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Narrative Activities for Speech Therapy

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are a classroom teacher who works with children who have speech and language struggles, it can be very helpful to incorporate narrative activities into your classroom practice. The activities in this lesson will help get you started!

Why Narrative Activities for Speech Therapy?

Have you ever taught children who struggle with speech and language? If so, you probably understand that some of the tasks that come easily for other children require a lot of extra work for these students. As a teacher, your task is to help them make progress in their language without making language feel like too much of a chore and without invoking shame. One way to do this is to incorporate narrative activities into your classroom practice. Narrative activities are those that involve story telling or sequencing, giving children plenty of practice expressing their thoughts, ideas and stories orally and in writing. The activities in this lesson can be modified to meet the needs of students at a variety of ages and grade levels.

Autobiographical Narrative Activities

Many students do their best work with expressive language when they are talking about their own lives and things that they know very well. The activities in this section ask students to draw on personal experiences to practice their language skills.

A First-Time Story

One way to get students talking is by having them think about the first time they did something. Break students up into small groups and have them talk about first times: the first time they rode a roller coaster, the first time they started a new school, etc. Students will probably get ideas from each other. Then, ask each student to tell his or her story to the others in the group using complete sentences. Students should ask each other questions about their stories and notice similarities and differences among them.

Tell It to the Mirror

Ask each student to think of something interesting that happened to them in the last few days. Then, give each of your students a small, hand-held mirror. Ask them to hold the mirrors in front of themselves and describe the interesting event or experience. Challenge them to stretch out the descriptions to be as long as possible. As students talk to their mirrors, encourage them to notice how their mouths look when they talk, how their facial expressions complement their language, and what strategies they use to extend their story with details. When your students are finished, bring them back together and ask them to reflect as a group on what they learned from this experience about their own language skills and narrative processes.

The World Around You Activities

Narrative activities can also involve interactions that let students talk and write about the world around them. The activities in this section encourage students to get descriptive about the things surrounding them.

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