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The word summer written in the sand on a beach

Summer break is getting closer and closer! According to my countdown widget, We have 15 days left until the last day of school.

While I am very excited to have some time this summer for home projects and working with a new puppy, I am also thinking about how to prevent the “summer slide” that is so prevalent every year. When students don’t practice their talking and listening skills all summer, they lose some of the skills they have gained during the year! šŸ˜¦ But when they have short, frequent practice during the summer, they can keep up their skills, or often even gain new ones, by the time school is back in session in September.

To help prevent summer slide I have put together a speech/language home practice calendar for the past few years. Each day has a short activity/conversation starter to do with a parent or caregiver, to give students practice using their speech sounds, or practicing language skills like vocabulary, categories, describing, and asking questions. Students who stutter can do the same activities, and either practice using a speech strategy, or practice using easy stuttering.

Click on the pictures to download the calendar for this summer!

2017 summer practice calendar July-page-001

2017 summer practice calendar August-page-001

It’s here! MyĀ 2016 summer speech/language practice calendar. The calendar is in both Spanish and English, and can be used to practice articulation, language, or stuttering strategies from the end of June to the beginning of September.

2016 summer practice calendar preview

Top reasons to practice over the summer:

  • Summer Slide

The “summer slide” is a term educators use to refer to what happens when students leave school for summer break, and don’t practice any of their academic skills until they come back in the fall. June – September is a long time to not practice! Students who do not practice their skills will actually go backwards in their skills, falling further behind their peers, and begin school in the fall at a disadvantage with their peers who have practiced, even only a little.

summerslidebanner

The good news is that it doesn’t take much practice to prevent the slide. Even 5 minutes a day, a few times per week, can keep students from losing skills over the break.

  • Make faster progress

Students who practice at home, during the year or over the summer, make faster progress on their skills than students who don’t practice. Research on therapy effectiveness has shown that therapy programs that are more “intense” help students to grow more than therapy that is less intense, and one of the key factors in intensity is how often students work on their target skills.Ā Practice at home is a major way to increase intensity, and boost the effectiveness of what is happening in the therapy room.

growth

  • Graduate from speech/language therapy!

Having a large-ish caseload in a public school, I have a variety of homework-completion levels amongst my students. Some students practice and bring their homework back every week, some students do it occasionally, and a few students are not able to do it at all. I work just as hard with the students who bring it back as with those who don’t, but I have noticed a definite trend, where students who practice graduate significantly faster than students who don’t. For speech sounds, learning a new motor pattern takes time and practice, just like learning to play a sport or play the piano. The more you practice, the easier it becomes! For language skills, practice talking and listening is working on the muscle of your brain, which also needs exercise in order to grow. The students who practice the most are the students who graduate from speech/language therapy the soonest, and get back to full-time learning in their classrooms.

graduation

This is another re-blog from several years ago, because I want to highlight ways to keep LEARNING over the summer!

“Shared book reading” is the term for reading a book with your child. It can be any book, so long as it is an interesting book for your child. Picture books, comic books, newspaper advertisements, Lego catalogs… ANYTHING.

It is a *wonderful* way to support developing language skills during the summer.

Shared book reading

  • exposes children to emergent literacy;
  • fosters vocabulary growth;
  • aids in the development of narrative skills (important for reading comprehension and writing);
  • helps engagement in social participation;
  • supportsĀ entry into later true literacy skills.

Here are my tips for reading a book together with your child:

  • Pick an interesting book. Think about your child’s interests (robots, cars, food, television characters…) and pick something engaging. Librarians are a great resource to help you pick good books for your child.
  • Ask at least one question per page, and give time for your child to think and answer. It can be as simple as “What do you see on this page?”, or a more complicated question like “Why did Sally feel sad?” Encourage your child to think of her own questions about the book, too!
  • Make comments on each page. Point out interesting things you see, or comment about how something is similar or different to your own life. “That car looks like ours!” “Curious George sure is a naughty monkey, isn’t he?” “I see blueberry pancakes. I love eating pancakes!” Encourage your child to make his own observations.
  • Wait for 5 seconds at the end of each page, to give your child time to think of their own comments or questions. 5 seconds canĀ feelĀ  like a long time, but you don’t need to rush. Kids sometimes need the extra thinking time!
  • Pick a time of the day that is free from distractions so that you can read every day. Bedtime works great for many families, but pick whatever time works best for you!

Here is a link to a great summer plan for reading that has a different focus for each week. There are so many opportunities for fun learning in the summer!

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.Ā ~James Bryce

I posted on this topic a few years ago, way back in 2012. It’s been long enough that it’s time to bring this one back. In short, children cannot read too many books. Books can be used for almost any purpose, and today, our purpose is to support articulation skills.

There are many ways to use a book to practice speech sounds. The first thing for all of them is to pick a book that is easy for your child. The content should be lower than their reading/understanding level, because you will be asking them to pay attention to the sounds in words, in addition to listening for meaning. You can use familiar books from home, or head to the library and get something new and exciting.

Ways to use a book to practice speech sounds:

  • Pick a page, and find all of the words that have your child’s speech sound. Say each word 5 times. If your child has trouble, you say the word 5 times instead. Children learn by listening too! Skip words that are too hard.
  • Look at the pictures, and find objects/actions in the pictures that contain your child’s speech sound. Again, have your child say the word 5 times if she can, or if not, you say it 5 times and have her listen.
  • You read the story slowly out loud, and have your child listen for any words that have his speech sound. He can earn a point for each word he hears, and you earn a point for each one he misses. The person with the most points at the end of the page wins!Ā 
  • Make a list of all of the words in the book beginning with your child’s speech sound. Make a goal to find at least 10 words. If that is easy, try to find 15 or 20 words in the next book! For added writing practice, have your child write the word list.

Have fun reading this summer!

If you’ve been paying attention to the countdown widget on the left side of this blog, you may have noticed that there is only ONE MONTH LEFTĀ of school! Summer break is almost here!

Every year I work to provide my students with summer practice for speech and language skills. This year, like last year, I have a calendar format that has one idea per day, and instructions for how to focus on speech, language, or fluency skills. If you would like to use the calendar with your students, you can download either the Spanish or the EnglishĀ version (FOR FREE) by clicking on the picture.

 

SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!!!

IĀ am excited. I am excited for a more relaxed schedule, for sunshine, for picnics in the park, and for camping. However, I also hope that my students who have language and speech disorders will use the opportunity to practice their skills in different ways. Keep learning, keep practicing, keep growing!

Last week I foundĀ a website with interactive summer practice ideas for speech and language activities every day of the week. There are online computer games, eBooks, and free apps that have all been chosen because they stimulate speech or language practice and learning. It is a great resource to give ideas for ways to fill the summer weeks ahead. Check it out!

Six Weeks of Summer – Interactive Speech and Language Practice Activities

If you can make it to the library,Ā here are links to my previous posts about summer readingĀ ideas:

Another great idea – go to the zoo! CLICK HERE for a language scavenger hunt from Amy Minor to use on a trip to the zoo.

And lastly, theĀ link to the 2014 summer practice calendar (no online activities – just talking, reading, and playing!)

This is my last post of the year. I’m finishing up file reviews, packing away materials, and making sure everything is organized before I leave for a well-earned break. Keep talking, and I’ll see you in the fall!

~ Ms. Petersen, SLP

The countdown is here! We have just over a month of school left. Summer will be here before you know it, so I’m getting ready for the end-of-year scramble.Ā  While my students were busy with SBA testing today :(, I updated another speech/language summer practice calendar I found online to fit our school calendar. This year’s calendar has both Spanish and English, gleaned from the other calendar I was adapting from. I’m so thankful to have a Spanish version to send home with my students who speak Spanish at home. šŸ™‚

This year there is one calendar for articulation, language, or fluency students. The activities are the same for everyone. If your student is working on articulation, remind them to use their target speech sound while doing the activities. If your student is working on language, practice talking and listening while doing the activities. If your student is working on stuttering, practice using speech strategies and being okay with stuttering while doing the activities.

CLICK HERE for the summer practice calendar.

It is spring break this week in Edmonds. So far I have gotten a pedicure, spent time with family, and done some home improvement (new baseboards!). It’s not exactly relaxing, but it feels good to accomplish things.

It is time to start thinking forward to the end of the school year. (I can’t believe it, either!). There are 71 days until students will be let out for the long break of summer. And when that happens, there are three things that can happen.

  1. The student stops learning, and forgets some of the things they know. They return to school in September with fewer skills than they had in June. šŸ˜¦
  2. The student stops learning, but maintains what they already learned. They make no gains over the summer.
  3. The student continues learning, and returns to school in September knowing even more than they did in June! šŸ™‚

Obviously, I want option #3 for all of my students. In order for students to continue growing over the summer, they need to continue practicing EVERY WEEK of break! I send summer practice calendars home with each student at the end of the year, which are a great way to keep learning at the forefront. You will see those posted in the coming months, when I update them for this year. READING every day is another way to practice language and articulation skills.

One more way to keep on-track with summer learning is to do private therapy over the break. I take private clients in the summer (though none of the students I see at school, for ethical reasons), so if that is something which interests you, and you live in the Seattle area, let me know and we can schedule a free consultation in May or June. If you are looking for summer private therapy and I work with your student at school, let me know and I will refer you to some great SLPs in our area.

Either way, with home practice or with some extra therapy in the summer, students can come back in September ready to begin another year of learning!

One of the SLPs in the district sent out this message this morning:

I have a student who received a full scholarship (including airfare) to attend this camp last summer: http://www.campourtime.org/ My student has asked that I share this information with other students in the district, and I am excited to do so! This camp is a HUGE opportunity for kids (ages 8-18) who stutter. They can be around other kids facing the same struggles as themselves, experience a typical summer camp environment and receive free therapy during the camp session. My student has not yet been able to stop talking about it. It was life changing for him, as he came home from camp with a newfound sense of confidence AND more fluent speech. The scholarship application process is surprisingly easy, and they are more than happy to help walk you through the process.

The camp isnā€™t until August 2014, but if youā€™re interested in applying for a scholarship it is not too early to start thinking about it. Ā Just wanted to share that information, in case anyone is interested!

 

 

A few days ago I posted the 2013 summer articulation calendar. But of course, some students are working on language skills instead of speech skills. Should those students practice over the summer also?

Trick question. OF COURSE THEY SHOULD! šŸ™‚

Summer language practice is different than summer speech practice. Working on speech sounds requires drilling the motor skills – practice, practice, practice – until your mouth can make the sounds without needing to think hard about it. Working on language skills requires more *thinking* about language.

The questions on the summer language calendar are still short, but are focused on things like increasing vocabulary (looking up words in the dictionary!), learning irregular past tense verbs (“Use the word ‘ran’ in a sentence”), thinking about categories (“Look in your fridge. Name all the vegetables you see.”) and describing. It provides a smorgasbord of language enrichment opportunities, while maintaining the “short, easy” format for busy families. The questions are appropriate for 2nd-5th grade. Younger students could still answer the majority of the questions, but would need a little more adult help.

I hope you find it useful!

CLICK HERE for the June language calendar!

CLICK HERE for the July language calendar!

CLICK HERE for the August language calendar!