Sunday, October 14, 2012

Letterland and the SLP

This year, I have been seeing the majority of my kindergarten students in the EC classroom. It is an opportunity that allows me to have exposure to the Letterland program. The program is primarily driven towards teaching children phonological awareness skills. Each letter of the alphabet is taught in a specific sequence that prepares children to read. The letters have vibrant characters, such as Clever Cat, and hand gestures for the actual sound production.

Our Letterland groups (two groups of 5-6 kindergarteners) are introduced to a new letter at the beginning of the week via the ABC learning software. The kids listen to the character's "story" and song. I appreciate the story because it incorporates a ton of child-friendly vocabulary in an interactive manner. The kids can come up to the Smartboard and touch certain objects with or without prompts. The songs are easy to remember and a great cue as we review the letters each week via an alphabet chain. We go through the week with different activities and review all of the letters that they have learned thus far. 

In terms of speech:  

Vocabulary and Utterance lengths- The stories introduce the children to new vocabulary every week. We focus on specific target items through craft activities and the software games. I also bring in toys or picture cards. We work on expanding our utterance lengths through expansion (adding one word to what they say), models (usually for correct word order but also for verbalizing), cues (visual gestures), and sabotage (hiding objects that they need so they ask for it).  I also pull out my wacky hats for these targets. 

Following Directions- something we target via craft projects and the interactive match-up game via the software program.

1. Caterpillars- We read the Very Hungry Caterpillar, watched a clip on Brain Pop about them, and made Caterpillar's out of die-cut Cs.
2. Ants- We read Hey, Little Ant, talked about big/little, and made ants out of die-cut A's
3. Elephants- We made Eddy Elephant out of torn pieces of paper  

You can easily do toilet paper roll or paper-plate crafts. I just haven't had the time to plan an activity like that out just yet. 

I also like to bring in books and do movements with them. This past week we read Shake Dem Bones and the kids had to stand up/shake for the "shake dem bones" line. They have also made faces with the book, The Way I Feel. Letterland is great for book incorporation and you don't have to use their products. Just find a book that talks about a key vocabulary word/sound for that week.

Opposites- I bring in small figurines or use items in the EC classroom. We don't talk about this every week but I try to incorporate it on a frequent basis. 

Descriptions- You can easily describe the Letterland characters or scenes that they are in. 

Now, I do not try to use the Letterland group as time to target articulation goals. I pull those students out during other parts of the day. It's a bit too much to try that as can be rather distracting. However, I use the character names and gestures to cue their speech during the sessions. I also mix the pattern up and use speech specific gestures/nicknames for the sounds that end up transitioning to whole group sessions. Golden Girl gulps her drink, for example. (I also use the visual phonics cues for the different vowel sounds rather than the Letterland ones to really emphasize the difference.) It is an easy way to engage them in therapy and tie our work back into the Letterland curriculum. 

Overall, I have really begun to enjoy this program and finding ways to incorporate speech goals into it. 

Most of this video is about Letterland save the last little bit.

Here is a short PDF suggestion list.

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