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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chicago Speech and More’s Favorite Post-Holiday Language Activity

Thank You Note Language ActivityWith no school, the days can get endless and the kids restless…

Now that Christmas and Chanukah are over you are probably looking around at a bunch of new toys, games and electronics. While I hope your children are still enjoying their new gifts, it can be hard to find ways to stay busy. If you’re looking for a great language activity, Chicago Speech and More recommends writing thank-you notes with your children.

I know sending and receiving letters might be foreign to your children but the concepts are important. Writing “thank-you” notes with your children are great for many reasons.  Not only are you instilling the value of saying “thank-you” for gifts received, there is tons of new vocabulary and language concepts that go along with writing and sending letters.

First, practice writing a message with your child.  Depending on the age and ability of your child, help them to create a message. It is usually best to draw lines to give your child a visual area to write on. If your child isn’t able to write independently but can copy written work, draft the message together, write it on a separate piece of paper and have your child copy it. If this it too advanced for your child, have them dictate the message to you. Talk about how we open letters with “dear” and then write “thank you for the ________”.  Discuss other items you can enclose in your message. Let your child come up with ideas. Once you have finished your message, explain how we close letters with “love, yours truly, from, etc.” and then sign our name.

If you are a fan of “snail-mail”, introduce vocabulary words like: envelope, stamp, address, return address.   If  “snail-mail” isn’t your thing, you can always send a “thank-you” email.   Let’s be honest—everyone loves getting a “thank-you” note.

Chicago Speech and More hopes the rest of your holiday season is wonderful.  If you are looking for some additional activities to take up time, check out Chicago Speech and More’s blog to get some ideas!

Tips for Producing the “th” Sound by Chicago Speech and More

Tips for Producing the “th” Sounproducing the "th' soundd

Thursday is the perfect day to practice producing the “th” sound with your child.  There are two different “th” sounds in the English language: the voiced “th” (this, though, then) and the voiceless “th” (Thursday, think, thumb). Although both sounds are produced with the same mouth position, the voiced “th” requires use of the vocal cords.

The “th” sound is difficult to produce and many children have trouble with it.  Until he was six, my nephew said “hank-you” (for thank-you) which we thought was the cutest thing until he asked us if we were eating turkey for Hanksgiving- what’s cuter than that?  While some children say the “th” sound right away, mastery isn’t expected until age seven (voiceless “th”) and age eight (voiced “th”).

*If your child still has difficulty with “th” at these ages it is recommended to seek guidance from a trained and licensed speech-language pathologist. *


It doesn’t hurt to practice at home with your little ones. Here are some tips from Chicago Speech and More for helping your child to produce the “th” sound.

Speech Therapy Hierarchy- from sounds to conversation

Sound Level                                                                                                                                    

As with most sounds, it’s best to start at the sound level.  Production of “th” is visual, making it great to teach.  To produce either sound (voiced or voiceless), place the tongue tip between your teeth while blowing air at the same time. Work with your child in front of a mirror. Show them how it looks when you make the “th” sound and have them imitate the action.  To demonstrate airflow, have your child put their hand in front of their mouth when articulating “th” to feel the air coming through. When producing the voiced “th” have your child place their finger(s) on your throat to feel the vibration your vocal cords make.

Syllable Level                                                                                                                          

Once your child has mastered the ability to produce the “th” sound move onto the syllable level.  Try adding a vowel to the end or beginning of the sound (tha, they, thee, the, tho or ath, eth, ith). While most children find it easier to produce syllables when the target sound occurs at the beginning (tha), this is not always the case. Try out both positions to see what works best for your child and work on the one they are most successful with.

Word Level                                                                                                                           

When you child can say syllables move onto the word level.  If it was easier for your child to produce syllables beginning with the target sound, use words beginning with the sound (thumb, thanks, this, that).  If your child had more success when the sound occurred in the final position, begin with words ending in “th” (bath, with, bathe).  Begin with whichever position your child is more successful with and progress throughout all word positions (initial, medial (bathtub), final). I have found it beneficial to continue using a mirror at this stage.

Phrase/Sentence Level                                                                                                      

Once mastery is achieved at the word level, begin to add these words into phrases and then sentences.  Using carrier phrases such as “The ______” (phrase level) or “This is a ___________” or “They have a ______” (sentence level) can provide additional opportunities to use the target sound. Try coming up with different carrier phrases. Don’t be afraid to get a little silly with your children.

Paragraph/Short Story Level                                                                                      

Following accurate production at the sentence level, move onto paragraphs. The easiest way to do this is to create a simple story containing your target sound (“th”) and have your child retell it back to you.

Conversation Level                                                                                              

The last step in our hierarchy is to practice the “th” in conversations.  Although there might be occasional speech sound errors, your child should be producing “th” correctly most of the time.

Speech Therapy Activities for “th” Sound

Let’s face it- kids just want to have fun.Practicing speech sounds is no exception. There are plenty of fun activities to incorporate into your speech therapy.  Here are a few of Chicago Speech and More’s favorites:

  • Picture cards are great and can be used to play memory or go-fish. These games can be used at various levels in our speech therapy hierarchy.  (Word level -child simply labels the card. Phrase level- “the ________”. Sentence Level- “I picked the___________”, “Do you have the ___________”, etc.).
  • If your child is artistic, have them create their own “th” picture cards.
  • Go through a magazine and cut out different pictures of items that have the “th” sound in them. Make a collage with the pictures.
  • You can also play games like “I Spy” and find words containing the target sound “th”.

*Click the link below for pictures of “th” in all word positions. Make 2 copies and cut apart to use in Memory or Go-Fish.

“th” picture cards

The possibilities are endless- just remember to have fun.

Categories : Sam's Blog, Tips

Speech Therapy and Yoga

Chicago Speech and More recommends the ABC Yoga Cards for Kids.


We live in a fast-paced, stress filled world. We could all use a little yoga in our lives. For the past six months I have been starting my mornings with a yoga class and it has changed my life. At first when the alarm went off at 5:30 am I wanted to throw it across the room. These days, I find myself only snoozing once and then rolling up my yoga mat to hit the studio. As someone who stresses out A LOT, I can honestly say that yoga is a must!ABC Yoga Cards for Kids

I started using the Learn with Yoga: ABC Yoga Cards for kids with my students in our speech therapy sessions last year with great success. The ABC yoga cards are colorful and easy to follow. In addition they also provide great language activities. Research has shown that learning is enhanced through movement.

Incorporating just 3-5 minutes of a yoga warm-up started our speech therapy sessions off right. My students were more grounded, engaged and calm. After just a few weeks, students had memorized the “flows” and knew which position came next and how to execute the poses. Their yoga practice improved, as did their language skills.

Why not start your day, speech session, class, or activity with yoga? There is no better way to get your kids ready to learn!

Speech therapy and yoga go hand in hand.


Chicago Speech and More’s Favorite Holiday Activities

Chicago Speech and More recommends making a Ginger Bread House

Chicago Speech and More’s Favorite Fun and Easy Holiday Activities

It might be getting cold outside but there are many fun indoor holiday activities you can do with your children this weekend. Here are some of Chicago Speech and More’s favorite holiday language enriching activities.

Make a fun holiday card
Making a card can provide many opportunities to use various vocabulary words and language concepts. Begin with a piece of construction paper and discuss with your child which way to fold the paper (don’t just do it for them). Practice writing a message with your child on the inside of the card. Depending on the age and ability of your child, help them to create a message. It is usually best to draw lines on the inside of the card to give your child a visual area to write on. If your child isn’t able to write independently but can copy written work, draft the message together, write it on a separate piece of paper and have your child copy it onto the card. If this it too advanced for your child, have them dictate the message to you. Create a fun and decorative cover for the card. Chicago Speech and More recommends the 3-D cotton ball snowman card. For more information visit:

Make a special holiday gift
Rather than going out to the store and buying gifts for your loved ones, Chicago Speech and More recommends creating gifts with your children. Everyone loves a picture frame—why not spruce up the easy and timeless Popsicle Stick Picture Frame.  While you are crafting make sure to use sequential vocabulary like “first, “next”, “then” and “last” and talk through the entire project. Sort the various items into colors, sizes and shapes before putting them onto your frames.
Check out this website for some creative and fun ways to make this gift a real keeper:

Make delicious holiday treats
What is better than eating tasty holiday treats? Making them with your children! Chicago Speech and More recommends making holiday cookiesFollowing a recipe is a great way to encourage language and direction following with your children. You can use sequential vocabulary (see above), positional vocabulary and introduce new baking vocabulary (measurements, utensils). When baking, the possibilities are endless…you can go as simple as making holiday cookies (all you need are some cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles) or check out this coconut snowmen recipe:

Building or designing a Gingerbread House might just be the most fun you and your children will have this winter. You can either purchase a kit at your local grocery store or make a house from scratch.  While slightly more difficult, making the house from scratch will lead to: brainstorming, problem solving and a lot of laughs!  When decorating your gingerbread house discuss patterns, colors, shapes and sizes with your children.  Try the various candy and talk about how they taste and feel in your mouth.  Most importantly– Have Fun!  Here is a recipe for a Children’s Gingerbread House:

These are just a few of Chicago Speech and More’s favorite holiday activities but the fun doesn’t have to stop there! Language opportunities are everywhere so make sure to talk about everything: each step you are taking, why you are doing it, how to do it and encourage your child to do the same. When you are done with your projects recap what you did and ask your child about it—maybe while sipping a cup of hot chocolate☺?

Chicago Speech and More hopes your have a fabulous weekend!

Chicago Speech and More reccomends ArtikPix app

Chicago Speech and More recommends the ArtikPix iPad app for improving your child’s articulation.

With so many apps out there it is hard to know which are worth your time and money! Chicago Speech and More recommends the ArtikPix by Expressive Solutions LLC for helping to improve your child’s articulation skills.

ArtikPix is available on both the iPad and the iPhone and is a great tool for both parents and speech pathologists.  The app provides numerous, exciting and colorful pictures that target speech sounds in all word positions (initial, medial and final).  ArtikPix uses flashcards and matching games to engage children and provide repeated opportunities to produce target sounds—as an added bonus, kids learn new vocabulary words along the way!

Whether using the app for traditional articulation drill therapy or for a game of “memory”, ArtikPix has a built in scoring feature that allows you to keep accurate data of up to four children at a time.   This is especially helpful for school speech-language pathologists. Imagine- a fun activity and an accuracy tracker all in one!

What makes ArtikPix so great that with just one app, you have hundreds of picture cards at your fingertips.  Say good-bye to lugging twenty packs of articulation card cases and hello to the future of speech therapy.
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