Articulation therapy activities for older students

There are a lot of articulation activities out there, but sometimes it’s hard to find articulation therapy activities older students will enjoy and benefit from.

Here is a home maintenance program that I often use with my more advanced students. These are the students who are able to produce their target sounds accurately in the therapy room, but need to work on self-monitoring outside the therapy setting. In other words, they now have the ability to articulate their target sounds accurately in the articulation therapy setting, but they need a bit more practice to make their accurate speech sound articulation more habitual.

Before doing this or any home articulation activities, check with your child’s speech-language pathologist to be sure it is appropriate for her. Children who are not yet ready for this activity will not benefit from it.

  • Have your child read to you for 5-10 minutes each day (just before bed is a great time for this!). Pick a book that is within your child’s comfort zone so that she will not have to put a lot of mental energy into decoding the text.
  • Before your child begins reading, offer a reminder to self-monitor her target speech sound articulation. For example, if your child is working on the /s/ sound, you might say: “Remember, we’re going to be looking out for words with the /s/ sound. When you come to a word with the S sound, really try to make the best /s/ sound you can.”
  • Encourage your child to read slowly. It is all right for her to slow down or exaggerate words with the target sound. You may also have her point to words with the target sound as she reads them—or, you can give her an auditory cue (e.g., snapping your fingers or tapping the table with a pencil).
  • Remember, you’re her fan, not her critic. If she distorts the target sound, don’t stop her right away. Let her finish the sentence, then have her practice the word where you heard the distortion (e.g., “Could you just read this word for me again before we go on?”). Then let her continue.
  • Don’t expect 100% perfection all of the time. The goal here is to help her develop the habit of listening to herself and to “become her own speech therapist”.
Doing this activity daily can help your child retain and generalize the skills she has learned in speech therapy. Continue doing this activity until your child’s articulation is clear in everyday speech without reminders from you.

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