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Back-to-School Activities for Speech-Language Pathologists

September 14, 2023

Returning to school signifies a fresh start for many students. For Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), it's an opportunity to engage students in activities that stimulate communication, enhance speech skills, and boost their confidence. Let's delve into some innovative back-to-school activities tailored for SLPs to make the transition smoother and more enriching for their students:


1.” All About Me" Presentations:

Encourage students to create a short presentation or story about themselves. This can help the SLP gauge the child’s current speech and language abilities while allowing the student to share about their summer, hobbies, or favorite things.

2. Story Retell:

Read a short story or fable and have the student retell it in their own words. This will assess their comprehension, sequencing skills, articulation, and fluency.

3. Word Association Games:

Start with a back-to-school-related word like "book" and have the student provide associated words. This aids in vocabulary building and semantic connections.


4. Descriptive Show and Tell:

Invite students to bring an object from home and describe it without naming it, letting peers guess what it is. This challenges them to use descriptive language effectively.


5. Mystery Sound Game:

Play various sounds related to school (e.g., a bell ringing, chalk on a blackboard). Ask the students to identify them, fostering active listening skills.


6. Sentence Expansion Activities:

Provide students with simple sentences and challenge them to expand them by adding adjectives, adverbs, or additional clauses. This activity targets both vocabulary and grammar.


7. Role-Playing Social Interactions:

Role-playing common school scenarios, like asking for help or initiating a conversation with a peer, can be beneficial for students with pragmatic language challenges.


8. "Wh" Question Cards:

Develop cards with questions starting with 'who,' 'what,' 'when,' 'where,' and 'why' related to school themes. This will assist in comprehension and the development of appropriate question responses.


9. Sound Hunt:

Have students look for items in the classroom or school that begin or end with targeted sounds, catering to those working on specific articulation goals.


10. Listening Comprehension Challenges:

Read a paragraph or a list of instructions related to a school activity. Then, quiz students on what they've heard. This can target memory and comprehension simultaneously.

11. Barrier Games:

Place a barrier between two students. One describes a picture or scene, and the other attempts to recreate it based on the description. This emphasizes clear articulation and detailed language use.


12. Rhyming Bingo:

Create a bingo card with words related to school. Call out a word, and students must identify and cover a rhyming word on their card. This promotes phonemic awareness and rhyme recognition.


13. Vocabulary Journal:

Encourage students to maintain a vocabulary journal, noting new words they encounter each day. At the end of the week, review and discuss the words, their meanings, and their use in sentences.

14. Speech Sound Collage:

Allow students to make collages by cutting out pictures from magazines that contain their target speech sounds. This creates a visual reminder of the sounds they're working on.


15. Social Scenario Discussions:

Present students with hypothetical social scenarios they might face in school, like "What would you do if someone took your pencil without asking?" Discuss appropriate responses, facial expressions, and tone of voice.


The start of the school year presents a fantastic opportunity for Speech-Language Pathologists to incorporate innovative strategies to evaluate and foster speech and language development. The key is to create an environment where students feel safe and motivated to communicate, explore, and challenge their current abilities. Through the above activities, SLPs can ensure that their students are not just passively returning to school but are actively engaged in enriching communication experiences from day one.

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