Utilizing Dramatic Play in Speech Sessions
Some kids may be shy and try to avoid speech and language practice during a session. A great way to work around this is with dramatic play activities. Most children will come out of their shell and enjoy a wide variety of options and may not even be aware of the skills that they are working on for speech. Dramatic play also gets kids up and moving, so they are more likely to be actively engaged through the entire time.
Dramatic play is extremely versatile. You could make flashcards with a wide variety of people, places, things, and activities that could be acted out. For example, think back to something special that they did last year in the fall. Have them reenact that event. It could be a time when they went trick-or-treating, jumped in the leaves at their house, picked a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch, or even went through a corn maze. Now think ahead and have them act out what they hope to do this autumn. Simply acting out and talking through all of this is great practice for their articulation and other language skills.
Another fun way to use dramatic play is to act out another scene using characters from a book. Start with a story and then give students a new scenario using the individuals in the story. Allow them to pretend to act out that scenario with their imagination. This spontaneous activity will work on their confidence and keep them going to finish their own tale.
For kids who are more into sports, it’s just as fun to act out a pretend game between two rival teams. Ask them what the players would be saying to each other before the game, during a hockey shootout, or a swim meet against someone like Michael Phelps. For those students that prefer video games, think outside of the box. Let them pretend to act out a scene from Angry Birds with the birds and pigs. These days you may want to have someone be a Pikachu and try to hide from Pokemon Go enthusiasts.
Check in with teachers to see if there is a specific academic area that a child may be struggling in. For example, students struggling with science may benefit from acting out the life cycle of a butterfly. Not only will it get them to practice their language skills, it also works on their knowledge of the content specific vocabulary. Students will gain confidence and want to learn more while practicing the sequencing. They will be happy to share what they have learned with more people.
As always, let parents know what you are working on in sessions. Give them ideas on how to use dramatic play at home with students. It may be fun to send home suggestion cards for them to try with families. Be sure to include translations on anything send home to multilingual families for them to be able to participate.
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