your therapy binder, or stuck to your table.
Today, I want to share how to use sentence strips in speech therapy with your entire caseload! And I Have a solution for never writing carrier phrases on post-it notes again.
Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post for your convenience. I receive a small commission when you use a link to purchase an item.
What are sentence strips?
If you are new to sentence strips, they are visual supports that provide a sentence starter to help students create a complete thought or sentence. Visual supports often give a framework for organizing thoughts and ideas. Typically, you write the beginning of the sentence visually for students and provide a dash or box to show them where to add new words. Get your free set of speech sound mats with visual strips HERE.
Benefits of Using Sentence Strips for Speech Therapy
When your students are learning a new skill, it is cognitively overwhelming. By providing a visual sentence strip, you can remove distractions so your students can focus on the skill.
You are breaking down a big skill, so your students have a framework to approach the concept or activity. As your students grow in their automaticity with the speech or language goal, you can fade away the use of the sentence strip.
For example, when teaching a child to make inferences, there are many components to that skill. First, you have to look for clues. Then, you have access to your background knowledge. And, last, you have to apply the clues and knowledge to formulate a guess about the picture or text.
Providing a sentence starter to help your student explain their inference removes the cognitive demand to organize their thoughts. A sentence strip for an inferencing goal may be “I think the character is feeling ______ because ________.”
Why I Love Sentence Strips in Speech Therapy
I love using sentence strips to help my students have a structured way to practice their speech and language goals.
When I see a student struggling with practicing a particular skill, I can quickly provide a visual cue without taking much time from the therapy session. Here are some reasons you gotta start using these in therapy:
- Teachers use sentence frames, so you are aligning with the classroom environment
- ELL learners benefit from the use of sentence frames
- These scaffolding visuals help students practice the listening and speaking common core standards
- More repetitions with speech or language goals because you are stopping less between trials
- Creates more independence and less verbal prompting
How to Make Visual Sentence Strips
You can write your sentences on your whiteboard, a post-it note, magnetic dry erase strips, or lined paper strips. Or, you can create them in PowerPoint or Google Slides. On apps that allow you to write, you can also digitally write them on the screen.
But, the only drawback to using some of these methods is listed as follows:
- You forgot what sentence starter you wrote the last session on the whiteboard
- There aren’t visual pictures for kids who are not yet reading
- And it’s tricky to find the visual you need when you serve a LOT of different goals
Have Your Visual Sentence Strips in One Spot
Because you serve a large caseload, having access to your visuals at any given moment in the session is key! If you have a lot of goals for the following treatment areas, check out the Sentence Strip Visuals for Speech and Langauge Goals Resource:
- Articulation and phonology
- Sound-loaded carrier phrase level
- Pronouns and noun-verb agreement
- Third person singular
- Present, past, and future verb tense
- Describing nouns by attributes
- Comparing and contrasting
- Inferencing and predicting
- Social communication
- Speech fluency
Not only do you get the sentence strip printables for all these skills, but you also get a no-print PDF that is linked so that you can have visuals on your computer or iPad. Switching between goals is easy!
And, you have 5 picture words for speech sounds so you can take progress monitoring data or use with the sentence frames.
Speech Therapy Sentence Strip Activities
If you need some ideas with how to start incorporating sentence strips, here are some ideas:
- Create an I Spy sensory bin with mini trinkets and use the items with sound-loaded carrier phrases.
- Grab your verb action photo cards or real photo vocabulary flashcards and work on describing by attributes.
- Read any book and work on describing the characters actions using the grammar sentence strips
- Look at real photos or wordless short videos and make inferences and predictions
- Progress monitor speech sound goals using the carrier phrases and picture word lists
- Pair with crafts. Students can glue or write their speech or language targets on the craft and then practice using the sentence strip
- Incorporate the sentence strips into your play-based speech therapy sessions.