Super Star Speech, series by Deborah Lott
Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple is an articulation therapy workbook series designed, written, and illustrated by speech-language pathologist Deborah Lott. Its purpose is to provide articulation activities for parents to help their children achieve developmentally appropriate speech sounds.
The picture links below will take you to Amazon.com, where you can take a look inside the books and read customer reviews.
Super Star DML Publishing, 2702 Gawain Rd., Huntsville, AL 35803
- Per volume, spiral-bound: $18.95
- Per volume, ring-bound: $22.95
- Set of 3, spiral-bound: $38.95
- Set of 3, ring-bound: $49.95
(Sets of 3 include Super Star Speech, Super Star R & L, and Super Star S, Z, & SH)
Web site: http://www.superstarspeech.com/
The main volume of the Super Star Speech series is a manual that contains a do-it-yourself articulation assessment with instructions, as well as tips and activities for working on 18 of the sounds most commonly distorted by young children. The other two volumes are sound-specific workbooks. One focuses on the /r/ and /l/ sounds, the other on /s/, /z/, and /sh/. There is also an e-book available for download that addresses /ch/, /j/, and /th/.
The main Super Star Speech volume is available spiral-bound or in a 3-ring binder to make removal and photocopying easier; the sound-specific workbooks are only available spiral-bound. Professionals may prefer the 3-ring binder option for clinical practice, since it's easier to send a single sheet through the copier than to copy from a book; however, spiral-bound is probably a better choice (sturdier, cheaper, and less bulky) for parents using the books at home.
Like me, Deborah Lott likes to have parents sit in on her therapy sessions and learn techniques to use in practice at home. Super Star Speech is designed as a home program for parents of children with a few relatively simple, easily corrected speech sound errors. For children with complex articulation disorders (affecting several sounds), or other communication disorders like trouble with grammar and vocabulary, Lott advises you to seek help from a qualified speech-language pathologist rather than trying to "fix" the problem yourself.
Super Star Speech (main volume) begins with an introduction and instructions for administering the articulation home test. Please note that this is not a standardized test, and is only for your own reference and self-education so that you can get a clear idea of what you need to work on with your child. This test is not included in the other volumes of the series. Those are sound-specific and assume you have already narrowed down your targets to those sounds. The test involves:
- Stimulus pictures to test for sounds in initial, medial, and final position (e.g., /p/ in pie, puppy, cup).
- A response sheet with sounds arranged in expected age of mastery (earlier developing sounds at the top, later developing sounds at the bottom).
- Instructions for marking sounds made correctly, omitted, substituted, or distorted.
- A sound error analysis sheet for identifying common articulatory features of sounds produced in error.
- A therapy plan form on which to list target sounds, the date you started working on each sound, and the date the sound was mastered in isolation, words, phrases, sentences, and conversation.
- Instructions for administering the test, recording responses, and testing for stimulability (the ability to produce the sound in response to coaching or modeling by an adult).
Here's a piece of free advice from me: if you are going to use this test on your child, take the time to read the instructions and practice first. Even experienced speech-language pathologists like me do this when we administer an unfamiliar test for the first time--sort of like rehearsing our lines for a play. It's easy to make mistakes when administering a test, especially if you're doing it for the first time, and some mistakes can compromise the validity of your results. So familiarize yourself with the materials and the procedures, and talk through it, several times. Begin by going through it alone; then practice giving the test to your spouse, an older child, or a friend. Once you've really got the hang of it, then and only then bring in your child and do it "for real".
Following the test comes a brief (3 page) set of general therapy instructions, including a step-by-step guide to setting goals, a sample lesson plan, and helpful tips for teaching all sounds. Again, practice is a good idea. This section also appears in the sound-specific volumes.
After the general instructions come specific sound instructions and word lists for 18 of the most commonly misarticulated sounds produced by English-speaking children. The remainder of the volume consists of games, activities, and flashcards you can use while you're working on speech sounds with your child. Many of these can be copied, cut out, and laminated.
The volumes targeting specific sounds are arranged in much the same way as the main volume, but they do not include the home articulation test. They also have a lot more sound-specific material. Super Star S, Z, & Sh has about 45 pages of activities and materials specifically targeting those three sounds. The main volume, Super Star Speech, has quite a few pages of activities that can be used for any sound, but just three pages specialized for /s/, /z/, and /sh/. So, if your child's articulation difficulties are limited to those three sounds, it might be a better idea to purchase the sound-specific volume.
Note: I was not provided a review copy of Super Star R & L or of Super Star Ch, J, and Th. I assume they are arranged in much the same way as Super Star S, Z, & Sh.
The pictures and games in the series are mostly home-made, hand-drawn, and pretty simple. A few of the buyer reviews at Amazon.com are rather negative because of this. I suppose the writers were expecting a slick, glossy publication with illustrations by a professional graphic artist, and were put off by the comparative crudeness they found. Trust me, your kids won't care. The purpose of these volumes is to help your child speak more clearly, not to win a Caldecott Medal for best-illustrated children's book. Speech-language pathologists have been creating their own materials for decades, usually because the slick, professionally-done materials available don't fit what we need to do. I've done very effective therapy using stick figure drawings. I'll certainly concede, though, that it would be nice if the flash cards were on heavier card stock and perforated for easy removal. This would certainly increase the cost of the volumes, but it would make them a better value.
On the whole, I rate this series highly as a nicely laid-out, user-friendly resource suitable for parents and clinicians alike. I certainly plan to keep and use my complimentary review copies, and may very well decide to purchase the rest of the volumes for a complete set.
Elsewhere on my site, I've stated my position (in no uncertain terms) on parents approaching speech therapy as a do-it-yourself project. However, I would have no hesitation in recommending the Super Star Speech series for use in a speech therapy home program in consultation with a qualified speech-language pathologist. School-based SLPs in particular might find it useful to recommend the appropriate volume to parents of students whose articulation disorders are not severe enough to qualify them for therapy in school, or students who have made good progress in therapy and would benefit from a maintenance program at home to solidify the progress they have made.
These volumes can be purchased directly from the publisher or from Amazon.com.
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