10 Teletherapy Articulation Activities for Older Students
What’s your first thought when you get a new middle school student working on articulation?
“What speech therapy activities will motivate this student AND facilitate progress?”
Yep, me too.
As an SLP serving kindergarten through 12th grade via teletherapy, I regularly see middle and high school students with articulation goals. And I learned that my cute build-a-scene Boom Card activities are not going to get a 9th grader to take me seriously.
Over the last several years, I have been on the hunt for articulation activities for the older crowd. For some students, I use an overall intelligibility approach by teaching clear speech strategies, while other students need specific articulation practice.
No print activities that allow for functional practice of articulation targets and don’t offend my older students by being too babyish can be hard to find. Need some inspiration? Get ready for this rapid fire round of 10 different articulation ideas (although many can be used for language too)!
1. Scattergories was one of my favorite games as an adolescent, but many of my students have never played! When given a list of categories, the student has a few minutes to think of as many words that fit in those categories and contain their target sound as they can. This activity also works well to increase students' awareness of their speech sounds. I use these category lists, but you (and your students) could also make up your own!
2. My younger students are obsessed with playing these Boom Cards decks that are similar to the game Spot it. My middle and high schoolers like playing Spot It too, but since brightly colored clip art might be too childish for many of them, I often use photos or words to create a Spot It-style game using this free website.
3. This website has tons of free memory games for students of all ages. To find one, click 'Search' at the top and type in the target sound, such as 'r blends'. You can then preview the images (or words) used in games to determine if they are a good fit for your older students. If you create a log in, you can also make your own game for free!
4. Boom Cards are a favorite for all of my students (and me), but there are few decks targeted for older students, especially for articulation. Activities like this fireworks-themed deck and this ghosts-themed deck allow sessions with older students to be festive with an age appropriate activity. Real photos and written words appeal to them, plus these decks promote creativity and independence.
5. Who knows the dots and boxes game? This was another of my childhood favorites. So naturally I created a digital, speech version! This activity comes in two digital formats for teletherapy- a PDF that can be annotated and a version for Google Slides.
6. Here’s an activity that I can guarantee will bring laughter to your sessions. Seriously. My students LOVE doing Funny Fill-Ins on the National Geographic Kids website (an online version of Mad Libs) using words with their target sound. I screen share the website and a list of words with their target sound simultaneously using a split screen of my second monitor. I love this activity so much that I made lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs organized by sound/word position so this activity is ready to go in just a couple of clicks.
7. If you're looking for something totally unique and different, check out this PDF activity where students draw lines between target words to create constellations. This activity works well with annotation tools in a teletherapy platform or using the drawing tool in Adobe Reader.
8. Silly Holiday Texts by Kiwi Speech is literally a year round go-to. For every single day of the year, there is a page with a short passage about a random, fun holiday, including word lists for commonly targeted sounds and language prompts. MIXED. GROUPS. Need I say more?
9. Quia.com has been a LIFESAVER for my sessions with older students. It has many free games and activities, and you can play those created by other teachers/SLPs. Click here to search through the activities, which include games similar to Jeopardy, Battleship, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and more. For articulation, I just search by the sound (such as /l/ final) and look through the games that have been shared.
10. The last idea is one that I learned about from my students! Kahoots! are multiple-choice, game-based quizzes. Players participate simultaneously on their own devices or on a shared screen. There are several different membership plans, but even the basic, free plan allows you to search through the games created by others and make your own! In the game that I created below, I loaded the questions and answers with /s/ and /z/ words. That's some sneaky SLP magic, right there.
One quick honorable mention-- my friend and colleague Stacey at My Teletherapy Room shares about a Chrome extension called Weava. It's a great tool for highlighting a specific target sound on a page of text (such as an online article), which is a very functional activity for older students!
Planning articulation therapy for middle and high school students doesn't have to be stressful. By strategically integrating words with target sounds into meaningful and motivating games, activities, and websites, your older students will put forth greater effort to make changes in their speech production. And even if they won't admit it, they might just have a little fun along the way :)