Parents: There are many fun activities/games that can be played to facilitate word
retrieval skills. Below are a few suggestions:
* Play word classification games - have your child think of items that would fit in a
category. If you want, time your child and see how many items she can come up with in a certain category, then see if she makes progress over time.
* Play "I am thinking of …” - describe an item or define a word and have your child guess the item/word. You will be providing good models for describing objects and promoting vocabulary growth.
* Fill in the blank associations - have your child complete common phrases and sentences. This will help him use the context to trigger a target word. (e.g., peanut butter and ___, a pair of ___)
* Play “What’s missing?” - choose a task and list the items needed to complete the task while leaving out one key item. For example, if making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you would need bread, a knife, jelly, and ____ .
* List items needed for a specific task - have your child name a task and then ask her to tell you all of the things she would need to complete that task. For example, if the task is sledding, your child could say, “coat, snow pants, hat, mittens, boots, sled, etc.” Encourage your child to visualize herself completing the activity.
* Completing similes. A simile is when you say that something is ___ as a ___. Provide a descriptive word for your child and have her finish the simile. For example, you could say “as fuzzy as a___ .” See if your child can come up with multiple options.
* Synonyms/Antonyms - tell your child a word and have him come up with one synonym (a word that means the same thing) or one antonym (a word that means the opposite) or both.
These are simple “word games” you can play during daily activities such as taking or walk or riding in the car. If these games seem too difficult for your child, use visuals such as objects or pictures to help. Providing auditory cues such as “it starts with ‘t’” or “it goes with a bucket” can be really helpful as well.
The point of these kinds of activities is to practice word retrieval skills and strategies. If your child is becoming frustrated with the activity then take a break or try something easier. Most of all,have fun!
Crystal Hutchins, MS/CCCslp