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Speech and Language

Classroom Strategies:

Classroom Strategies for Language.....2
Vocabulary and Word
Following Directions, Processing Information and
Word Meanings.4-5
Grammar/Sentence Structure6
Content, Meaning and Basic Concepts7-8
Expanding Limited Expressive Language Skills................................9
Social Communication..10
Articulation and Phonology..11-12

Please contact Alison Russell, Speech-Language Pathologist for

additional information!

Classroom Strategies for Students with Language Difficulty

When developing these strategies, efforts were made to address
the most common areas of needs. Please note that all suggestions
may not be appropriate for every student and you may need to
modify them on an individual basis.
1. Preferential seating: student with language disorder sits in
the front
a. Monitor that your student understood directions and is
paying attention
2. Separate your student with a language impairment from
potentially disruptive children
a. If your student is distracted by their neighbor they
will not be listening to you
3. Allow extra time to complete work
a. It's a good idea to allow the child with language
processing difficulties extra time to complete a set
work assignment. Often, because of distractions or slow
handwriting or problems in decoding text, children with
language difficulties tend to struggle to get set work
4. Visual Routine, Graphic Organizers, Daily Planners
a. Strict routines, that students can follow, can be
effective classroom strategies, especially if students
have a history of poor organizational skills. Children
with language difficulty tend to be the ones who
'forget' to do, homework or fail to take homework
home, or lose their jumper or their hat, etc.
b. A planner is a useful way to ensure that the child with
language impairment is on the same page as you. The
clear information that a visual sequence of events can
make is worth the little extra work needed to
complete one. A visual reminder of the day's events can
make a big difference to a child's daily organization

Vocabulary and Word Meanings:

1. Prior to introducing new units/stories complete a list of key
vocabulary words. Discuss words and possible meaning with
students. (Give words to Speech Pathologist or Intervention
Specialist to pre-teach or review with the student).
2. Teach vocabulary in context
3. When introducing new words, try using a graphic organizer,
visual mapping, word webs, word maps, student drawings, to
come up with word relationships including discussing antonyms
or synonyms, categories.
4. When possible pair a visual picture (or gestures, objects,
etc.) with the vocabulary words. When vocabulary is
abstract and pictures are not available, try to relate the
words to a personal experience for students to relate to.
5. Use demonstration paired with student interaction/movement
to act out meaning.
6. Use examples/acting out, pictures and multiple modalities to
teach figurative language and multiple meanings.
7. Place words and definitions on note cards. Use cards to play
games such as matching or memory.
8. Use peer instruction/cooperative groups.
9. Create word lists with vocabulary and definitions to display
in a visible place within the classroom.
10. Encourage use of word-games that target vocabulary with
family (Headbands, Tribond, Apples to Apples Jr., etc.)

Following Directions/Processing Information/Comprehension:

Following Directions:
1. When giving directions, repeat them again using different
2. Use gestures when giving directions can be helpful.
3. If there are several directions, give one or two directions
at a time versus all at one time.
4. Be specific.
5. If possible, give a visual cue. For example, if making an
activity you can demonstrate the steps as you go along.
Showing the completed project would also provide them
6. When working with projects that have mutli-step
directions, it may be helpful to write the directions on the
7. Create a list of common directions that are used
throughout the day. When needed, they can be laminated
and place on the board for the entire class, or can be
smaller to be placed on the individuals desk.
8. The student may benefit from sitting next to an individual
who would be willing to provide assistance with multi-step
Processing Information:
1. Ask basic questions that have the answer in a picture or
hands-on activity.
2. Provide small group opportunities where the children can
discuss newly learned concepts or ideas
3. Provide adequate time for the child to process what you
have asked them and form their answer. If the child does
not respond after a given period of time, ask the question
in a different way.
4. Use several modalities when teaching materials (speaking,
reading, writing, listening, visual, hands-on.)

5. Do frequency comprehension checks when teaching. Stop

periodically and discuss the information you have
6. Encourage the students to ask for help.
7. Provide additional support for writing down information,
such as assignments in the students homework notebook.
Actual pictures could also be taken of what needs to go
home. Some students may need written directions on how
to complete assignments so that parents can assist them
in the home.
1. Ensure the students attention
2. Use slower rate of speaking
3. Present information in smaller steps or chunks
4. Use a variety of games i.e. Bingo, Simon Says, 20
5. Before presenting information, tell the student what to
listen for
6. Rephrase/paraphrase auditory information
7. Have the student repeat the information
8. Ask the students a variety of WH questions
9. Use a story map, graphic organizer, student drawing, etc.
to increase understanding
10. Break stories into smaller units and ask questions
11. Teach story elements, character, setting, problem, etc.
12. Review, discuss and paraphrase main idea

Grammar/Sentence Structure:
1. Model correct grammatical forms: if the child says something
incorrectly, repeat it for them correctly in a natural way.
Be sensitive about not drawing negative attention to their
language. For example, if the child says, I goed to the
store. Youd say, oh, you went to the store.
2. When the childs speech or writing contains grammar or word
order errors, show them in writing the correct form.
3. During classroom work/assignments, have the student repeat
correct grammatical forms.
4. Observe if the student can self-correct when reminded:
when working with the child individually with written or oral
language, repeat the error and ask the child how the
sentence sounds. For example, the child says or writes, I
goed to the store? Does that sound right? If the child is
unable to correct it give them a choice. For example, Which
sounds better, I goes to the store. Or I went to the
5. For frequently occurring errors, build it into daily oral
language as practice for the entire class.
6. Have the student construct oral sentences with targeted
grammar structures.
7. Encourage students to use complete/complex sentences when
answering questions.
8. Encourage use of relative and subordinate clauses, i.e. but,
and, or, either, if whenever, however, etc.
9. Have students practice daily oral language sentence orally
and provide feedback.

Content, Meaning and Basic Concept Understanding and Use:

Oral Expression for Content and Meaning:
1. Help students summarize information
2. Use gestures or visual cues ordering for, first, second,
3. Help student identify main topic
4. Stop student when rambling and direct to main topic
5. Use visual organizers/story maps
6. Help students sequence events by asking what happened,
first, second, next, etc.
7. Emphasize/Encourage students use of sequential words
during retelling of a story
8. Provide opportunity for students to orally retell story to
9. Have students use specific vocabulary to relate
information, rather than using words such as thing, stuff,
that, it, etc.
Basic Concepts - Pre-K 1st Grade:
1. Provide visual demonstration of the concept. For example,
if working on the concept n, actually put the item on a
2. Have the children physically demonstrate the concept
when possible. Have the student get on a carpet square.
3. Let the student use objects to demonstrate comprehension
of the concept. Have the student verbalize comprehension
by explaining what they did with the object. Where did
you put the bear? I put it on the table.
4. Have the student use the concept in a variety of
situations throughout the day. Use their bodies, pencil and
paper, in different places of the school, etc.
5. Keep a running list of concepts the student is having
trouble with an utilize others (i.e. speech pathologist,
intervention specialists, classroom aids, volunteers, student
teachers, etc.)

Basic Concepts -2nd-5th Grade:

1. Allow students to use manipulatives to solve math
problems to give them a visual cue.
2. When working on time and measurement concepts use
visual organizers (i.e. timelines, thermometers, graphic
organizers, etc.)
3. Keep a running list of concepts the student is having
trouble with an utilize others (i.e. speech pathologist,
intervention specialists, classroom aids, volunteers, student
teachers, etc.)
4. Give students time to talk through new concepts in social
studies, science, math, etc.

Expanding Limited Expressive Language Skills:

1. When interacting with a young child, repeat what the child
says, and add a word that is appropriate to the context. For
example, while playing with a toy car, the child says car,
you could respond Car. Go car. If the child uses two words
expand to three words, etc.
2. Speak in sentences that are one or two words longer than
the childs typical utterances. In the child usually combines
two words, you should be modeling 3-4 words in your
interactions. You may feel that your speech sounds silly, you
are eliminating complex structures that the child is not
ready to use, which allows the child to concentrate on the
next level of development.
3. It is also important to expose the child to adult and peer
models of conversation. Although, they are not yet ready to
use these structures, they are exposed to the appropriate
4. Introduce new words or concepts to a child by using the
word in a variety of situations as well as using the word
repetitively. For example, when teaching colors: show a blue
ball, a blue car, the blue sky, etc. Also, use pictures or
objects when available to help reinforce the ideas.
5. Music, movement, nursery rhymes, finger plays, and story
time are very motivation times for children to promote
spontaneous speech production.

Social Communication:
1. Model appropriate response or social interaction.
2. Allow extra time for student to formulate and express
3. Provide opportunities to:
a. Ask questions
b. Initiate and maintain a conversation
c. Give sufficient information
d. Give cause and effect information
e. Use language to make choices and express needs
f. Use problem solving/decision making techniques
g. Practice with peers in appropriate learning groups
4. Allow student to role play a variety of targeted social
language situations.
5. Emphasize basic social skills, i.e. greeting, eye contact, polite
forms, body language, spatial boundaries throughout school
6. Use verbal/visual/physical cues to remind student to use
appropriate social behavior in a variety of settings.
7. Allow student to work in a group with students who are
accepting and supportive.
8. Avoid having activities where students pick a partner. Assign
partners instead to avoid feelings of rejections.
9. Search for opportunities that support appropriate social
interactions (i.e. Bobby, will you please go to Sues desk and
ask her to bring me her Math folder.)
10. Board games and card games can be beneficial as they
promote turn taking and sportsmanship.
11. Comment on positive models for targeted social skill when
used by other students in the classroom. (Jenny, I really like
how you raised your hand instead of interrupting me when I
was talking to the class).
12. Contact the speech therapist to assist in creating social
stories (stories written to positively depict a social situation
in which a student has a difficult time) or visual schedule.

Articulation and Phonology:

1. If you cannot understand a student and you have asked them
to repeat themselves, it might be helpful to ask the student
to show you or say it in a different way. Have students
whom are able, write it down.
2. If the students response contains a known sound error, its
important to repeat what the child said with an appropriate
model (e.g. if the child says nak for snake, you would say,
OH, you want the snake). This way you are not focusing on
the error or calling negative attention to the child, but
providing an appropriate model.
3. With younger children bring whatever you are talking about
closer to our mouth so that the child is more apt to focus on
speech production.
4. If you hear a consistent speech sound error use written text
to increase the childs ability to see, hearing and be aware
of that sound (e.g. ask the student to find all of the words
containing the error sound in a page of a story. Make this a
routine in your classroom so that no student is singled out).
5. If you have a student who is able to make a sound correctly
some of the time when they know an adult is listening, se up
a non-verbal cue with that child to let them know you are
listening (e.g. putting your hand on the students shoulder
before you call on them to read, or taping a sign on their
desk, folder, back of chair to remind them throughout the
6. Highlight words in their own writing or in classroom
worksheets of sounds that the child is misarticulating.
7. Have students make cards with different words/pictures
containing their target sounds (this can be spelling words,
new vocabulary). Use cards for a variety of activities, for
example, keep a jar or folder on the teachers desk. Student
selects 5 cards and practices saying each twice.

8. Create stations/centers where students have to perform

different tasks while practicing sounds. For example, a child
at the board could practice saying the sound while drawing
and another student practices by putting a puzzle together.
Teacher indicates students would move to a new station by
saying, switch.
9. Mix it Up Game: Students play a game by drawing cards
which contain different suggestions for saying the words
such as whispering, singing, saying the words quickly or
slowly, while dancing, saying and spelling the target word.
Student practices saying the word in the manner the card
10. Have the students go around the table and say the same
thing (one at a time). This will cue them into monitoring their
speech as well as others. You could also have the students
provide feedback to each other.
11. Another way to emphasize the feedback loop is to use an
echo microphone for each students turn.
12. Have the students draw a number from an envelope to
determine the random number of items to say. Use the
word/picture cards that students have created.
13. Teacher can monitor students production of a target sound
during small group activities.


1. Ask speech therapist for additional handouts and assistance
in the classroom!
2. Allow the student to complete his/her thoughts without
interrupting or completing the sentence for them.
3. It is important not to ask the child to stop or start over
their sentence. Asking the student to take a breath or
relax can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
4. Maintain natural eye contact with the student. Try not to
feel embarrassed or anxious as the student will pick up on
your feelings and could become more anxious. Wait
naturally until the child is finished.
5. Use a slow and relaxed rate with your own speech, but not
so slow that you sound unnatural. Using pauses in your
speech is an effective way tot slow down your speech rate
as well as the students.
6. Give the student your full attention when they are speaking
so that they know you are listening to what they have to
say. It is helpful that the child does not feel that they
need to fight for your attention.
7. After a student completes a conversational turn, it would be
helpful for you to rephrase what they said in a fluent
manner. This can be helpful as the student realizes you
understand what they said but also provides a fluent model
form them.
8. Help all members of the class learn to take turns talking and
9. Try to call on the students in class when you feel that they
will be successful with the answer (when the student raises
their hand) versus putting the student on the spot. In
addition, new material or complex information may cause the
student to feel more stress and thus, increase dysfluencies.
10. If possible, provide preparation time before calling on a
student to read (i.e. give advanced notice, Johnny please
read the first page, then Id like Time to read the second

page (Tim is the students who stutters). Consider allowing

students to read out loud in pairs (takes the pressure off
the student who stutters and allow him/her to become more
confident with practice).
11. Have a one on one conversation with the student who
stutters about needed accommodations in the classroom
12. Dont make stuttering something to be ashamed of. Talk
about stuttering just like any other manner.


Vocal Quality:
* For students whose vocal quality is consistently poor (hoarse,
breathy, rough, or have no voice) or their vocal quality gets
progressively worse as the day wears on. Discuss strategies of
water/candy with school officials and parents before
1. Allow them to have a water bottle at their desk for the
students to take frequent sips of.
2. Discuss healthy ways for students to use their voices, i.e.
drink water, no caffeine, no yelling or making strange noises,
or to use a quiet voice, but NOT to whisper.
3. Provide a positive comment to a student for using good vocal
hygiene, such as not shouting to get attention.
4. Place a visual cue on students desk (like a picture of
someone talking). When you hear vocal misuse, touch the
picture on the desk to help remind the student to use good
vocal techniques.
Vocal Hygiene Strategies

(adapted from capital health):

General Strategies for Healthy

Voice Use

Classroom discussion of good vocal

habits. Teacher models good vocal
habits, such as close proximity to
listener. Reduce background noise in



Yells, screams or cheers loudly

Classroom discussion of good vocal

habits. Have student clap, gesture or
make hand signals instead of yelling.
Use visual aids/poster to remind
student to use appropriate voice.
Teacher provides cues to remind
student to use appropriate voice.
Have student try to swallow or take
sips of cold water instead. Provide
hard candy to keep throat moistened.

Clears throat and coughs frequently


Talks loudly: trying to talk over noise

such as loud music, TV, and outside
noises can strain your voice.

Makes strange or unusual sounds with

voice while laying, such as loud
airplanes, trucks, and animal sounds
Whispers too much. Whispering
causes ou to push harder, and strain
your vocal folds.
Talks a lot when he/she has a cold, is
ill or overtired

Try to reduce background noise. Have

student get close and face the
listener when talking in loud places.
Instruct the student to use inside
Encourage student to make non-vocal
sounds instead
Have student use quiet talking voice
Have student drink plenty of fluids,
use a quiet voice, and take voice
breaks/vocal rest. Avoid caffeinated