Speech therapy activities for 4th and 5th graders can be tricky to find. You need resources that are effective but will also engage your students. The past 6 years, I have spent a LOT of time working with 4th and 5th graders in speech and language therapy, and I’ve learned a lot about what works- and what doesn’t- for this upper elementary age group. In this blog post, I’ll share my absolute favorite speech therapy activities for fourth and fifth grade students.
Recommended Speech Therapy Activities for 4th and 5th Graders
In this blog post, I’ll discuss the following speech therapy activities to use with your upper elementary students:
- Following Complex Directions
- Semantic Relationships Worksheets
- Entire Year of Grammar and Sentence Structure
- Correct that Vocalic R
- Manicure Articulation
Following Complex Directions Activity
I had so many students over the years working on following directions, so it was essential to have a resource that would both challenge and motivate them to engage in this task. I created a bundle of resources that I called “speech therapy challenges”- and my students were obsessed. It was really great for small group work, too. I made it clear that it wasn’t a race- this was a task that involved concentration and focus. Because the school day is so busy, I made sure to create a following directions activity that could be ready to use within seconds. The result was a sheet of paper that I could cut in half. I gave the bottom portion to my students and kept the top portion for myself to keep data. If I was working with students in a group, I gave them each a bottom section of the following directions worksheet. I kept just one top piece, then wrote their initials across the top. Data was easy, as I could do a simple “check” or “minus”. It was also really great for progress monitoring.
Semantic Relationships Worksheets for Speech Therapy
Okay, semantic relationships can be a tricky topic- but a really important one- to work on in speech therapy. I was noticing the same difficulties over and over each year with my upper elementary language students: they had trouble understanding time vocabulary within sentences (such as “before” and “after”) and they had trouble discerning left vs right (especially when you threw in twists like “to the right of” or “on the left side of”). I realized I needed to target these important concepts in a systematic way, so I created these Semantic Relationship Worksheets to hone in on these specific targets. These worksheets address time and sequence (temporal- sequential) concepts, passive voice, spatial relationships, and comparative relationships. I love using them with dry erase sleeves for repeated use. That way, I’m not running to the printer constantly.
Entire Year of Grammar and Sentence Structure for SLPs
Probably my all-time favorite, must-have resource for 4th and 5th graders in speech and language therapy? It’s this comprehension program. This took me MONTHS to create and is based on research (check out The Case for the Sentence in Reading Comprehension (Cheryl M. Scott, 2009) and Reading Comprehension Deficits in Adolescents: Addressing Underlying Language Abilities (Nippold, 2017). I saw the importance of targeting grammar and sentence structure after hearing over and over again at IEP meetings how many of my students were struggling with reading comprehension. After digging into those articles, I started trialing a new, systematic approach to narrow in on these skills. The result was 16 lessons that carefully scaffolded grammar and sentence structure skills. It was so cool watching those “ah ha!” moments for my students. These lessons provided my 4th and 5th grade speech therapy students with the missing background knowledge of sentence parts and structure. You can grab this grammar and sentence structure resource here.
Vocalic R Resource for Speech Therapy
If you’re working with upper elementary students, you’re going to encounter vocalic R. There’s no way around it- and since I spent so many years focused on this age range, I got really, really comfortable with treating R. It wasn’t without some additional knowledge, however. I took continuing education in orofacial myology (a 28-hour certification course by Sandra Holtzman), and then took Sandra’s R Course, which is available on Northern Speech. With her permission, I created this Vocalic R resource that is based on her R ceu course. It’s been an absolute game-changer in my therapy room. Check it out, you won’t regret it.
Manicure Articulation Resource
Finally, I want to share a resource that has been a hit with the girly girls on my caseload. Now that the nail gel strips craze is in full effect, I couldn’t go a day without at least one student showing off her at-home manicure. That’s why I created this fun manicure articulation resource (and there’s a bundle with a language version as well). We’ve used it with dough and magnetic chips- and during the pandemic and teletherapy sessions, we used the Kami extension to color the nails.