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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Speech Sound Practice: Make it Fun!

This is the timer function on my cell phone.
It's within the clock app. 
It's summer, hooray!  Time for vacations and trips and a break from our routines!

I'm all for summer fun, but as an SLP (speech language pathologist), I don't want my speech students to lose their speech skills over the summer.  So, I often give parents summer packets and word lists to practice over their summer vacations.  But this summer, I have a new twist on speech homework:   The Super Speed Speech Sound Game.

(By the way, I got the idea for this game from the Whole Brain Teaching authors -- they have a super speed game for learning math facts, sight words, etc., and I love so many of their ideas!  Check them out!)

Generally, in the Super Speed Speech Sound Game, I give families a numbered list of 60 to 100 words that contain their child's target speech sound. These words are usually words we have practiced many times in speech, so that children can be pretty successful saying the words correctly, even without me there.  The words can just be a written list if the child is a reader, or I'll give a list of pictures/icons if they aren't yet readers.  Then, you play the game like this:

The Super Speed Speech Sound Game

1.  Set a timer for 1 minute. (most cell phones have a timer function)

2. When the timer starts, the child starts at #1 and says as many words correctly from the list, in order, as possible.  You interrupt them if the word was incorrect and have them repeat it correctly (quickly) before they can move to the next word.  Don't let them slip an incorrect word past you--we don't want a child to practice a word wrong! So don't be afraid to interrupt them and have them repeat the word until it is right.

3.  When the timer buzzes, write down the number of the last word on the list the child said correctly. This becomes their "score."

4.  Then, challenge the child to try to "beat their score" two times.  Reset the timer for one minute and have the child start over at #1 and read the same words over again quickly and correctly.  Again, if they say a word incorrectly, interrupt them and have them repeat the word correctly.  When the timer buzzes a second time, compare the # they got to with their first attempt.  The second try is almost always higher!   Celebrate that the child "beat their high score!"  Then, reset the timer again, and do one last round.  When the timer buzzes, write down the # they got to.

5.  If the child beats their high score twice,  reward them with a dance around the kitchen table or something equally silly.

That's it!  Instead of begging your kids to practice their speech words, they will be begging you to play this fun game with them!  (Well, maybe at least they won't complain about it!)

The Super Speed Speech Sound Game will build automaticity and help children maintain their speech sound skills even when they are out for the summer.  Let me know if you try it, and how your child liked it, if you did!

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