We all know that vocabulary is essential to daily life, and we all know that many speech therapy clients have difficulty learning vocabulary, especially children with developmental language disorders (DLD).
However, guidance on how to teach vocabulary seems to be lacking, not to mention the lack of high-quality vocabulary materials. So, I dove into the research to see what I could do to help!
To find out what I learned and to grab some free materials, keep reading!
I am always looking to improve my therapy techniques and materials. To accomplish this for my vocabulary therapy,
I am sad to say that I would often grab or even make (insert cringe) vocabulary materials based on images that I could find instead of researched-based/academically relevant words. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE! Time is precious and I don't want to waste my client's time and energy.
To fix this, I found an awesome website, Flocabulary, which has tier 2 word lists for grades K-8th. I chose words from these lists to create effective, relevant materials.
Tier 2 words are high-frequency academic words that can used across subjects/settings. I feel you get more "bang for your buck" with them!
Should we drill vocabulary (explicit teaching) or target vocabulary naturally (implicit teaching)? That is what I wondered about.
According to What Works in Therapy: Further Thoughts on Improving Clinical Practice for Children With Language Disorders and Retrieval-Based Word Learning in Young Typically Developing Children and Children With Developmental Language Disorder I: The Benefits of Repeated Retrieval, a combination is best!
What I applied from these articles is that,
What is best practice for teaching a vocabulary word? Do we just drill definitions? Do we just run through EET? Do we teach new words each week?
After reading Building Semantic Networks: The Impact of a Vocabulary Intervention on Preschoolers’ Depth of Word Knowledge and Teaching receptive vocabulary to children with specific language impairment: a curriculum-based approach, a combination approach is best!
These articles discuss the importance of vocabulary depth (how well you understand a word) rather than KINDA knowing a lot of words (vocab breadth)! This is something I talk a lot about here. Some techniques for teaching vocabulary depth are to focus on:
Now, it is time to have materials that accomplish this new protocol. I created Google Slides decks for each grade in Speech Therapy Talk Membership's site that follows the following protocol:
Drill Materials (explicit teaching that is no-print)
Natural Learning (implicit materials)
Review (spaced retrieval)
I have been busy making teletherapy materials that can be used for both remote and in-person learning.
Google slides seem to do the trick.
For a free sample click the link below,
For members, you can access the following materials by clicking the link below
To become a member (it is easy and affordable, click the link below