I’m so excited you’re here! Today we’re continuing our series on Language in the Classroom and I have the perfect little freebie at the end of this post. Missed the others? Don’t worry! You can click the “Series” button at the top to check out our previous topics. As a classroom teacher, Miss Decarbo from Sugar and Spice will be focusing on the big picture and the classroom as a whole. As a speech language pathologist, I will be gearing ideas toward your smaller groups and how to work them in with some of your intervention students. Collaboration between the two is essential!
Just like in her book Comprehension from the Ground Up, Sharon Taberski understands the importance of language as the underpinning for all other skills. When our students have difficulty with language, they will most likely have difficulty in other areas as well. This perhaps is no more apparent than in the area of reading.
From an SLP’s perspective, there are two main areas of language: receptive language (how well you understand language and are able to follow directions) and expressive language (how well you are able to express yourself and give directions). Reading goes hand-in-hand with a student’s receptive language and writing corresponds to their expressive language.
There are many different ways teachers and SLPs can and should be working together on reading! It’s so nice to have teammate there to provide fresh ideas on ways to approach a subject or problem. Reading is perhaps the most essential area an SLP and teacher should be working together and I’m so blessed to be able to work alongside Miss Decarbo! She is an absolute GURU in this area and I’m constantly learning from her! From my perspective, here are two easy ways to include collaboration in this area:
1. Target Phonological Awareness
According to research, teaching those phonological skills such as rhyming, syllable segmentation and blending all benefit student’s reading AND (get this) articulation. (Kirk, C., Gillon, GT., 2007).
I just had a little one move in with a ton of phonological awareness, letter/sound goals. My go-to resource is Miss DeCarbo’s No Prep Intervention Binder.
This makes combining phonological awareness with articulation easy! Can we say “multi-tasking?!” The more students are able to manipulate sounds, the better their articulation becomes! By working on these skills, you are not only improving reading abilities but also their communication.
I love working on intonation when I’m targeting a student’s articulation. Often, a student who is able to say all sounds correctly but talks in a monotone voice is just as hard to understand as a student with multiple speech errors. As an evidence-based strategy (Martinez, Roser, and Strecker, 1999), Readers Theatre is perfect for this practice. Explicitly teaching what a exclamation mark sounds like vs. a period or question benefits these students AND they end up having fun with this skill once they get it.
Now for the fun part! It is often helpful for me, as an SLP, to have an idea of a student’s sound errors that the teacher hears in the classroom before an official screening. Here is a free reading assessment I created that makes it easy for teachers to identify and provide information on the most common sound errors to the SLP. The SLP can then take this information and determine if an official screening is needed.
***Please note: This assessment should in no way should replace the expertise of a speech language pathologist and the SLP should always be consulted to determine intervention needs. Collaboration between the teacher and SLP is essential!
I hope you came away with some fresh ideas on how teachers and SLPs can work together to target reading AND communication! Make sure to head over to Miss Decarbo’s to check out what she has to say about reading! She is an absolute guru in this area!