Archive for March, 2011

March 30th, 2011

More Than One Way to Learn

We all have learning styles or ways we learn best.  These are  3 different styles or preferences you might want to consider when teaching something new:

1. visual (learning by seeing)

2. auditory (learning by hearing)

3. tactile/kinesthetic (learning by touching and doing)

Many of the suggestions for games and activities I have given tap into these different ways of learning.  Acting out a word in charades uses kinesthetic learning, looking at a picture uses visual learning , listening to a story uses auditory learning.  We developed Ready for R as a tool to enhance teaching with pictures to tap into visual learning.

On a personal note, I still remember learning some basic French vocabulary in elementary school because we made our own dictionaries by cutting and pasting pictures from magazines.  That teacher used all 3 modes of learning, auditory, kinesthetic and visual.  It sure worked for me!

You don’t have to be an artist and you don’t have to spend a fortune to have pictures available for your students.  Using pictures and photos can help a student understand and remember what is being taught. You can of course just search google images or you can buy Boardmaker software (, but there are many free sites that are worthwhile checking out.  These are some I’ve found useful:

March 5th, 2011

A Few of My Favourite Toys

Every therapist has favourite toys and activities that get even the most reluctant learner engaged.  Whether you are working on speech sounds or language skills I have a few that I use over and over.  The most recent additions to my bag of tricks are Pop-Up Pirate and Cranium Cariboo.  Old favourites include Mr. Potato Head and Candyland.  All of these games turn boring practice into fun. They are all found at many stores and some are available online at Here are some activities you can try with these games;

Pop-Up Pirate: This game includes a barrel, a pirate that gets pushed in on top and swords that can be pushed into the barrel.  I don’t know how it works, but it seems as if randomly as you push the swords in, the pirate suddenly pops up.  You never know when it will happen and it makes me jump and laugh every time I play it.  If you are working on speech sounds you can choose a relevent word to practise.  Choose “sword” if you’re working on “s”,  “pop” if you’re working on “p” etc.  If you can’t think of a relevent word just have some pictures or word cards.  Before you put a sword in you have to say the word.  Kids love doing this game many times in a row.

Cranium Cariboo: This game was designed to teach preschoolers colours and shapes, so if that’s what you’re working on read the directions.  Or if you’re like me, don’t read the directions and work on something completely different!  The goal of this game is to find the hidden balls and put them in a container.  When all the balls are collected they push open the treasure box.  Kids love it.   To find the hidden balls you open little doors with a key.  I ignore the pictures of shapes and colours on the doors and get the child to practice the sentence, vocabulary or sound that we are working on, before he opens the door.  I have one client who is working on the pronoun “I”.  He says “I want the ball” before he opens the door.  Another client is working on the “f” sound.  He says “find it” before he opens the door.

Mr Potato Head: Good for working on body parts of course, but I often use Mr. and Mrs. Potato head to help kids learn  the pronouns “he” and “she”.  The child says “She needs a mouth“, for example, before a body part is added.

Candyland: The variations are endless with any board game, but all kids love this one.  Start off playing it the normal way, but before each turn the child has to choose a card, picture or read a word/sentence.  Work on vocabulary  (e.g. name 5 animals),  grammar (e.g.use action picture cards, the child says ” The girl is ___ing“), or speech sounds (child says 3 words that begin with “g”.)

I hope this gives you some new ways to keep kids practising.  It helps if we can have fun along the way too!