While my younger students couldbe content to cut and glue craftivities or play games with picture cards all day, my older elementary and middle school students can be harder to engage with my typical, go-to articulation activities. Now don’t get me wrong, with enough enthusiasm, fun, and maybe some added rules, it’s possible to convince almost anyone your therapy activity is worth their time (I have SOLD middle schoolers on holiday versions of bowling). But for those times when you just don’t have the energy to Seth Godin your therapy plans (“no really, Candyland is FUN!”), your middle schoolers are giving you the side eye, or you are really striving for age-appropriate materials, here are some therapy activities I have tried successfully with older students.
Anything goes here–whether it’s a chapter book a student is reading or a book with great pictures and captions, practicing articulation when reading is great to work on those carryover skills to paragraphs and conversation! Many of my students in the 3rd-5th grade range still love picture books aswell. For struggling readers, it can be a break from the more challenging texts they are working on in the classroom, and there are so many fantastic authors out there with topics still appropriate for that age range and beyond to middle school. Check out my Pinterest board for picture book ideas for older readers.
2. Social Media
My school has an Instagram account that can be used by teachers and staff to post happenings around the school. My students are very good with coming up with captions if I tell them it has to contain their sound. You know your school’s social media policies and what is and isn’t allowed, so obviously follow suit!
Another option is to print out pictures from your account, or tweets from a celebrity or athlete’s Twitter account. Students can caption photos or write out what they would respond. If they aren’t on social media, they would probably have fun creating a made-up Instagram or Twitter handle! This is also a great time to talk about safety on social media, what’s ok and not ok to say, and how to address issues like bullying or reporting things they are not comfortable with.
3. Drawing Comic Strips
This is especially good for those students who are reluctant readers or who have limited interests. Your reluctant readers can focus on drawing their story; articulation targets can come in the form of adding in captions, answering questions about what they’re drawing, or the retelling of the story. For more targeted practice, give them words containing their sounds that they have to include in their story. And for that student who always wants to talk about Minecraft, here’s their chance…draw a story all about it!
My Articulation Comic Strips make this super easy. Use the target words as must-include items in their story, add in your own words on the editable page, or use the language goals for other students in a mixed group. My students took their stories very seriously and we spent several weeks perfecting our comics!
What are some of your go-tos for articulation practice with older students? I’d love to add more ideas to my arsenal!