The Advanced Grammar and Sentence Structure Program for Speech Therapy: Why Grammar and Syntax is SO Important


It all started when I sat down and started thinking about how often I hear in IEP meetings: this student struggles with reading comprehension.

Now, I WAS working on comprehension goals, but I felt like I needed to dig deeper. What SPECIFIC areas of language could I target that would best help my students in the classroom? There had to be more answers out there.

 First, I read “A Case for the Sentence in Reading Comprehension” (Scott). 
Next, I read “Reading Comprehension Deficits in Adolescents" (Nippold). I was intrigued. I became obsessed.

See, it all made sense: every word, phrase, and clause in a sentence works together to affect meaning. Additionally, every sentence in a passage impacts the overall message. 

Kind of a big problem when academic textbooks are riddled with crazy amounts of modifiers and center-embedded clauses. 

It became clear to me that comprehension of grammar/ syntax is not only important- it’s essential. As a language specialist, I needed to be the one to fill in those gaps for my students. 

I know, I know- grammar isn’t really… fun. Still, I turned into a crazy syntax lady for two months. I watched hours and hours of sentence diagramming tutorials. Something crazy happened. I realized that these diagrams were the visuals my students NEEDED to “see” how the parts of speech and sentence parts worked together. Coupled with other important tasks (such as identifying parts of speech/ answering questions about the sentence, sentence manipulation, and sentence fill-in tasks), I finally knew what I had to do.

I started from the beginning. I worked and worked until I had 16 lessons, all the way from simple sentences to complex sentences. I created reference sheets. I even figured out a crazy cool new way to work on sentence recall using those diagrams.

If you aren’t crazy about grammar/ syntax and don’t know the first thing about diagramming- I’ve got you. I am SO excited that it’s FINALLY finished. This program has, quite literally, consumed me for the past 60 days. If you’re interested, you can purchase this program here.

Talk Like a Pirate Day Speech Therapy Activities

I literally CAN’T WAIT!!! Wednesday is Talk Like a Pirate Day buuuuuuut one day isn’t really enough to celebrate the awesomeness of pirates so we’ll be talking about them all week.

 Tell me in the comments if you’re planning on using the pirate theme in therapy this week! Share what activities you’ll be doing so I can add to my list!

 Here’s my list of planned activities:
  • Teaching “pirate” themed idioms, like “test the water”, “off the hook”, “make waves”, “in the same boat”, “a fish out of water”, and “the coast is clear”
  • Working on pirate-y sentences. Many of my upper elementary students are working on forming sentences with conjunctions, so I’m going to ask them pirate-y “why” questions and given them target conjunctions they must use in their answer choices. I’ll write “because”, “since”, “so”, or “so that” in circles on construction paper, and they can smash yellow dough to make “gold coins” as they create sentences. Here are some “why” questions I’ll ask: “Why do pirates like treasure?” “Why do pirates have maps?”, “Why do pirates search for gold?” “Why do pirates have parrots?” “Why do pirates have ships?”
  • Working on positional concepts! I’m bringing in the pirate hook and pirate hat to do this!
  • Following directions with embedded concepts!

Avoiding SLP Burn-Out

Speech therapy is a rewarding job. I have to admit it, though: speech-language pathology can be super, super stressful at times.

I remember a few years back, during a particularly difficult time in my career. I was working in an outpatient setting at the time. I have always been a lifelong learner, and I sometimes go a little crazy in my search for answers. I was reading everything I could find. I was taking ceu courses non-stop. If I couldn't attend in-person, I was watching online ceu videos non-stop at home.

speech therapy burn out stressed speech-language pathology article

I want to give my students (or patients) my all. This is a wonderful thing, but I was putting work life so, so far ahead of my own needs that I wasn't sleeping. When I did, I started dreaming about work. I would wake up in a panic, remembering things I needed to do that day. Unfinished reports, visual schedules that needed to be created, materials that needed to be laminated and prepped. I was running on fumes. I had zero energy. No amount of coffee was fixing that.

 I was forgetting why I became a Speech-Language Pathologist in the first place.

 During this time, I was also reading all these lovely articles with speech-language pathology coming up high in a list for "careers that aren't stressful". MMMkay.

Luckily, my family members made me take a step back and focus on "me".

That involved getting back to the gym and going on walks. Those brain breaks we make our students take? We need them too.

When I came in the door, I forced myself to "check out" of work mode. It wasn't easy getting speech therapy off my brain. I needed to do it, though.

 I stopped reading all of the online forums and articles once I'd gotten home from work. I started going to library and checking out "fun" books. My husband and I found some fun shows to watch. I started making more of an effort to eat healthy, real food.

What I learned was this: when I took care of myself, I learned how to be a better speech therapist for my students. We can't be in work mode 24/7. If you find that you're starting to feel burned out, take it seriously.

That might mean taking 10 minutes each day to sit quietly somewhere and enjoy your coffee.

It could mean doing a 15 minute yoga session to unwind before or after a crazy day.

It could mean shutting off social media and walking away from your phone or laptop.

Whatever it is, though, make sure to do it: you deserve it.

Thinking Outside the (Cardboard) Box: SLP Mom Reflections

The other day, I came back from an errand to find my toddler son outside with his babysitter. His clothes were soaked, and he wore the hugest grin on his sweet face. He was squealing with laugher.


What had made him so happy?

His red car, a watering can, and a bucket.

You see, I'm a big fan of modeling language through play. We've played with these exact same toys before.

 I've pushed him in his car multiple times. I've modeled words like "go", "stop", and "turn".

We've gotten out Daddy's large blue bucket, and bounced his ball inside, while I modeled sentences such as, "Ball in. We bounced the round ball in the bucket."

We've pretended to water the flowers (okay, the grass- I'm not much of a gardener) and talked about it as we did it.

My son's creative babysitter, however, thought of a new use for all of these toys. When I came home, they had just finished "washing" his car. I'm certain this activity exposed him to new vocabulary.

Additionally, it was a great reminder for me.

Sometimes, it's okay to not "play" by the rules. His clothes were soaking wet? No big deal. It was a hot summer day, and the experience was well worth it.

Sometimes, we need to use our imagination. The everyday toys and items we have around the house can become anything in a child's eyes.

That's why we currently have a huge fort/ mansion in our play room, made entirely of cardboard moving boxes.

And sometimes, your coworkers (or babysitter) might have thought of an entirely new way to use the same old toys you have lying around your therapy room. Ask them!

Visual Schedules for Speech Therapy

No print Speech therapy visual schedules for Google Slides™! This no prep, digital activity is PERFECT for the busy Speech-Language Pathologist who needs to access a visual schedule FAST!
Visual schedules provide a way to structure your speech and language sessions. Visual schedules assist with transitioning to a new activity, and in my experience, can help reduce challenging behaviors.

I wanted to create a resource that would quickly allow me to go from session to session in a jam-packed day while providing my speech therapy students with access to the structure they need. With this digital resource, you won't need to print out or laminate anything. Seriously! This is huge, and I'm so excited about it! All you need to do is tap! (Of course, if you're using your computer, you'll need to click ;-)!) With EVERY visual schedule included, you can choose to "repeat the activity" OR go back to the "home" slide again. This is a MEGA visual schedule resource which contains 72 ready-to-go "just tap" visual schedules. You can select the schedule you want from a hyperlinked menu. If you don't like my wording for the text, you can edit it. You can find it here.
If you can't find the schedule you need- no worries! I've also included an "open-ended" First/ Then visual schedule. Within the Google Slides™ app, you can click the "+" icon, choose or take a picture, then add it to the pre-made open-ended schedule. You can also type the wording how you'd like (just keep scrolling for video demonstrations)! The "table of contents" page is hyperlinked and will allow you to easily access whatever schedule you'd like!

So here's how to use this resource:

First, you'll click on the link within the PDF. You'll need a Google account (free) and the Google Slides app (if you'll be using this on the iPad).

Here's a snapshot of how to access present mode. (On your computer, you'll simply select "present").

Next, you'll select a schedule..

In present mode, you simply "tap" (or click) after completing a task. The task becomes checked off!

Repeat the activity as often as you'd like, or go back to home and select a new schedule!

You can edit the wording:

You just exit out of "present mode". You double-tap (or just click on your computer) to change my wording and make it your own! (Shown with the "make your own" schedule option). You can edit the text in pre-made or "make your own" visual schedule options.

Still don't see what you need? No worries! You can take your own pictures and make your own schedule. This is the best part!

You'll just go back into "present" mode to use that schedule you created!

I hope this resource saves you a TON of time.

Please note The Pedi Speechie is not affiliated with or Apple.

Free St. Patrick's Day Speech Therapy Activities #slpstpatrickhop

St. Patrick's Day is ALMOST here, and I am SO excited to announce that FRANKIE IS BACK! I've teamed up (again) with some of my fav SLPs on TpT to bring you FREE St. Patrick's Day Speech Therapy materials! Seriously, we have your entire week planned out!

I'm not sure if you joined us for our #slphalloween hop, #slpchristmashop, or #slpvalentinehop (just search those terms on TpT if not), but it's the PERFECT time to join in on the fun if you haven't already!

Here's how it works. I created a super nerdy, kind of catchy story-song about a frog that adores St. Patty's Day (because, let's be honest... who doesn't?). You can sing this one to the tune of "The Ants Go Marching". Your students won't even mind if you don't have a great singing voice, I promise. Mine don't!

You'll download and print your copy of the story/ song here (and I'd be super, super excited if you left me feedback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), then you'll gather the rest of your materials. It's basically like finding a whole bunch of gold at the end of a speech and language rainbow. We appreciate YOU, and would be super grateful if you follow each of our stores on TpT!

Speech Wonderland created an engaging category packet for you! My students have LOVED putting her flip book together in our other hops, and I know they'll be so pumped about this booklet as well!

Next, Sparklle SLP has you covered with story sequencing visuals, smash mats, and sentence flips! This is the perfect way to keep little hands busy during your session!

Working on WH- questions with your students? You will ABSOLUTELY want to grab SLPTalk with Desiree's fabulous freebie...

Phonemic awareness is super awesome with The Speech Owl's help! She created a fantastic, Frankie-style packet to address goals such as rhyming and identifying beginning and ending sounds!

Last- but certainly not least- The Speech Attic has the most adorable, colorful, and fun basic concepts packet for you! You will absolutely be feeling lucky when you download this packet!

Have an amazing, LUCKY St. Patty's Day!

St. Patrick's Day Ideas for Speech Therapy

Hey guys! St. Patrick's Day is almost here, and you can BET that I'll be celebrating this fun holiday in my speech therapy room!

Here are few activities you can try with your students...

1) If you're working on basic concepts, try this activity out to teach "more" vs "less". We just used construction paper and glue!

2. I've been on a roll with creating following directions sets, and my students are LOVING this St. Patrick's Day packet. You can grab it here. (This packet is also available in the holiday bundle. For seasonal themes, check this out). 

3. Leprechaun tic-tac-toe is so legit. This is easy to make. Laminate the board so you can write in any target you wish! We worked on vocalic /r/, but you could just as easily target idioms, categories, or anything else your heart desires!

...oh, and P.S. ... CHECK BACK SOON. I've been working hard with some SLP blogging buddies to bring you something special for St. Patty's Day.
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