Strategies to Develop Expressive Language Skills in the Classroom

Working in a small district, my Speech-Language Pathologist is only in the building a couple days a week. Which makes collaboration with her very hard. I have a couple of students who have significant expressive language delays that make learning and making progress in reading very difficult for them.

I have used some of these activities to build both background knowledge and vocabulary to help with their comprehension of what they are reading. I have found that their first reads or cold reads of an instructional level text are at a frustrational read but by the second read its an instructional level. My SLP believes that this is because of their language delays.

I have decided to make a point at the beginning of each book to focus on their expressive language as part of their pre-reading. My hope is that by the end of the month these students have moved up a reading level.

Strategies to Develop Expressive Language Skills in the Classroom

  • Opportunities to speak and time to rehearse before speaking
  • Visual clues to help children order ideas effectively before expressing them
  • Vocabulary lists to help with word finding difficulties. Use appropriate and consistent vocabulary
  • Color coding different groups of words/sets of pictures
  • Giving correct models of language structures
  • Repetition and reinforcement of correct language structures
  • Small group work to give children confidence to express themselves
  • Appropriate questioning to give children the opportunity to reply
  • Self-questioning and the development of learning scripts (e.g. What do I know already? What do I do next?)
  • Rhymes
  • Word play
  • Restrict your language to short unambiguous language
  • Story telling – cutting up picture segments and retelling stories
  • Try and keep children ‘on topic’. Be specific, remind children e.g. ‘We are talking about…’
  • Discussing what they have seen or done with an adult or more verbally able peer
  • Puppet play/drama etc.
  • Sharing books
  • Revise links and associations between ideas and vocabulary – categorization/function/
  • context/similarity/association
  • As part of the partnership approach, it is important to detail which of these strategies have been most effective.


Barrier games

  • This can be used for both talking and listening. The child or children either side of the barrier have identical sets of equipment.
  • One child has a picture or constructs an assembly of objects and then gives instructions to the other to enable him/her to duplicate the picture or assembly.


How do I feel?

  • In a small group imagine a situation and talk about how you would each feel and what you might say (speech bubbles resource is good here).

Silly Stories

  • Collection of objects/pictures, e.g., horse, lady, man, child, dog, ball, pirate, dinosaur.  Adult starts story “Once upon a time there was a dinosaur”. Next child (house) continues the story “He lived in a house made of chocolate”.  Next child (ball) “One day he found a ball under his bed” …..

Narrative

  • Color Coding approach.  Children take one color question ‘Who, What, Where, When’ and sequence a story using their own ideas.
  • Mind Map Activities: An excellent way for supporting new vocabulary and talking.

Defining and describing

  • Have a range of objects in a bag or a range of pictures. One child takes an object or picture and is allowed to give 3 pieces of information to describe their item. The rest guess.

Question Question

  • Barrier game. Once child has an object or picture and the rest ask questions to find out what it is. You cannot say the name of the item.
  • A good resource is Clowning Around or Guess Who?

What do you know?

  • Use a composite picture and take turns in the group (mini circle time). Each child giving a new piece of information about the picture. Extend by talking about a particular object or event in which everyone has been involved.
  • Tell me how to do it
  • Use a classroom activity or event which has already been experienced and get a child to re-tell the event in his/her own words.
  • Allow a child to explain to the others how to play a particular game.

Conversation

  • In a small group it is possible to think about how we behave during a conversation and make explicit the skills we need. There are a couple of good resources for this.

I look forward to sharing how the next four weeks go. I wish everyone safe travels and a Merry Christmas.




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About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I'm Ms. Whiteley. I teach in the beautiful Mile High state--Colorado. This is my 13th year teaching in an rural K-6 Elementary school as a Exceptional Needs Teachers. As Exceptional Needs National Board Certified Teacher, I believe that ALL students can learn and be successful. When I'm not in school, I love to take my two Italian Greyhounds hiking 14ers and reaching for the stars. Thanks for Hopping By.
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