Quick Tips for Home Practice and My Newsletter!

This was a year of change for me as a speech-language pathologist in the schools.  While I have been with the same school district for 15 years, this was the first year I had a major change in my assignment.  Over the years I had always kept my home elementary building, with only my traveling position {usually one day a week} altered.  I've spent time in high schools, a technical/vocational school, a dab of middle school, and preschool.  This year, following a series of random unforeseen events, I moved full time to a different elementary school within my district.  For now, I am as adjusted as I'm going to be knee deep in workload {paperwork} and a caseload of 80.  No complaints, just reality!

Since change has been in the air, I thought it fitting to start some new trends.  I not only changed my entire incentive system {the verdict is still out on this change}, but I started doing a monthly newsletter!

September and October individually went home as planned.  November and December combined for a right before winter vacation launch.  January and February merged as well, with a hot off the press newsletter for the last week of the latter month {phew}!  Although the newsletter does not have fixed sections that recur each month, I have kept the same layout and generally try to include an update from me, some language that defines what it is that I do as a SLP, home practice ideas, as well as a review section, which outlines the session topics.

This month I really focused on the home practice section!  It took me about 10 minutes to type and I thought it fitting to share my quick home practice tips here.

Home Practice
Homework, whether you love it or are overwhelmed by the thought, I would like to stress a home practice approach rather than homework.  Do I need my students to practice outside of the speech room?  Absolutely!  Do I need each student to complete a worksheet to demonstrate home practice?  Not at all!
Here are some simple suggestions:
Vocabulary development-Read aloud (either student or parent) from any book and discuss vocabulary, trying to provide words that are the same, different, or simple definitions.  If the word is new, act it out to make it stick!
Articulation (speech sounds):  Use weekly reading fluency home practice packets and highlight target speech sounds (those that your child is working on in speech).  Practice saying the words alone first and then reading the words in the sentences.  It is okay if the sounds are not perfect, this is building awareness for when they are perfect!
Understanding language:  Ask your child questions after a TV show, movie, or story/event told aloud for recall or give simple to complex directions and see if your child can follow them. 
Expressive language/sentence structure:  Talk, talk, talk with your child.  Allow him/her time to create a simple or complex sentence and then give back a model of the correct or expanded form (an even better sentence).
Social/Pragmatic language:  Talk about the way people interact, try to identify feelings of people during conversations by reading facial expressions and body language.  Ask your child if he/she can see a different perspective (maybe your point of view) during a difference of opinion!

I could have typed in this box for hours, but with 9.5 font {yikes} and still trying to stretch the lines, I finally just resorted to "less is more!"  What would you write to parents if you only had 10 minutes and a small box in which to share quick tip home practice ideas?  I'd love to have some additional ideas for next month {or two}!

Thanks for stopping by!

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