How to Work on Speech Skills

School is not in session! How can my child continue to work on his/her speech and language skills?

Here are some tips and resources to help bridge the therapy gap during time away from school or for some extra practice when school is in session.

If your child is working on speech sounds…….

  • Check your child’s IEP to see what sounds they are working on, and what position or level. For example are they working on “s” in the beginning, middle, or end of words?  Are the words by themselves or in phrases or sentences? If there is any confusion you can always e-mail me!

  • You may need to remind your child how to make the sound; say, “Look at my mouth! See how I do __ to make this sound? Let’s look in a mirror together. Now you try.

  • Make a list of words (you can search online) 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 can do this on index cards to create your own flashcards, and make doubles for go fish or matching games if you would like. Helpful websites for wordlists and pictures: speech-therapy-word-lists.html

  • Pull out a game board, deck of cards, or puzzle. Have your child say their target word 5 times before taking a turn or the same number of times as the number rolled on the die. You can use 2 dice and keep points to see who rolls the highest number or who reaches a certain number first. Some of my favorite games are dominoes, Pop the Pig, Chutes and Ladders, War (low card says the words)….any game can work!

  • Read a book together, and listen for words with your child’s target sounds. Practice the words. 

  • Play hide n’ seek with the words (great for plastic egg play, too), or play a flashlight game giving clues for a “mystery” word and have your child shine the light on the correct picture while practicing their sound.

  • Even spending just a few minutes a day practicing your child’s sounds can be very effective! You can have your child say each word 5 times correctly, make up a simple or silly sentence for each word. Most importantly...have fun with it!

If your child is working on language skills…….

Exact language skills targeted in your child’s IEP vary, but may include things like increasing overall understanding & use of vocabulary words, answering & asking WH questions, understanding how items go together in categories, telling how two things are similar and different, using correct verb tenses, expanding the length of sentences, describing, and more...

  • Many earlier language (Pre-K-1) skills can be targeted through playing together with an adult! Choose an activity such as Lego blocks, Play-doh, dinosaurs, dolls, or action figures, and follow your child’s lead. Have your characters interact and talk with each other, narrate aloud what you are doing or creating, or sort things into groups that are alike (ex: all the big dinosaurs, or all the red pieces). When interacting with each other, model full sentences and expand on what your child says (add 1-2 words). Example: Child: Her can fly.” Adult: “Yes, she can fly fast!” 

  • For younger kids playing games can provide great opportunities to practice turn taking skills, following directions, asking and answering questions, using complete sentences, understanding concepts such as more/less and next/first/last. For older kids, many board and card games work on  language skills such as describing, comparing/contrasting, perspective taking, and more. Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Bubble Talk, Guess Who, Clue, Uno, Catch Phrase, Pickles to Penguins, Headbanz are just a few great game choices!


  • Play word games! Pick a letter (you can pull pre cut letters from a paper bag or hat-or make your own) and try and name as many adjectives (describing words), verbs (action words), items in a category (ie-things at the beach, household items, things on a picnic-the list is endless) or people and places that begin with the chosen letter. Make a collective list with your family, or compete with each other to see who can brainstorm the most words.  Play 20 questions. Choose a random object and have someone ask yes/no questions to guess what it is. Take turns. Remember it is helpful to ask categorical questions first (Is it an animal, a food, a place, furniture, item at school? etc.) to help narrow down your questions. Take notes to help keep track of information so you can draw a conclusion. After you guess the object name all the clues that led you to your answer (without looking at your notes).

  • Read, read, read! Read with your child and ask questions about the sequence of the story (What came first/last/next or in the beginning/middle/end), predictions (What do you think will happen next and why?), identify characters feelings and problems and compare events/characters to real life experiences. Ask wh-questions (who/what/where/why/when) throughout the story. Have your child retell the story to someone else using pictures when necessary. Don’t forget to model those little words (am/is/are, he/she/they, the/a) if needed when they are retelling.  Have your child ask you a question about the story. 

Older students can read informational books or an article in the newspaper/on the internet on a personally interesting topic. After reading, have your child tell about what they heard/read in their own words. Identify any new or confusing vocabulary, ask if they can give a definition for the word (What is ____?  What does that mean?) Have them tell you 2 (or more) things that they learned or remember about the article. Make a running list of new vocabulary words. Your child can make a matching game to help retain and review the new words.

If you need online book options, try (free 30 day trial) or (free). is a great resource for articles for older students.

  • Watch short videos 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!

  • Follow directions!  Make an obstacle course. Take turns giving and following multi-step directions to complete the course. Be sure to use positional terms (under/over, etc) and temporal terms such as before/after, first/next/last.

  • Become a chef! Following a recipe is a great way to practice listening and sequencing steps to complete a task.


I hope this has helped to give you some out of session speech and language ideas for home!                                                                                                                                                               Stay healthy out there! 


Mrs. Cunningham 

Speech and Language Pathologist

Email: [email protected]