Stuttering Speech Therapy Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

If you are working with someone that has a stutter, the activities in this lesson are for you! The speech therapy activities offered here are gentle, meaningful, and helpful for those struggling with stuttering.

Why Stuttering Matters

As a teacher, you probably understand the importance of oral language. The spoken word is one of the most obvious ways people use to make themselves understood and get their ideas across. For those students who struggle with aspects of speaking, communication can be severely hampered, and cognitive growth, social development, and self esteem can all suffer as a consequence.

Stuttering is one example of a speech problem that can negatively impact our students. While there are many different reasons your students may stutter, ranging from psychological to physiological causes, in a classroom setting, you will more likely to look for ways to help these students than for explanations.

This lesson offers some activities and exercises that will help students who stutter speak and communicate in more relaxed and fluent ways.

Stuttering Activities

Roll a Ball

Start this activity by explaining to your students that when they speak, their goal is to speak smoothly. Show them how you can roll a small ball, like a tennis ball, slowly across the floor of your classroom. Explain that the ball can be a metaphor for how speech works; words, phrases, and sentences should roll smoothly and gently off our tongues.

Then, give each of your students a ball of their own and a sentence written out on a long sentence strip. Their job is to read the sentence while rolling the ball along the floor. Have each student practice the same sentence at least a dozen times, focusing on smooth and relaxed speech as they read and roll.

Next time your students are struggling with their stutter, remind them of the ball and help them visualize it as they speak.

Play and Chat

Some individuals who stutter find that if their bodies or hands are moving when they speak, they stutter less. Pair your students for this activity and provide to each pair a set of cards for a game with which they are already familiar. Some games that many students will know include Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy 8s, or Uno.

While students are playing, encourage them to keep up a conversation about something they love, such as a favorite movie, a place they love to go, or a family member with whom they like spending time. Circulate as your students play and chat, and provide positive reinforcement for the ways they are able to keep their speech smooth and relaxed when distracted by their card game.

Line in the Sand

This is a great activity for students who like to work with different senses. Give your students a baking sheet or tray covered with a light layer of sand or uncooked rice. Ask your students to repeat words, phrases, and sentences. Every time they speak, they should use their fingers to draw a smooth line across the sand. The line represents the steadiness and fluidity of their speech. After practicing this for a while, help your students reflect on what it felt like and how they might visualize the sand when speaking, even without the tray in front of them.

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