This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Today I will talk about how I incorporate literacy into my language therapy sessions for non-readers (and early readers). Here are some ideas for you:
1) Name recognition: I have used name tags in the past for my speech therapy groups. Each session I would place name tags in a new spot (usually on the floor as I do much of my therapy on the floor) and see which students can recognize their names and sit in the correct spot.
2) Book Helper: During book reading in therapy I want to see if students fully understand correct book orientation by being my book helper. Students will get a change to hold my therapy books while I read from them. During this time I will want to answer the following questions: Do they hold the book upright? Do they begin at the first page and turn one page at a time?
3) Book reading: After reading a book, I allow my students to take turns being the “teacher” by “reading” the story again to us. I of course am listening to their language as well as observing if they are using the pictures of the book to help sequence the story correctly. However, with regards to literacy, I am looking to see if my students can point to the words on the page and seem to know when one word stops and the next one begins.
4) Selective use of word labels in play: In play I will selectively use some word labels for the purpose of additional exposure to words. For example, if I am playing with animals and my goal is to sort zoo vs. farm animals, I will label one area on my therapy floor as the “farm” and another area as the “zoo”. Another example, I will add the label “airport” onto my airport when we play. I will add the label “park” in an ares where we will “park” our planes.
5) Word labels in language activities: I ALWAYS add word labels with any picture I use in therapy. Again, word labels are there for exposure only. For example, if I am working on prepositions and we are playing a directions game. I will give my direction, and have the student attempt to follow it. After the direction is correctly followed (independently or with assistance) I will restate that direction while holding up a picture representation of the preposition with the word label (if the student needs a visual to understand the meaning of the preposition, I will use the picture as a visual cue).
6) Picture Sentences: This is an easy way to target simple grammatical sentences by placing each picture (with their own word labels) in the correct order (left to right as if reading it) to create a picture sentence.
When using word labels, I never place too much emphasis on the word itself as the goal of therapy is language development. I just use words for exposure so students understand that every word we say is actually represented by letters as well.
I hope you enjoyed these ideas. Come back next week and I’ll talk about how I incorporate literacy into articulation therapy.