5 NO COST Tips to Help STOP Summer Time Lag!


Did you know that students who don’t keep expanding their vocabulary over the summer come back to school in the fall lagging behind their peers who continued learning?

5 No Cost ways to stop summertime lag by Looks Like Language
It is just one way to measure growth, but is closely tied to many skills needed for school success.

Parents, what you do with your children at home is so important! You CAN help your kids to be better prepared for school each and every year. These ideas are NO COST, but they do take a bit of time. And you don't even need to leave your home for most of these!

5 tips to help stop that summertime lag!

Talk to your kids with higher level vocabulary!
1. Vocabulary:

Choose a word of the week and give a thumbs up for every time one of your kids uses that word in a sentence. The winner earns an easy prize:

• Stay up 15 minutes later (or in bed later in the morning)
• Choose the next cereal to be bought
• 1 chore to be shared by the other kids one time
• A star next to their name on a piece of paper on the fridge

2. Play word games:

Take turns:
-naming something in a category that starts or ends with a letter.
-describing something until someone guesses it.
-going through the alphabet to name an item you would find in a place.

Try having your child read to you!
3. Read:

Reading is the most important thing you can do! If your kids totally resist trips to the library, try these ideas:

     • Try a manga (comic strip pictures)      book.
     • Read the comics together if you get a paper or have computer access.
     • Make something your family loves to eat and have your kids read the recipe to you.

It doesn't matter what you read, just read!
• Have your kids read the labels at
the store to find out how much sugar
or salt are in the food.
• Find a show or movie with subtitles 
that you have free access to and 
take turns reading the script.


Remember, just read!

Tell stories! Kids especially love to hear about when you got in trouble!
4. Tell a story:


      For school practice, the stories have to have a beginning, middle and end that are connected by a main idea. Try these ideas:

     * At a shared meal, tell something about your day.
     * Tell a story about something that you will always remember.
     * Tell about the worst time you ever had at (place.)     
      * Tell about a time you got in trouble when you were little.
     * Tell about the last episode of their favorite tv show. Does it make sense even if you haven’t seen the show?

Tell a wish/hope story, like:
      - If I could travel anywhere...
-If I won a shopping spree at my favorite store...
-If I invented a _____...
-If I was stranded on an island...
-If I had a personal robot...



Your kids are never too young to talk to!
5. TALK!
Remember, your kids are NEVER 
too little to talk to. 
That is how they learn!


Whatever you do, just keep on talking!
Have a great summer!

Beginning or Ending Sounds- A Free Phonological Awareness Activity Week 4

Listening for beginning or ending sounds in words is such an important pre-reading skill! Did you play word games on car trips growing up?

There's a reason for that. Playing around with sounds and words before entering school builds knowledge that you need in order to start learning the written language system of reading, spelling and writing.

Free printable game downloads at Looks Like Language!
This fun download can help you get started with your own kids! Download it here.

Then be sure to play some sound games, too!

* I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with cat. You need it for a sport.

* I spy something that starts with this sound: (Try to make just the first sound without adding "uh" "ah" "ee" or any other sound.)

* See how far through the alphabet you can get your child to give an answer.
   - Ann packed her suitcase with an apple.
   - Bobby packed his suitcase with a belt.

Where/when to play? Any time you are:

- sitting in a car
- taking a walk
- doing dishes
- washing clothes
- basically during any physical activity when your mind is free

If you missed the earlier sets, just start here!

Try some free interactive learning fun from Looks Like Language with BOOM Cards!
If you can't get your kids away from their iPads, at least you can make some of their pay time educational with the activities you can find at BOOM Learning!

Try out this free summer activity for category skills from my store!

Enjoy! Linda

Making It Work: 3 Steps for Using Adapted Books and Play

Do you ever finish reading something and wonder, "The idea sounds good but how do I make it work for me?" Read on for 3 concrete, practical tips for combining adapted books and play that you can put to use immediately!

3 steps for using books and play in speech/language therapy!
Step 1: Choose a theme!

How about a picnic theme? It is lots of fun and has so many options. Themes allow you to:

      • Make groups work when you have to switch your groups around for make-up sessions.

      •  Coordinate with the theme being used in a pre-K or K classroom.

      • Get out a limited set of toys, books and craft activities for the time you are using the theme.

      • Start collecting fun toys and activities to expand your theme for next year.




Picnic books for kids and YouTube books, too!
Step 2: Choose and adapt a book!

There are so many choices!

⁃ Start by looking at what you already have around or can get inexpensively. Planning ahead and looking at the Scholastic Book club choices can be a good way to go, so parents can get the same book for home carryover!

⁃ Often it is good to have a higher level book and a lower level one for your theme, so you can meet most of the goals you are working on and have a cohesive set of follow-up activities for everyone.

⁃ Look at the pictures in the book. Does the text talk about what is happening in the picture or can you adapt the text easily so that they match? Our students need to have this visual matching support to make sense of the language in the text.

⁃ Adapt the book so that your lower-level students can fill in the vocabulary words while your higher-level students can complete the sentences. This can be done easily if you have more than one place with a blank Velcro spot to add the missing symbols. Just choose which set of symbols to remove depending on the needs of each student or group.


Playing out the story plot helps build language and literacy skills!
Step 3: Choose your follow-up activities!

You want these activities to reinforce the language and concepts for the theme and the book. Best practice would have you read the entire book first before you focus on sections of it for skill-building.

1. Start with the object vocabulary. 
Find toys or bring in the real items to elicit the labels. How about a picnic basket filled with the items you are talking about? Students can take turns putting their hand in the basket without peeking and pull out an item to label.

2.  Re-enact the plot sequence by doing the activity. 
This is a great way to reinforce the object labels and introduce the verbs that go with  them. If your students can handle it, go outside to an enclosed area and have a picnic with their favorite snack and drink. 

Do you have runners? Then have a picnic on your therapy room floor with the door closed. Still won’t work? Put a plastic tablecloth or red bulletin board paper over your table and have your picnic there while your student is in the accustomed seating.

3.  Now that your students have some experience with a picnic, go back to your adapted book and see how successful they are at completing it. 


Activity ideas with a picnic theme!
Note their errors to choose which follow up activities to use:

* Play having a picnic with toys.
* Do a craft to make/decorate/color the vocabulary items.
* Play a game with pictures of the activities involved in the theme.
* Watch a You-tube video associated with the theme.
* Use an interactive activity on your iPad for the theme. BOOM Cards are great for this!
* Make a flipbook activity for forming sentences.
* Adapt a picture worksheet to make an interactive activity, or have your higher-level students just complete the worksheet.
* Have students fill in more of the symbols in your adapted book, or use additional books to expand their language for the theme.



Try Autism File Folder Activities: Picnic!
Of course, you can always make life easier for yourself and check this out at my store!

It has sentence building games and activities, photos, and adapted books at different levels to meet the needs of diverse groups.



Enjoy!




Beginning or Ending Sounds- A Free Phonological Awareness Activity Week 3

You might be saying to yourself, "What is phonological awareness, anyway? What happened to phonics instruction?" 

Well, phonics instruction still exists, but your kids will be a lot better prepared for it if you have fun with sounds in play before they get to school age!
Help your child with pre-reading skills! Find out more at Looks Like Language!

FUN FACT 1:
Phonemes are the sounds, not the letters of the alphabet, that make up a language.

FUN FACT 2:
Children need a lot of practice listening to and playing with the sounds of our language before they are ready to attach them to the alphabet and written language.

FUN FACT 3:
If your child has difficulty pronouncing a sound, playing games to build skills for listening and identifying the sound can be helpful in learning to say the sound more clearly!

So, what are you waiting for? Download the free Beginning and Ending Sounds Activity and get started! If you missed the prior weeks, get started with the first download here.

If this got you curious, you can read more about the difference between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics at my friend Sarah's blog, Speech is Beautiful! 

Enjoy! Linda
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