Supporting Speech and Language Skills when school is not in session 

School is not in session… How can my child work on his/her speech & language skills?


Watch short videos (such as Simon’s Cat on YouTube) together. Have your child identify the different characters, and retell what happened, using whole sentences (which can target summarizing, main idea, past tense verbs, and sequencing). You can also do this for longer shows or movies!


Choose a book to read together; consider reading one chapter or section at a time. As you read, or after you finish a section, talk about things like: 

  • Who is the main character? How would you describe him/her (appearance, personality, etc.)? Do you have anything in common? 

  • What problems do the characters face? How did they (or how could you) solve them? How are they feeling? 

  • What is the setting? (where the story takes place) 

  •  Were there any words you didn’t recognize in this part? Let’s go back and see if we can figure out what it means using the words around it (or the context). 

  • Did you notice any multiple meaning words? What do they mean? (Examples: trunk, club, fly, last, check, handle) 

  • What do you think will happen in the next chapter or section?

Suggested Board Games: 

  • Scattergories: This game allows for practice of naming items in categories. Rapid naming tasks such as these help build and strengthen connections in the brain to connect concepts and ideas. 

  • Hed Bandz: This game is great to focus on a variety of language goals! It includes such tasks as describing, asking/ answering questions, and vocabulary. To add difficulty, make your own cards – you can add such things as famous people, family members, school subjects, body parts, countries/states, animals, etc. 

  • Apples to Apples: This game is perfect to focus on skills such as word relationships, describing, comparing/contrasting, and vocabulary. There is both a junior and adult version available. 

  • Guess Who: This is a great game to work on reasoning, describing, asking/answering questions, and vocabulary. 

  • Rory’s Story Cubes: These cubes allow you to build your own stories, so you can focus on such things as grammar, building vocabulary, expanding sentences, telling a story in the appropriate sequence, and so much more! For extra practice, write down the stories that you create, and have your child draw pictures to go along with it. 

  • Connect Four: This game is great for students working on speech sounds – have your child say a word or sentence with his/her target sound correctly before taking a turn.


Make (or search online) for a list of words with your child’s sound(s) in the right spot. Try to find a list of at least 10-20 words that are fairly common one- or two- syllable words, and write them down. You can have your child draw a picture next to each one – you will use this list to practice later!

Spending 5 minutes a day (or every other day) practicing your child’s sounds can be very effective! You can have your child say each word on your list 5 times each correctly, make up a simple or silly sentence for each word, or incorporate some of the following activities to make it more fun!

Find some dice, and take turns saying a target word the number of times that comes up on the dice. Each person then receives that many ”points” – keep a tally and declare a winner at the end!

Suggested Apps: 

  • Toon Tastic (free with optional paid upgrades; for iPad): This app allows you to make your own animated films. You can draw your own set and/or characters, or use ones built into the app. 

  • Super Duper Story Maker (free with optional paid upgrades, for iPad): Similar to Toon Tastic, this app allows you to make your own story book. Both of these apps provide great practice for language skills such as grammar, turn taking, social skills, sequencing, and vocabulary. 

  • Mad Libs (free for iPad, iPhone, & iPod Touch): This app is a great way to work on grammar and parts of speech. The old fashioned paper and pencil version works, too! 

  • Classify It! (free for iPad and iPhone): This app targets categories, similarities, & differences while allowing your child to learn about different animals. Various levels of difficulty. Talking Tom (free for iPad, iPhone, & Android): This app is good for targeting specific speech sounds – have your child say his/her target sound in words, phrases, and/or sentences, and listen to Tom repeat them; then, decide if it was a correct or incorrect production of the sound. (Tip: Turn off some of the “extra” features in the settings to focus solely on speech.)

Posted by elizabeth.cole On 01 April, 2020 at 8:39 AM  

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