A recent article in the ASHA Leader stated that new studies by researchers at Penn State, Columbia University and University of California, Irvine, found that 2-year olds with larger vocabularies may be better prepared than peers, both academically and behaviorally, when entering kindergarten.
This made me happy because as a public school-based SLP in an integrated preschool program, I chose the SLO to improve vocabulary development. The best part of this idea is that I managed to convince the entire preschool team that it needed to be a collaborative approach to be truly successful so we are all working on it together. Our mid-year reviews have proved to show significant growth in all students.
One evidence-based teaching strategy for working on vocabulary skills is to work on categorization skills so I decided to baseline my students ability to sort pictures belonging to 6 different categories. The results of the baseline data demonstrated the need for this skill to be explicitly taught to my students. I immediately started working on sorting in the classroom. During play, we sorted real play objects: food and drinks, fruits and veges, cars and trucks, farm and zoo animals, You get the point. Then, I decided, that my students needed something concrete and relatable for them to grasp the concept of sorting pictures, so I made simple "category houses". I hold up a picture and ask, Which house does it belong in? Most of my students made the connection immediately and based on my mid-year data, all have dramatically improved their sorting ability.
As a result of the success I had with the house concept, I talked with my Speech Anchor partners, Sue and Lynn, and our super creative and talented illustrator, Paul, and we decided to make the category houses available to you on the TpT website. There are 6 printable houses with the adorable characters from our vowel books on each house depicting the category, 10 picture tiles per house. That's 60 vocabulary words to sort!
They are so simple to put together. Just choose the color option you want. Print houses and picture tiles. Cut, laminate and add Velcro and Voila. You're all set to address this important kindergarten readiness skill with your students.
This is a great activity for push in classroom language centers and/or small group language therapy.
OH! here's another kid friendly idea that makes the activity even more enticing. With a small group, I place up to 12 pictures on the table face down and have the children use a tongue depressor with Velcro on the end to pick up the picture. It's our magic wand! That's what I love the most about working with little ones, there's so many ways to make the language lessons feel like play.
If you are interested in this simple activity to help boost early categorization skills, click on the link to teachers pay teachers.
We'd love to hear your feedback and comments.
Until the next Speech Anchors post,
Sue, Lynn, Patty