Sentence-Building Activities

WritingSentencesSentence-Building Activities

By Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.

A sentence is a group of written words expressing a statement, question, command, or exclamation that always begins with a capital letter and must end with an appropriate punctuation mark. A sentence’s purpose is to provide or request information. Use the activities below to introduce or extend sentence building to your children.

1. Flash Cards – Cut a number of note cards in half. Take several cards and write familiar nouns (red) on them with a colored marker or crayon – Dad, Fido, Jeff, Grandma, Becky, etc. Then write verbs (blue) on some others – drives, jumps, plays, bakes, etc. Finally, write a period (.), question mark (?), and exclamation mark (!) in black on some other cards.

Have your child choose a noun (red), verb (blue), and an end mark (black) and make sentences.

2. Add in articles (a, an, the) and more nouns (cookies, piano, ball, car, pizza) in different colors and repeat the exercise.

3. When the child experiences success with the basics of #1 and #2, create a template like the one below using an 8 1⁄2” x 11” piece of paper cut in half lengthwise. Divide the paper into the number of columns representing only
the parts of speech the child is familiar with like the card below.

Try this activity at home with your child to practice creating sentences!

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Speech-Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson. If your child is in need of a speech evaluation, we can set up an appointment today!

Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Games

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-10-53-59-amGobble, Gobble, Gobble!

It’s the week of Thanksgiving. The time for turkey, pie, family, friends, and not forgetting to continue to work on our speech therapy. Check out these 10 turkeytastic games you can play this Thanksgiving courtesy of Speech Buddy:

1. Fill a Cornucopia of Vocabulary Words – You can play this activity for several days and use either an actual cornucopia (I have both a decorative wire one and wicker ones), or print one like this and have your child color it. Then cut pieces of paper into small shapes – I like to make pumpkins, corn, and other simple festive shapes on orange, red, yellow, and brown paper. Work with your child on building target vocabulary words and every time one is considered “achieved” or “mastered”, add it to the cornucopia. If you’re using a paper version, just glue or tape the words on the paper cornucopia and hang it in an area of the house that is easy for your child to see.

2. Make Thanksgiving Bingo Cards – You can create your own using clip art or phonics cards, or use free ones like this. To build on articulation skills, have your child repeat the words after you call them out during the bingo game.

3. Pumpkin Pie Mix-Up – Take 3 or more paper plates – one for each articulation target sound. Divide each plate into 8 equal pie pieces, just as you would cut a pie or pizza. On each slice, write a word that matches the articulation target. Mix up the pie pieces and see if your child can complete the pumpkin pies according to each target sound – encourage him to say the words aloud as he works on the puzzle.

4. Play Thanksgiving Memory – Make your own Thanksgiving Memory games with target sounds. There are lots of great vocabulary options related to Thanksgiving, but if you’re stuck, here are some fun inspirations:

5. Say it with a Pilgrim Puppet – Make practicing articulation words a little more festive by creating some pilgrim puppets to go along with them. You and your child can each create a puppet and practice the words together. Try some of these templates and craft ideas for the puppets:

6. Turkey Dance – Play this combination of the Chicken Dance and musical chairs. Take any of these turkey templates and print as many of them as you need for your target words. On each turkey, write a target word, then tape the turkeys in a circle on the floor. Play the tune to the Chicken Dance as your child dances in a circle on the turkeys, and stop the music randomly. All the players take turns calling out the target word of the turkey under their feet when the music stops.

7. Sing Some Songs – There are some great Thanksgiving songs to reinforce sounds like /t/ and /p/, as well as rhyming structures. The video below is a catchy tune with entertaining graphics, or you could try this turkey finger play.

8. Thankful Words – Take your target articulation sound and work with your child to come up with as many things about which to be thankful that start with that sound. Label the top of the paper “Thankful for _____ Sounds!” and then hang it where your child can be reminded of those things.

9. Build a Turkey – Start with a plain brown turkey body shape – think bowling pin shape. Cut out paper feathers from a variety of colors and work with your child to say target words or sounds as you write one on each feather. Have your child glue the turkey feathers to the body, continuing to practice the words. You can even have a whole gaggle of turkeys, each one with a target sound, such as /th/, written on the body of the turkey. Then your child can try to think of words that match that target sound and add them by writing them on feathers.

10. Pumpkin /P/ Play Dough – Make some homemade scented pumpkin pie play dough for practicing those /p/ sounds and create pumpkins, pilgrims, pies, and any other /p/ words your child can invent!


If you, your child, or a loved one is in need of speech therapy please do not hesitate to contact Christine Wilson! We hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

How Can I Work on My Child’s Speech While at Home?


A post by Christine Wilson:

Parents always ask me what they can do at home to facilitate language development.  Below are some ways to foster speech and language development with your child at home.  Keep in mind, the most important part is to make it fun!

1) Choices.  One of the first things you can do is to incorporate choices into your daily routine.  By doing this, you reduce the number of yes/no questions you ask and help your child feel the power of expressing his wants, thereby decreasing frustration.

2) Picture Language.  Research shows that use of pictures with children with communication difficulties assists with both understanding and expression.  Make simple communication displays with photos and point to each choice and label.  Look at your child and wait for a response.

3) Routines and Directions.  Make pictures schedules for daily routines.  Review the routine and point to each picture and label.  Say “all done” when the routine is complete.  This works especially well with difficult times of day, like bedtime.

4)  Learning vocabulary- Take photos of family, friends, pets, clothing, and household items.  Create displays with photos by category.

5) Increasing Attention to Books.  Share books everyday.  The story does not matter.  Don’t read the story.  Instead, teach nouns, action words, he/she.  Make story time inter-active.  Ask questions.  If the child does not know the answer, give the answer.  Use the same books each night in a routine until the child can identify and label pictures.

6) Place preferred items out of reach so that your child will be obligated to use words, signs, or pictures to request what he wants.

7) Interrupt familiar routines to ask what happens next.

8)  Sabotage, be silly.  Say something like, “I am going to put pants on my head” as you put his pants on your head.  Wait for your child’s response.  Expand his response.

9) Time delay.  With a needed or preferred item present, look at the item and and your child expectantly for up to 15 seconds and wait.  Too often as parents we meet our child’s needs before they even have an opportunity to verbally communicate.  Don’t be so accommodating!

Fall Speech Therapy Activities

Five autumn Japanese maple leaves in a row.

Leaves have changed colors.. pumpkins placed on porches.. the clocks fell back an hour. Fall is here, and winter is coming. Check out these awesome fall themed speech therapy activities:

Fall Corn Speech Craftivity

What a fun way to practice your speech articulation or language goals and create this sweet corn craft! This is such a great way to keep those little hands busy and motivated while working on speech skills and fine motor skills!
You can use a dot marker to create the kernels on the ear of corn. Have the students use a spinner to see how many times to produce a target word and then have them dot that many kernels. Use red, orange, brown and yellow dot markers and brown shucks to create an ear of Indian corn.
Every sound in every position plus blends are included. You have 3 words for every sound in the initial, 3 words in medial and 3 words in the final position of words. There are 9 images with words on each sound page. A blank form is also included so that you can use this same craft for your mixed groups. Detailed photo instructions are included for assembly.
The following articulation sounds in initial, medial and final position are included:
B, CHD, F, G, J, K, L, L blends, M, N, P, R, R blends, S, S blends, SH, T, TH, V, Y, Z
Plus the following language concepts:
antonyms, synonyms, rhyming, wh questions, wh questions mixed, shapes, 1-step, directions, blank template


Pie Speech Craftivity

What a fun way to practice your speech articulation or language goals and make a yummy looking pie craft in therapy. This is such a great way to keep those little hands busy and motivated while building fine motor skills!
Photo instructions are included along with detailed instructions on creating the pie craftivity. This craft could last two sessions or one. To last one session, you may need to help assemble the crust, but if you want to work on following directions with the students then the crust may take longer than a session to create. This is assuming that a session is only 30 minutes.
Every sound in every position plus blends are included. For each sound there are four words in the initial, medial and final position of words.

Articulation and Language Turkey Craft

Practice articulation words and language targets using this fun and interactive Thanksgiving Articulation and; Language Turkey Craft. It targets Initial and final K, G, F, V, Sh, Ch, TH, R, S, initial blends and final consonant deletions. Irregular and regular past tense verbs, plurals, associations, categories, similarities and differences targets. A Thanksgiving vocabulary page is also included so this can be used with mixed articulation and language groups.
Final consonant deletion targets have been added and Thanksgiving Vocabulary targets.

1.) Copy the Turkey and feet onto heavy paper
2.) Cut out the holes for the arms and legs.
3.) Copy the targeted sounds onto colored paper. If you are only targeting initial
sounds make 2 copies of it.
4.) Cut apart the strips of paper.
5.) Practice the targeted words on each strip of paper. (Optional: Have the students
write sentences on the back of the strips of paper.
6.) Color the pictures.
7.) Make a chain using the strips of paper for each arm and leg. I like to add 3
strips of paper for each wing and 6 for each leg.
8.) Glue the feet on the last strip of paper on each leg.
8.) Optional: Punch a hole in the stem and add yarn or ribbon, so it can be hung

Veterans Day Speech Activities!

AmericanFlagWow, November already? Where has the year gone? It seems like just the other day we were getting ready to celebrate Memorial Day, now we’re celebrating Veterans Day!

Veterans Day was originally established on November 11th 1919. It was the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and November 11th became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

Check out these awesome (free) speech therapy activities found on Pinterest:

The Seven A’s of Dementia

Brain AgingSeven A’s of dementia

Written by the Alzheimer Society

About Dementia:

Dementia is a word that describes a variety of brain disorders. Symptoms of these disorders include memory loss, confusion, difficulty speaking and understanding, and changes in mood and behaviour. These symptoms may affect how a person can manage at work, in social relationships and in day-to-day activities. Sometimes symptoms of dementia can be caused by conditions that may be treatable, such as depression, thyroid disease, infections or drug interactions. If the symptoms are not treatable and progress over time, they may be due to damage to the nerve cells in the brain.

The Seven A’s:

One way of understanding how dementia affects the brain is to look at the seven A’s of dementia. Each A represents damage to a particular part of the brain. Please keep in mind that someone with dementia may not experience all of the A’s.

  • Anosognosia means that you can no longer recognize that something has changed and that there is something wrong. You might not understand why you have cognitive problems or that you are experiencing any problems at all. Because the part of your brain that helps you reason is damaged, you do not see the changes in your abilities that others may see.
  • Agnosia means you can no longer recognize things through your senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. You might not be able to sort out what you see or hear. You might have trouble recognizing familiar people. Your safety may be at risk if this part of the brain is affected because you might confuse objects and what they are used for.
  • Aphasia means you lose the ability to use language. This includes the ability to speak, understand, read and write. Although a person may retain the ability to speak for some time, the ability to understand what other people are saying may be affected early in the disease. If you cannot understand what is being said to you, this can lead to misunderstandings between you and those around you. You might find yourself withdrawing from social interactions because you are worried that you will not understand others or that they may not understand you.
  • Apraxia means you have lost the ability to tell your body how to carry out purposeful movement. As well, if you have apraxia, you may also have trouble understanding terms such as back, front, up, down. When this happens, it becomes difficult to do things such as tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and zippers, and any activity involving co-ordination. The ability to move your body according to a certain pattern, such as co-ordinating hand and leg movement, also affects your ability to do specific activities such as driving.
  • Altered perception happens when you misinterpret the information your senses are giving you. For some people, this is a bigger problem in the late afternoon or early evening when light changes. Another important change is the loss of depth perception—the ability to see in three dimensions. It becomes harder to judge how high, deep, long, wide, near or far things are. For example, if the floor and furniture are the same colour, it may be difficult to judge when one is close enough to a chair to try to sit.
  • Amnesia means loss of memory. This is an important loss because most things we do depend on our ability to remember. For example, a person with short-term memory problems loses the ability to remember what was just said. This explains why you might find yourself asking questions over and over again. Earlier in the disease a person’s short-term memory will be affected. As the disease progresses, long-term memories will become harder to retrieve.
  • Apathy is not being able to take initiative. The part of the brain that helps you start to do something, either to carry out an activity or to communicate, is damaged. You might find that you have difficulty beginning activities. You may need someone else to give you cues (hints) to keep you involved in a conversation or a task.