Group speech therapy can be an effective option for improving vocabulary. It makes it more fun for all students involved and also allows a single therapist to work with more students at a time, easing the overall workload.
There are multiple fun activities to improve students’ speech progress and also keep them excited and engaged. We’ve come up with several ideas to give you a start. These activities can be used for small groups of students in person or during teletherapy sessions if all activity materials are available.
Start with Identifying the Skills of Each Child in Your Group
Develop or find worksheets that feature various pictures of common vocabulary words on them. Look for a mixture of simple worksheets, and then have some options with harder, more complex options on them. This way, you’ll be ready to move up, should you discover students are further along and need more of a challenge.
Have students take turns finding the words you say on the sheets, or give each child their own sheet, positioning them so they cannot see one another, and then ask them to find the words. If they’re working on definitions, you can describe the word and have them find it.
Use this exercise to determine the types of words each student needs to work on, whether it’s basic vocabulary, categories, or curriculum vocabulary, and structure your vocabulary-building activities from there.
Using the words you know each child needs to work on, create BINGO sheets for each of them. It’s okay to use the same cards without changing the position of the words for each student, because they can all win at the same time. Say each word and ask students to cover it up as they hear it. Switch it up and give definitions for each word so they can figure out what you are describing.
Bring in Objects and Demonstrations
If all the students in your group on working on similar words, bring in objects for demonstrations to explain the words and concepts. If you’re working on categories, bring in play food, toy cars, and similar objects to allow students to talk about and sort them. If students are learning about the water cycle in their general ed classes, bring in anything you can use to demonstrate the concepts of evaporation and condensation.
Place picture cards at one end of the room, and the students at the other. Working with two students at a time, call out a word, and ask the students to race to bring it back. The first student to return with the correct word wins.
Give each child a pile of vocabulary cards and ask them to sort them into groups. You can also do this as a group, asking the children to say what the word is, and what you do with then. Then hold a discussion as to why the card goes into the pile it belongs in.
All these activities make speech therapy more fun and enjoyable for the group and the therapist.