Activities to Improve Language Processing
Far too often we focus on the wrong things when treating Language Processing. We focus on the pronouns, the letter combination sounds, and sentence structure. Of course, these are important but before we jump into these skills first, we tend to lose sight of the need to treat language processing (LP) first. Nearly all of our activities are done through language. When processing skills are an issue, it’s hard for us to communicate what to do if we don’t understand what it is we’re doing or the tools we’re using. For instance, asking a student to paint a picture will result in frustration if they don’t know what a paintbrush is.
We’ve gathered a few activities for improving and strengthening language processing skills that are simple and can be transferred easily to home for family members to join in on as well.
Create Your Own Flashcards
Of course, there are dozens of flashcards on the market for LPDs but the goal of having children make their own flashcards will help them with left to right eye tracking as well as the sounds words make. Flashcards can also be used to help a child make associations between words and phrases. Using old magazines, allow the child to build their own library of flashcards and categorize them to work on additional language processing skills.
The Memory Game
This is one game that children love playing over and over again. The premise is to make matches based on cards with people, places, or things. Therapists and students should take turns flipping over only two cards on each turn to make a pair. There are a variety of ways to structure this game: cards can contain an identical pair (i.e., the same image on two cards), or two different images that go together such as a bat and baseball or a fish and a pond. As you play, ask questions pertaining to what they found or if they remember where a specific card was to try and make a pair.
Fill in the Blank
This word retrieval game can be played with worksheets or spoken. It’s a great way to practice storytelling and improve their word retrieval skills. Until a child becomes more adept at their word retrieval skills, you can incorporate pictures for the child to choose from in order to fill in the blank correctly. One of the things we like about this game is the ability to adapt it for the age group you’re working with and the ability to experiment with different parts of speech.
Children with LPDs often struggle with making inferences. Story Builder is a picture game in which you and the child create a story out of pictures and move the story along by making inferences based on the actions or implied events in the pictures.
We really like the idea of building a story from cutting out pictures from magazines or using ads from magazines to tell a story. To play, gather a variety of pictures; people, places, things, including action images. Begin with your typical, “once upon a time…” or even “there once was a girl/boy,” and allow the child to build a story from action(s) taking place in the pictures or the items. To adapt the game for a young child, you can use paper dolls or felt figures for flannel boards.
What are some of your favorite games and activities for improving Language Processing skills? Share with us in the comments section below.