Raise your hand if you have students working on articulation in your therapy room! I think most SLPs can agree that we have a lot of those students either in a speech improvement program or on an IEP. It can be so tricky to help our articulation students make generalization progress when they are in a mixed group.One way to tackle those mixed groups is by planning an activity around all the goals. Or, you can set up station time for students. You can give your articulation students an independent activity to complete for 10-15 minutes while you provide direct instruction to the other kids in the group. And then, the kids switch.
If you are lucky to have a pure artic/phonology group, you can plan 5-10 minute station activities that your students can rotate through during the session. One of the stations can be working directly with you! This is when you can take data, check self-awareness, and get those high productions in the session.
Handy Tools and Items for Your Articulation Stations
Ultra Fine Dry Erase Markers – These are my MOST favorite and used dry erase markers (Amazon affiliate link) for any activity that has a page protector or that is a laminated resource. Timer – Your smartphone will do just fine, but if you want something more visual, then I recommend a Time Timer or Time Tracker (Amazon affiliate links).Clickers – For some activity stations, having a digital clicker (Amazon affiliate link) can keep kids motivated and get the higher productions that you want!
Foam Die – This is great for kids rolling the die (Amazon affiliate link) to see how many productions they have to produce. Magnetic Chips and Wand – These are great tools to help kids stay motivated to keep practicing, because they can put a chip on the picture they practiced. This lets the student know how many more are left. And, my students love picking up the chips with the magnetic wand. Mini erasers, Dinky Doodad Trinkets, dot markers, or small edibles, like Skittles, are other materials to help keep kids motivated to practice.
Teaching Behavioral Expectations and Routines
In order to be successful with stations, you have to put a heavy focus on teaching the behavioral expectations and routines. Those first couple of weeks, implementing stations will be about setting the routines. If you need more information about how to set up and teach behavioral routines, then check out this blog post HERE. That said, you may know which groups might not be ready to follow a station model due to behaviors and attention spans.
Implementing Articulation Stations in Your Therapy Room
The key to a successful articulation station is teaching the behavioral expectations and having an engaging activity. You can have the independent stations have the activities that might not get high repetitions but engage the students in thinking. Then, when the students switch to your station, you can ramp up the drill-and-kill.
Here are some therapy ideas that will help you plan effective articulation station activities:
Pipe Cleaner Articulation Station – Grab some pipe cleaners and plastic beads to have students practice their articulation words at the word, phrase, or sentence level. If you need some premade task cards for R, grab this set in my store. I also have K, G, F, V task cards.
“I Spy” Articulation Sensory Bin – You can make an “I Spy” sensory bin that can be used for articulation (it can also be used for language). Give your students an articulation mat for their sound and have them search for mini trinkets that have their speech sound. Want these mats? They are free on this blog post. Plus, all the details for how to make this interactive sensory bin are on that post.
Articulation Letter Dough Stamps – I found these Letter Dough Stamps (link?) at Lakeshore and had to have them. You can work on spelling while your students are practicing their articulation words with play dough or kinetic sand. Check out this blog post to read more about how to make this DIY therapy activity.
Articulation Centers That Will Increase Speech Productions
Articulation Challenge – Grab your timer, a clicker, and a word list to make this articulation station. Your student sets the timer for one minute and then uses the clicker to keep track of how many productions he/she can do in that time. Then, they can set the timer again and try to beat their score. If you have two students at the station, then one student can judge productions using the Self-Rating Scale from Speechy Musings (link?) or the rating scales from my Articulation Carryover Activities Set that you can download by clicking the pink button below.
Abacus Articulation Station – You can buy an Abacus (Amazon affiliate link) or make your own abacus HERE to help kids stay focused on producing their sounds. Give them a word list or picture cards and have them slide a bead across for every syllable, word, or sentence production.
Articulation Flashcard Books – have your students make their own flashcard books with this FREE template. Grab your artic decks, or give them index cards to draw or write their speech words. As they practice the cards, they can sort which ones they said correctly and which ones they need to practice again. This helps build self-awareness for correct versus incorrect sound productions.
Race to 100 Station – Print up a word list or use picture words while your students play Race to 100. Whatever the die lands on, that is how many words your student has to practice. Grab this free printable and see more pics in action HERE. Mommy Speech Therapy has FREE colored picture word lists for this station.
Articulation Flip Books – Use my articulation flip books as a station. They are designed for different levels, and students can hit a lot of productions. My students love using a dry erase marker. The flip books are predictable, so the kids stay focused and on- task. Grab these flip books HERE.
Sentence Level Articulation Stations for Therapy
Students at the sentence level can still do an articulation challenge with repetitive sentences. If you need articulation resources for the sentence level, here are some that I created:
What Articulation Activities Can You Turn into a Station?
What activities do you already have prepped that you can turn into an articulation station? I would love to know any quick artic activities you use with your students. I am always looking for ways to motivate my students to practice. Share in the comments below.
I am always on the hunt for materials that are easy to prep and will help engage my students while they are working toward their goals. A good worksheet or set of flashcards will definitely produce positive outcomes in the therapy room, but my kids seem to produce so much more work when the activity is hands-on.
Letter Stamps Can Increase Engagement
Today, I want to show you how you can use letter stamps in speech therapy. It won’t make a huge mess and will be easy to carry around for you traveling SLPs, or those SLPs who do quick artic in the hallways.
Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post for your convenience. I get a small compensation when you click on the link and purchase the item.
Where to Find Letter Stamps for Speech Therapy
Last summer, I found these plastic Letter Stamps from Lakeshore Learning and had to have them! You can also snag some on Amazon from Discount School Supply. There is also Mad Mattr dough that never dries out and has a fun consistency. I bought the upper alphabet set that comes with numbers and letters. If you need more playdough ideas for therapy, head to this BLOG POST (it includes FREE mats to use with playdough).
There are several ways SLPs can use letter stamps in speech therapy. Here are some of my favorite ideas for articulation/phonology therapy:
Have your student use the letter that correlates with his/her sound and stamp it each time that he/she producing the sound in syllables or words. I know that not all the sounds match the letters perfectly, but it works for most of them. You can get in lots of drill with this! If you need some stimulus task cards for prevocalic R, r-blends, and vocalic R words, grab this Articulation Letter Stamp Station HERE. I also have a blends version you can grab HERE.
More Ways to Use Letter Stamps
You can read words, single sentences, or a story out loud to your student. Your student can stamp his/her sound letter every time he/she hears her sound.
Use the B, M, E stamp letters in the kinetic sand. Say a word to your student and have him/her identify which position your student hears his/her words. This will work on sound awareness and also phonological awareness skills.
Make an Articulation Station
If you are working with mixed groups and need some dedicated time to baseline/progress monitor other students or just need a good solid 10 minutes to teach a new concept to a student in the group, you can create articulation stations with activities that keep the students focused on his/her goals independently. You may need to teach the behavioral expectations when implementing stations those first few weeks. If you need a framework for how to do that, head to this BLOG POST.
Give your students a task card with pictures and the spelling of the words. Have them stamp out each word in the playdough. Then, they have to practice that sound 5 times or write it in a sentence. Then, the student can take those sentences home to practice or use the next session as a warm-up!
Phonological Awareness Activities With Letter Stamps
With the number stamps, you can have students identify the number of syllables in a word for phonological awareness or working on breaking down multi-syllable words.
You can also work on building phonemic awareness by having students stamp out real or nonsense CVC words in the playdough/kinetic sand. Then, have your students work on substituting sounds to make new word combinations. Or have them add or delete sounds to create new sounds.
Using Letter Stamps with Language Therapy
When you are working on describing nouns by attributes (i.e. category, function, size, color, texture, parts, etc.), you can have your student stamp a number for each attribute they share. This will allow them to visually see how many attributes they provided. You can visually and verbally give feedback when they provide more attributes.
Students can identify if a phrase is true/false using the T and F letter stamps.
Using Letter Stamps To Visually Cue Students
For your students working on monitoring social behavior in a group session, you can stamp an E for expected behavior and a U for unexpected behavior during the session. This can visually cue the student to monitor his/her behavior without stopping the lesson. Plus, you will have some data on how often you had to cue them. You can also give the student a social situation and have them stamp E if the behavior was expected or U if the behavior was unexpected.
Share How You Would Use Letter Stamps in Speech Therapy
The best way to get the most out of a material item is to collaborate with other like-minded professionals. That is why I always want to know how you would use a material in therapy. When I have more ideas, therapy feels fresh and new with my groups. If you use letter stamps in speech therapy, please share how you use them in the comments or email me at email@example.com.
Also, I love seeing therapy pics in action, so feel free to tag me on Instagram with your letter stamps @thedabblingspeechie.
Do you find that once you establish the articulation sound in words and even carrier phrases, your students struggle with articulation carryover outside the speech room? And you struggle with articulation carryover in spontaneous conversational activities? One of the biggest struggles SLPs face with articulation therapy is helping students learn to carry over that skill into all areas of the student’s life.
What is Articulation Carryover?
A lot of my articulation carryover learning has come from the bookCarryover Techniques (in Articulation & Phonology Therapy) by Pam Marshala. You can grab the book on her website or find it on AmazonHERE(Amazon affiliate link). It is a very insightful and helpful resource for the SLP that includes practical evidence an SLP can use tomorrow.
Articulation carryover means that a student is able to correctly produce their sounds in the following ways:
All types of words and in all positions of words
All phonemes, and can mark morphemes where applicable: plurals, possessives, etc.
In all types of spoken literatures: songs, poems, paragraphs, chapters, etc.
For all pragmatic purposes: protesting, negotiating, informing, commenting, questioning, etc.
When speaking in all locations: home, school, store, recess, sports practice, etc.
When speaking to all communication partners: family, teachers, friends, neighbors, etc.
Basically, the end goal is that we want our students to carry over the skills taught in the speech room across a lot of different speaking situations.
Why is Carryover Difficult for Students?
Learning a new skill that requires a student to change a pattern or habit is difficult. Think about a habit or pattern that you are trying to change in your own life. Reflect on the emotions and challenges you face with implementing the new skill. Let’s use waking up 30 minutes earlier each day. Humans don’t necessarily like drastic changes and when we are trying to make new habits, it requires us to practice and implement skills that are uncomfortable to us.
What is Self Monitoring?
Self-monitoring when your student is aware of his/her speech productions and whether he/she is making the production correctly. Ideally, we want our students to be self-monitoring their speech during the session, but more importantly, in the classroom and out in the community.
Articulation Carryover Visuals To Support Self Monitoring
One way for SLPs to help with generalization in articulation therapy is to improve a child’s ability to self-monitor their productions. Articulation Carryover visuals to support self-monitoring have created an opportunity for me to have discussions about a student’s productions. Using articulation carryover visuals has given my students a way to self-reflect on their performance, set goals for improvement, and figure out ways they can work on their articulation productions outside of the speech room.
Ideas For How to Improve Self Monitoring Skills
Here are some ideas for how SLPs can help improve their student’s self-monitoring skills in articulation therapy:
Videotape your student during a conversational task. Have your student use the self-reflection sheet in the free download below to evaluate how their speech sounded.
Have your student identify errors in the SLP to make sure they can auditorily discriminate between a correct and incorrect production.
Brainstorm with your student times during the school day and outside of school that they want to improve their speech.
Use the emoji progress monitor sheet to set a goal with your student during a speaking task (they can start with 6-10 errors). Have them chart their progress and discuss whether they met their goal. Discuss what helped them or got in their way of using correct productions.
Students can chart their progress each session. The SLP and student can have a discussion about their productions and then make a goal for the next session.
More Ways To Improve Self Monitoring Skills in Your Students
Work with the teacher and student to think of some ways the student can practice his/her speech in the classroom environment. This can better help you plan lessons to practice those skills in the speech room. For example, if your student wants to practice at the library, you can create a script that he/she can practice during your speech session. Then, when the student goes to the library, he/she will know what to say when checking out a book, taking the cognitive load off of what to say. The student can then focus more on the sound productions during that interaction.
One other suggestion that Van Riper shares is that self-monitoring may increase if you have your student work on his/her speech while doing other simple activities at the same time. So, you could plan a craft for the session and have the student work on his/her speech during conversation. Or better yet, build something with LEGOs, play a game, or draw a picture scene.
What Types of Homework Should You Be Sending Home?
Try to get parent involvement for practicing speech in a variety of conversational tasks. Give the parents a progress monitoring sheet and a list of speaking ideas to practice during the week.HERE is a FREE homework printable sheet that I send home with families.
Pick a variety of conversational tasks for students to practice their speech in the session. Students can practice comparing/contrasting nouns, answering comprehension questions from a story, summarize a video, and have a conversation with a peer. Read more about these ideasHERE.
Give the student speech assignments in which he/she has to practice his/her speech outside of the therapy room and report back next session. For example, you can have your student practice his/her speech when playing four square at recess. The next session, the student can report about how his/her speech productions were during that social interaction.
Tips for Managing the Carryover Process
Be patient. Charles Van Riper advises that SLPs should not rush the carryover process. It will take time to see and make changes.
Teachers, parents, caregivers, peers, and teacher aides can help support your student’s carryover into new environments. Not all people in the student’s environment will be helpful with promoting carryover. Sometimes certain people should not be in the carryover process at all.
Have a contract with your older students, which will help with accountability. It can also be helpful for showing the IEP team why a student is, or is not, making progress on his/her goals. If the student isn’t putting in the work to practice, it will affect his/her progress.
Have a chart that documents a student’s progress, which can help him/her see that the work he/she is doing is beneficial. When students can report about specific situations they struggle with communicating, you can better serve them. You can brainstorm certain words that were difficult for them. And, you can also highlight words that they pronounced correctly!
Be mindful of your student’s self-esteem and desires. Your student may or may not want you or other school staff correcting his/her speech in certain situations. It is great to have a discussion about how they want to be given feedback, or ways the teacher or SLP can give non-verbal feedback.
Considerations for Working on Carryover With Students That Have Intellectual Disabilities
Students with lower cognitive skills must be taught very specific skills under very specific circumstances because generalizing is difficult for them. It would be very helpful to know what the student needs to communicate about, and then teach those specific skills in the speech room as well as encourage the classroom staff to work on communication skills. For example, to help a student improve his/her communication intelligibility in the classroom, you can create a conversational script for different activities. In speech you can practice the correct pronunciation of the words needed to use the restroom at the word level, in sentence, and then when practicing the script.
Need More Resources & Therapy Ideas to Help With Planning Carryover Ideas?
For my students working on their sound beyond the word or sentence level, I like to have interactive lessons that can also be used with my language-impaired students. Check out my blog post for resources and therapy ideasHERE. If you are trying to get higher word repetitions and still want to keep the therapy session engaging, I recommend checking out thisPOST. It is filled with easy ways you can increase articulation repetitions in a fun way!
Need CEU Hours and Want to Learn More About Articulation Carryover
In real life, I am not a fan of spiders, or any creepy insects for that matter. If I see a spider crawl out of a cupboard or found in a dark corner in a bag in the garage, I literally freak out like someone is attacking me!
Can you relate? In our old house, our garage was known to have black widows, so if I saw one of those gnarly things, I went into a panic: hurry, kill it quick! Daddy long legs and small spiders don’t seem to bring on the panic, but when I hear people say that humans actually eat 8 spiders a year in their sleep, it kinda wants to make me gag. Who knows if that statistic is even true, but I don’t really want to think about it at the moment.
Anyways, the whole reason I bring up “spiders” is to tell you that it is a great theme to use in your speech therapy room. There are lots of great books, crafts, YouTube videos and activities you can use to work on speech and language skills. As long as they are fake, spiders are allowed in my therapy room. How about you? Today I am going to be sharing about spider activities for speech that can be your October theme–this is especially helpful if your school is not able to plan Halloween activities. If you need some Halloween ideas for therapy, check out some of my previous blog posts for therapy ideas:
There are some really great books with spiders as the main character that you can use in speech. Here are some of my favorites to use in therapy:
Aaarrggh Spider by Lydia Monk (affiliate link) is a great story about a spider that wants to be this family’s pet. It is great for answering comprehension questions and story retell. It also works on perspective taking and how the spider feels verses the family. The spider doesn’t understand why the family freaks out every time they see him.
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle (affiliate link) is a great book to work on sequencing and teach verbs such as “spin,” “ride,” “eat,” and “run.” This book is also great for teaching the animal category. You can use the pictures in the book to work on describing the animals by attributes and what they are doing or where they are located.
Spider Activities For Speech
Students can use spider webs while working on their speech and language targets.
You can do spider races to work on go/stop (CORE vocab), target the verb “blow”, and teach the basic concept “across”. Read this blog post for more pics and details.
For your students working on functional communication and language skills, use a Visual Recipe from Live Love Speech to make this adorable spider snack. I loved having the visuals to target wh-questions, and vocabulary. Then, while the kids eat their snack, we tried to get some natural conversation going.
Using Spider Crafts In Speech
Make a crawly spider in speech. Students can practice following directions while making this spider craft. You just cut out black circles for the head, get the spider face printable on this blog post (free printable), and then cut black strips of construction paper (affiliate link). The students fold the construction paper back and forth to make the legs. You can work on simple sequencing of how to make the craft, practice the basic concepts “on”, “before”, and “after” while doing the craft. After creating the craft, you can work on asking which pictures are near the spider’s head and far from the spider’s head.
Students can glue speech or language targets on the spider’s leg. Keep the spider crafts as decor or use them as the warm up for the next session. Send them home for additional practice. I used my Any Craft Companion Pack to have targets for the craft. If you are short on prep time, have students write their targets using white crayon or colored pencil.
If you have been following me on social media and my blog for a while, then you will know how much I LOVE Simon’s Cat videos on YouTube. The videos are like a movie comic strip that are non-verbal, so they are very versatile for speech and language therapy. Check out this blog post for more details about how I adapt these videos across grades and skills.
This past week I used these videos with my 4-6th grade students to work on a number of language skills: using the vocabulary word “predict,” perspective taking skills for the characters emotions, thought bubbles, sequencing the video with grammatically correct sentences, connecting words (first, next, last) as well as descriptive language.
Scishowkids makes a pretty good argument about why we shouldn’t be afraid of spiders. This is a great video to discuss main idea and details from a video. You can work on vocabulary tasks with the words “afraid,” “jump,” and “spin.”
If you work as a school based SLP, getting speech therapy referrals for the R sound is pretty common. The /r/ distortions are pretty noticeable by teachers, parents and staff. Have you ever gotten that referral from a preschooler or kindergarten teacher and think, “I should probably get that teacher a developmental norms chart ASAP.”
A couple of years ago, our SLP Professional Learning Community discussed how to handle speech therapy referrals for /r/. Guess what happened…..there were a lot of varying answers and viewpoints. It stirred up a hot debate (all friendly discussion). And we left the PLC without a clear direction with how to handle /r/ speech therapy referrals.
What I learned after the Professional Learning Community Discussion
The perspectives of the /r/ referral varied from SLP to SLP. Some felt that you should take them younger (6-7 years of age) if they are stimuable. Other SLPs felt that the student wouldn’t meet eligibility for an articulation disorder based on educational code, but the student would receive support via Response To Intervention (RTI) with speech improvement. There were some SLPs that didn’t feel comfortable with providing RTI because of potential legal ramifications for seeing gen ed students without an IEP.
I decided to send out a survey on Speech Therapy Referrals
The discussion with other SLPs in the room was helpful in learning about different perspectives regarding an /r/ referral. However, I didn’t leave the discussion with a clearer understanding of what our district was supporting SLPs to do. Everyone had valid points and reasons for how they handled /r/ referrals, but we lacked a cohesive game plan for /r/.
My biggest question to the SLPs in the group was “when do you consider an /r/ error outside normal development?” I also wanted to know when SLPs took students with /r/ distortions on their IEP caseload or if they treated it through RTI.
Again, answers varied from SLPs. This prompted me to wonder what other SLPs thought across the United States. I figured I could get a bigger perspective by surveying a larger group.
Here is the situation I shared with SLPs
You have a 7 year old in second grade with a distorted /r/ in all positions. The teacher shares that at times it is difficult to understand the student. The parent also has concerns about his articulation. The parent signed a screening form for you to do a quick observation of his speech. You noticed that the /r/ is pretty distorted and he is not stimuable for /r/ when given prompts.
These were the results from the survey on how SLPs would handle /r/ referral:
Speech Therapy Referrals – Considerations about /r/
Many SLP’s commented that they would do an RTI model for this student; however, their district does not allow them to see students without an IEP.
Some SLP’s shared that they would not get an assessment plan signed until after age 8 because their district eligibility guidelines would not allow them to take a student for /r/ at age 7. Interestingly, some SLP’s shared that their district would not deem a single sound error of /r/ to meet eligibility for speech services. (There is an argument that /r/ is not a single sound error among some SLPs).
Many SLP’s also shared that because the teacher and SLP are observing reduced intelligibility, this may warrant a full assessment of articulation.
What I learned from being in the school setting & doing this survey
In certain districts where I have worked, I would not be able to get a signed assessment plan until the student turned 8. I was also told that I could not serve students in an RTI model because this would impact legalities with my job.
When looking at an /r/ referral, I have to determine if the articulation disorder is adversely impacting the student’s academic progress. This is where we ask ourselves if the student’s /r/ distortion is adversely impacting the student’s ability to meet the speaking and listening standards. We would also want to determine if the student’s intelligibility is below 80% intelligible. If it isn’t affecting academics or intelligibility, it is highly likely that the student will not meet eligibility for an IEP under an articulation disorder. That being said, if you feel that the /r/ distortion is adversely impacting those two areas, it is very important to make distinct mention of that in your report findings.
A few SLP’s shared that the classroom teacher must do 6-8 weeks of general education intervention before moving towards an assessment.
Many SLP’s shared that when the student’s /r/ is addressed earlier than 7.5-8 years in a “speech improvement model”, the /r/ improves. Furthermore, many have found when they monitor the student’s growth just by checking in with the gen ed teacher, that most develop the /r/ in third grade without intervention.
We must also consider our professional judgment with dealing with these referrals. We use the developmental norms as a guideline and really need to look at educational impact when looking at a student with articulation errors.
How I handled /r/ referrals in my previous job
Based on some reading that I did on ASHA’s website, federal law may impact an SLP’s ability to take students with /r/ on an IEP. Serving students in an RTI model may also lead use to legal implications. ASHA recommends SLPs not label intervention as RTI, but rather call it a “speech club.” I call my intervention “speech improvement class.”
Here is a link to RTI information on ASHA. This could be a great discussion piece to have with your districts and speech departments. I also found the Speech Sound Disorders page on the ASHA website helpful.
At the time of this survey, my speech department was having a lot of discussions about implementing a “speech improvement program” or seeing students on an IEP for /r/. There was not a final discussion. So, I did see a couple of students in speech improvement class that have noticeable /r/ distortions. The students were in second grade and between 7 or 7 1/2 years of age. Parent permission was obtained and the speech improvement class was for 6-8 weeks.
What are your thoughts about the /r/ referral or single sound error referrals?
How does your SLP department and district handle speech therapy referrals for /r/? What are your thoughts on taking an /r/ student in the school setting? I would love to hear your expertise. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share in the comments below.
Do you have students that are at the generalization level with their articulation? I have some articulation carryover therapy resources that will help you plan therapy that also go well with mixed groups!
Need some free visuals to support self awareness and functional practice of your student’s articulation sounds? This blog post has FREE printables and ideas for how to organize your articulation therapy.