Worksheets. Ugh! As speech-language pathologists, we usually struggle with two conflicting viewpoints:
“I really dislike worksheets, I just want to make my sessions fun.”
“I need to ensure carryover and mimic the types of lessons my colleagues do in their classrooms.”
I fall between the two. Yes, I use a lot of task cards and speech-language games to keep sessions fun and motivating. However, I also feel worksheets generate great data to see if students are carrying over the strategies and skills they learn in the treatment room to regular classrooms.
How do I gather this data? I find worksheets from resources designed around the skills I teach. Below are some of my favorite websites to use for free resources:
- Read Works – a nonprofit offering research-based and Common Core reading comprehension resources.
- NewsELA – a mobile app generating current news stories and quizzes at five different reading comprehension levels.
- K12Reader – reading and writing worksheets organized by targeted skill.
Once my students demonstrate improvement or even mastery of a skill, I give them worksheets to show them how they can use those skills during classroom comprehension tasks. Can they identify higher-level versus lower-level questions, for example? Can they identify which skill they need to respond to questions? I also ask students to highlight key words in the questions to help them determine what type of information they need to find the answer.
What else do I do? After we read a comprehension passage, I take statements from the passage that present a main idea or a detail. Each student gets an index card with “main idea” and “detail” on each side. After I read each statement, they hold up the correct side of their card. This lets me gather data and reduces the need to call out students, and the students can see peer responses to help them determine if their answer is correct.
You can also use worksheets to show students how to think out loud. I find many of my students don’t know how to talk while they read and need to think about what they say. However, teachers expect them to ask or answer questions before, during and after reading. To teach them these skills, I use speech bubbles and printed reading passages. First, I laminate colorful speech bubbles, so I can re-use them with a dry-erase marker. I then demonstrate for students what I say or think while I read. I did this with the text below from Read Works.
How else do I make worksheets fun? I turn answering questions into a game! Put students into pairs and let them work with a peer. They can work together to figure out if and why an answer is correct or incorrect and hold academic discussions. After students respond to a question I let them roll a dice for points. I used a text from NewsELA and a dry erase marker to keep score right on my treatment table!
Whatever text I use, I always try to make the activity interactive, motivating and engaging. Whether I turn it into a game or use manipulatives to bring text to life, worksheets can generate fun and useful activities in a speech-language treatment session.
Hallie Sherman, MS, CCC-SLP (aka “Miss Speechie”), is a works in a public elementary school in New York State. She blogs at Speech Time Fun and enjoys creating and sharing materials, resources and ideas for and with other SLPs. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and at firstname.lastname@example.org.