Frequent practice is the biggest factor (aside from instruction from a speech therapist) which impacts how quickly students progress in articulation therapy. I have tried a variety of practice systems in the past, and am trying a new one this year to see if it helps students and parents to practice at home.

SPEECH HOMEWORK FOLDERS

Speech Homework Folders

Each student will have their own Speech Homework Folder, which will have a page showing their speech goal, some information about the process of articulation therapy, and a homework log for parents to write notes about how practicing went.

I am starting this up by sending home a “Parent Speech/Language Survey” to each family, asking what growth they have noticed over the summer, what they would like their students to achieve this year, and whether they or another adult will be able to practice the homework with their child. I am hoping that this will help parents to “set the tone” for the year, by emphasizing how important it is to practice regularly!

Each week I will send home a page to practice, with instructions for what to do. Ideally each student will practice at home 3-5x during the week, and then the parent will put the page back in the folder and send it back to me. I will check off the homework, and put in another page for the next week.

The parent log page is possibly the most important page in the folder. It gives parents a chance to write notes back to me, saying how the practice went that week. “Great!” “Too hard.” “She didn’t know what to do with her tongue.” “How do I cue this sound?” This feedback will give me a chance to give better directions, adjust the difficulty of the home practice, or connect to trouble-shoot if things are hard. I hope parents will take advantage of the communication! (Of course parents can always call or email me… this is just another, easier way to connect).

Parent log page

The last page I am including is a brief overview of how articulation therapy works. Students start with their sound(s) in isolation, then move to using the sound in syllables, words, sentences, while reading or telling stories, in conversation with teachers/parents, and finally generalize their skills to other environments. I got the visual from the excellent Mommy Speech Therapy blog, where you can download it for free. There is also a great post describing the process of articulation therapy in detail.

From Mommy Speech Therapy

I have also decided to implement special incentives this year. I have never done this before, but my students may need some motivation to carry their speech folders to and from school, and bug their parents to keep practicing! For every 10 completed homework pages, the students will earn an invitation to a cupcake party with a friend. I will hold cupcake parties at the end of each semester, for the primary and intermediate grades.

I have a crop of 6th graders who, if they practice this year, will be ready to be done with speech by the spring. I am hoping this will inspire them to rise to the occasion!

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