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At Home Language Activities - PreKindergarten(Archived)
More general language stimulation techniques
Due Date: 6/10/2015
Subject: PreKindergarten


Parents of children who are referred to Speech-Language Pathologists in preschool are often interested in ideas for enhancing their child’s language understanding at home.  The following are some ideas for stimulating comprehension skills during routine interaction at home:

  • Remember that hearing and listening are not the same.  If you suspect that your child is not always hearing well or has frequent episodes of congestion or middle ear infection or fluid, share your concerns with your child’s medical provider.
  • Establish eye contact with your child when speaking with them at home.  If needed, call your child’s name and wait for them to look at you before beginning to talk.  This will help to ensure that you have their attention which is a precursor to listening to a message.
  • Take time to listen when your child is communicating.  This means stopping what you are doing and focusing your attention on the chld while he/she is communicating with you.  This will send the message that you are interested in what they have to say and are ready to talk and listen.
  • Model courteous listening behavior yourself at home.  Avoid interrupting your family members at home and wait for them to finish a message.
  • Remove distractions such as background noise in the environment from the TV or radio to promote better listening.
  • Repeat and/or rephrase your message when needed.  If your child doesn’t seem to understand your first spoken message, try repeating your message a second time or rephrasing it in a different, more simplified way.
  • Allow your child extra wait time before responding to your question or direction so they have enough time to process the language.
  • Speak to your child using a form and vocabulary that they can comprehend. 
  • Have your child repeat directions back to you before beginning to carry them out.
  • Try presenting directions in small chunks of information; allow pauses between chunks for processing of information.
  • If your child doesn’t understand a question posed to them, rephrase the question into an “either-or” format so they can hear the two presented choices which will enable them to respond more easily.
  • Use gestures and other types of body language and pointing to add to your spoken message.
  • Read to your child daily.  Your child will benefit from listening to books that introduce new vocabulary and concepts, help them learn to sequence events they hear in a story, and expand basic listening and attention.
  • When watching television with your child, use the time as an opportunity to expand on what is happening in the show, ask questions to check comprehension and reinforce introduced vocabulary and concepts.

Speech and Language Enrichment = Summer Fun!
Due Date: 6/10/2015
Subject: PreKindergarten

Speech and Language Enrichment = Summer Fun!

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Posted on by mjfledderjohn

School’s out, but you can support your child’s speech and language skills in typical summer activities.  They provide wonderful contexts to enrich your child’s communication development and still have lots of fun!  For specific guidance in skills to target, remember your child’s IEP goals and information on specific targets and strategies provided to you by your child’s SLP.  If your child is still in school, communicate with his/her SLP to determine the relevancy of this content to your child and any necessary adaptations to make your child successful.

Water Balloon Towel Toss or Air filled balloon toss (good for inside rainy/hot days….players kneel instead of stand)

Divide your children (siblings, play dates, neighbors, or even you [the kid at heart]) in pairs.  Provide each team with a bath towel or pillow case. Have the children grab the edges of the parachute, and place a water balloon on it. Work together to toss the balloons up and down until it falls and breaks.  If someone gets wet, it’s all the more fun!

** Traditional water balloon toss is fun too in which pairs toss a water balloon back and forth until it breaks.  

Remember please, natural language will occur.  You’re instantly targeting working together, using social skills, and taking turns.  Don’t forget, especially in the balloon toss game, you’re can use sabotage techniques by throwing your child the balloon after s/he practices 

  1.  Saying words/phrases/sentences containing words with his/her speech sounds
  2. Using a sentence with nonverbal skills (looking towards you, persisting when you don’t respond, gaining your attention by such means as calling you or tapping your arm) to effectively request the balloon.
  3. Commenting on the game or a pre-decided kid-friendly topic (ex:  family vacation, visit to the pool, etc.).  Remember, everyone has to make comments related to the previous comment, so that you’re encouraging back and forth conversation about the same topic.   
  4. As you toss the balloon back and forth, play a guessing game like “I spy.”  Every time a player catches the balloon, s/he either starts the game with “I spy something….” followed by a description or the player responds to the description by making a guess.  The third turn will be the initial player telling whether the “guesser” is correct.  Continue with guesses and responses until the object is guessed.

As always, remember to cue your child as necessary to make him/her successful…..and be sure to have fun! 

Walk around the neighborhood/park/zoo/grocery store/anywhere you venture

As always, when you’re going for a walk, talk about your environment and encourage your child to.  Listen to his/her comments and talk about the same things.  Add information to what s/he says.  Practice short back and forth conversations about it.  Take turns asking and answering questions with each other.  It may help to have an older child or significant other take the role of the conversational partner, so you and your child can act as a team for you to cue/model language for your child to use. 

Make special treats or even an everyday lunch with your child

Kids often love to “cook” (making pudding, chocolate milk, sandwiches, cakes from cake mixes, or decorating cookies/cupcakes, etc.).  Skills such as sequencing events (a precursor to story telling.…”First, we….  Then, we….  Last, we….”), using phrases/sentences, following directions, taking turns, etc. are natural targets in cooking activities.

Read, read, and read!!! 

Summer is a great time to explore new interests or one related to a fun summer event (ex:  a book about the zoo or the pool before going there) through books.  Books give your child the opportunity to learn new words and concepts, to use words/phrases/sentences (depending on your child’s level), to answer questions, to hold back and forth conversations about each book, to practice sequencing events (retelling the story with supports as needed) and to reinforce reading skills (like moving your finger along with the words to model left to right and top to bottom orientation). 

Don’t forget your library!  There’s no need to spend any money there, and you might just practice communication skills with friends your child already has or one s/he meets while visiting the library! 

Also, please remember repetition is very important for children.  Read the same story over and over again.  Your child will learn more and more from each reading of the story.  Think about how you learn new information.  Things like reading and doing and seeing things over and over are how we all learn!  Consider something like when you learned your job or when you learned how to drive a car.  You needed to purposely think about each step like checking the mirrors and putting on your turn signal.  Gradually, you practiced and it became more automatic and required less thinking.  The same is true for your child in learning speech and language skills.

Blow bubbles

Blowing bubbles is a great time to practice using words, phrases, and sentences to request a turn to blow or pop bubbles.  Skills such as learning and using descriptive words (big, little, etc…..”I blew a big bubble”) and prepositions (in, on, under, over, etc……”Blow a bubble over the flower.”  “The bubble went under the patio table.”).  Also, things like turn taking, talking to peers/adults effectively, and social skills can be worked on between you and your child or between your child and another child. 

Pool play

Concepts like wet, dry, deep, one, both, cold, warm, hot and body parts can be reinforced by talking about them and having your child follow directions (ex:  “Dry both of your arms”).  Other related words are easy to model and encourage your child to use, as well (ex:  swim suit, pool, water, splash, bubbles).  

Play pool games like tossing a beach ball back and forth to work on interaction skills and hiding pool toys to work on directions (ex:  “Find the green fish” or “Find the turtle” or “First get the turtle, then get the crab”).

Have a picnic

Whether outside on your patio or lawn, at a park, or on your living room floor, pack and have a picnic together.  Consider reading one or more books about picnics with your child.  Plan a menu and write a grocery list (if needed) and a packing list with your child (pictures from the internet are great for this as your child can “read” the list too).  Let your child help make the food (see the bottom of page 1 for speech and language ideas).  Pack for the picnic together as your child helps “read” and cross off items needed.  Embed pretend play in the picnic, such as pretending to drive to a park (if you’re at home) or setting a place for and “talking to” a favorite stuffed animal, doll, or action figure.  Practice conversational skills while eating.  Consider having a second, third, or more picnic with other family or one or two friends to practice communication skills with peers.  Remember repetition is important for children.  You have to eat anyway, so why not make it more summer fun if you can!

By Mary Jane Fledderjohn, MS, CCC-SLP/L

Due Date: 3/26/2014
Subject: PreKindergarten


A Great Way to Improve Oral Language and Literacy Development


Telling and retelling stories with your child is a fantastic and fun way to improve oral language skills! Good oral language skills have been proven to be a predictor of and a causal factor in reading achievement. Research also indicates that storytelling with preschool and elementary age students has a positive impact on their educational performance. You can improve your child’s language and literacy development by engaging in shared reading and storytelling activities. The following are some fun ways to improve oral language and storytelling skills:

1.      Read with your child often. After you read the story, have your child retell the story to you using the pictures in the book to help.

2.      When you participate in activities outside of the home, such as a trip to the park or visiting a friend’s house, take photographs of the outing. Talk out loud about what you will do before you do it and then while it is happening. When you get home, look at the photos of the outing together and help your child to retell the “story” of what you did that day.

3.      Talk about the steps necessary to complete everyday tasks, such as how to brush teeth or take a bath. Use words such as, “first”, “then”, “next” and “last”.

4.      Talk about the characters in a story and where and when the story takes place. You can emphasize the concepts of character and setting.

5.      Model storytelling for your child. Use rich, descriptive language when telling or retelling a story.

6.      Talk about the feelings, moods, and motivation of characters in the story.

7.      Use puppets, dolls, or action figures to act out favorite stories or fairy tales.


Don’t be afraid to be silly and animated during storytelling! If your child is having fun and is motivated to pay attention, she/he will be more likely to learn.


                                                                        Melissa Barra

                                                                        Speech-Language Pathologist

                                                                        Early Childhood Program

Nursery Rhymes
Due Date: 12/17/2013
Subject: PreKindergarten

How nursery rhymes can help children learn

Are you like the one in four adults who are unable to remember a whole nursery rhyme? Have you ever wondered about the significance of nursery rhymes to a child in the 21st century?

Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in Year 3.

Why is this?

1. Nursery rhymes are a great way into learning early phonic skills (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate letter sounds).

Most schools use phonics as one of the main ways to teach reading. See more on this in future Reading Power articles.

2. Nursery rhymes give children practice in pitch, volume as well as in language rhythm.

Think about how your voice sounds when you ask a question or when you retell an event to friends – children need to learn these language variations.

3. Nursery rhymes expand your child’s imagination.

Nursery rhymes allow you to take your child to an imaginary world where blackbirds are baked in pies and vinegar and brown paper are a remedy for a cracked head! They transport children to a world of fantasy and play and can really develop your child’s visualization skills through the use of actions.

4. Nursery rhymes follow a clear sequence of events.

Although short, nursery rhymes often tell a story and contain a beginning, middle and end. Whilst this may be a compact way of storytelling, these will be some of the first stories your child will be able to follow and understand. An engagement with a sequence of events will be a skill they need when reading.

5. Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, so they become some of a child’s first sentences.

Children start to speak by using single words, ‘car’ and eventually put these together to express meaning, ‘Me go.’. Nursery rhymes allow even very young children to speak and understand in full sentences; this is a skill they will need before they are able to read.

6. Nursery rhymes improve a child’s vocabulary.

Children hear and use new words that they wouldn’t come across in everyday language, for example, ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,’ or ‘when the bough breaks’ from Rock a bye Baby.

7. Nursery rhymes are an early form of poetry.

Your child will have to read, analyze and write about poetry throughout their school career and will be examined on their understanding of poetry in both English Language and English Literature. Why not give them a head start?

8. Nursery rhymes contain sophisticated literary devices!

Think of the alliteration in ‘Goosey, Goosey Gander’ or the onomatopoeia in ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and rhyme in: ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are.’

Nursery rhymes are a powerful learning source in early literacy. They enable children to become interested in the rhythm and patterns of language in a way that listening to stories does not provide.

9. Nursery rhymes are fun!

Quite often nursery rhymes make no sense or have unexpected endings – this is something your child will enjoy. Have a look at one of the lesser known verses of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’:

Round and round the mulberry bush, The monkey chased the weasel, The monkey stopped to pull up his socks, And Pop goes the weasel.

Unusual? Yes. Funny though!


Start with simple rhymes that are not very lengthy. Try ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’, ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive’.

Use actions, facial expression and vary your voice to capture their interest.

As your child becomes more familiar with the rhymes, encourage them to join in and say parts of the rhyme themselves (it will take a while before they can recite whole rhymes independently).

Remember that nursery rhymes are portable, they can be enjoyed anytime, any place, anywhere! Share them at bath time, when getting ready for bed, whilst cooking tea or in the car (and remember they can be fantastic tantrum diffusers as often children cannot resist joining in!).


1. Miss out rhyming words: encourage your child to finish the line.

2. Change words to make your own personalised rhymes, for example, ‘Nye and Jill went up the hill’ or, ‘One for the master, one for the dame and one for Nia Hopkins, who lives down the lane.’

3. Devise your own actions for nursery rhymes. Let your child suggest suitable ones which they’ll be more likely to remember.

4. Clap along and establish a steady beat.

5. Say the wrong words and let your children correct you!

6. Make a nursery rhyme ‘prop’ box by collecting items that feature in your favourites.

7. Paint/draw pictures of your favourite scenes or characters in the rhyme.

8. Visit the library to loan nursery rhyme books to extend your repertoire.

9. Buy a CD or download a selection to play and sing along with in the house or in the car.


Taken from

General Language Stimulation Techniques
Due Date: 11/21/2013
Subject: PreKindergarten

General  Suggestions for Language Stimulation

1. Expansion

Increase the length of the child's utterance by adding more information.

Child: "Kitty jump!"

Adult: "Yes, the kitty is jumped over the chair!"

2. Modeling Research has found modeling to be a very effective means of expanding the use of language.

Adding a new statement to what the child just said.

Child: "Milk gone."

Adult: " It spilled when you knocked the glass over."

3. Echo Correction The child needs to hear the correct form of the sentence, but not be told to repeat it. If corrected too much tension can follow and cause further communication problems.

Child: "Him goed to the park."

Adult: "Yes, he went to the park." (emphasize the correct usage)

4. Self Talk The adult verbalizes his/her feelings and opinions and reports verbally regarding his/her activities.

Adult: "First I am going to open the box, then I will pour the cereal in the bowl.  I am so hungry right now!"

5. Parallel Talk The adult verbalizes the child's activities, feelings, and opinion.

Adult: "You fell down.  Aw, that makes you feel sad. I bet you want a Band-Aid."

Your child's language skills will increase if their verbalizations are met with interest and encouragement.  All of these suggestions can be easily incorporated into daily activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, playing and trips to the grocery store.

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