When practicing language skills with your child, here are some things to keep in mind:
1) Ask your child's speech therapist what skills to practice at home.
2) Keep practice sessions short. Try to practice each day.
3) Remember to allow wait time for your child to respond to questions. Allow at least 5-10 seconds for them to think and organize a response. If they don't respond after this wait time, provide cues and support to help them figure out a correct response.
4) If your child is not achieving at least 50% success, stop them so they do not become frustrated. Try a different activity or skill. If you can't find a level where your child is successful, contact their speech language therapist for ideas.
5) Remember to model the skill you are encouraging your child to learn. Recast their incorrect responses so they hear the right answer in grammatic sentences.
6) Praise correct responses. Try to give specific feedback when praising them (e.g. "cold and hot are synonyms" vs. just a simple "great job"). Remember to praise small improvements. It takes time for children to master new skills.
7) Read aloud to your child so they hear rich language often. Talk about each page of the story to reinforce vocabulary and comprehension.
8) Have fun! Children will be more engaged and more willing to try if practice time is positive. You might play games while practicing or perhaps give your child a reward (e.g. a sticker, extra time on a favored activity) when they finish.
Menu of Activities to Practice Language Skills
1) Ask your child to name 5 items in given categories (e.g. animals, zoo animals, farm animals, food, sports, etc).
2) List 3-5 items where one of them does not belong. Have your child tell you which one doesn't belong and why. For example; dog, cat, chair, mouse -- a chair is not an animal.
3) Have your child create a collage of several categories using pictures from old magazines, clip art, or the Internet.
1) Find 5 objects around the house. Have your child find something that goes with each item (e.g. sock - shoe, slat-pepper)
2) Give your child pictures of 5 items and ask them to draw something that goes with each item. When they are done, have them tell you what they drew and why it goes with the other item.
1) Choose 5 action words (verbs) and have your child perform the action. Ask them what they are doing (present tense) and then when they stop, ask them what they just did (past tense). Provide a model of the correct forms as needed.
2) Find pictures of people in magazines or on the Internet. Have your child state what the people are doing. You can practice many grammar skills with this activity including verb tenses and pronouns.
STORY TELLING (Narrative)
1) Begin by having your child tell back a story you tell them or read to them. Ask them to tell you the characters and setting, then what happened at the beginning, what problem the main character faced, what they did to solve the problem, and then how the story ended.
2) Have your child fold a piece of paper into 3 parts. Ask them to draw a picture of what happened at the beginning in the first section, what happened in the middle of the story in the middle section, and what happened at the end of the story in the third section. Use the picture to help your child retell the entire story.
3) Ust the strategy from number 2 above to have your child create their own story. Encourage them to tell a clear beginning, middle, and end to their story.