As SLPs, we’re always on the hunt for new games to reinforce skills we teach. Unfortunately, games we associated with speech-language treatment in grad school just don’t cut it for the middle/high school population. Fortunately, there are just as many engaging games for this age group to use during sessions.
Here are some of my favorite games and how you can use them to target a variety of speech-language goals for your older students:
This versatile game comes with a deck of various nouns, adjectives and verbs. Words vary in difficulty and each one comes with a definition. Use Bafflegab to target grammar skills (parts of speech), articulation (have students choose words that include their target sounds), vocabulary (learning/using new vocabulary words) and written language (syntax and paragraph writing). I ask students to choose at least five cards from the deck and generate a one-paragraph story using the words.
You’ve Been Sentenced:
This game powerfully targets written language and vocabulary skills. Most cards contain one word, but in various forms—noise, noises, noisy, etc…. Select three to five cards for the student or a members of a group, and let them form sentences using at least one word from each card. Each word is worth a certain number of points, but they get the points only if the sentence is syntactically correct. Students love competing with each other on who creates the best sentence!
I found this game by accident—and what a great accident! Each card offers a series of true and false statements. Students take turns choosing a sentence, reading it aloud and asking the other students to determine if the sentence is true or false. This fast-paced game requires students to use critical thinking skills. Some statements include: “In seven hours it will be tomorrow,” “Cows drink milk,” and “This year ends with an even number.” I always make students explain their answers to make sure they understand why it’s true or false.
Bananagrams plays like a fast version of Scrabble, but you don’t need a board and it’s easy to carry around if you’re a traveling SLP. Students build their own crossword puzzles by forming intersecting words either horizontally and vertically. I make up my own rules to challenge students as much as possible. For example, they can only use words that are more than three letters long. I also ask students to define words if I think they might be unfamiliar to other students. This game builds skills in phonics and vocabulary!
This list offers just some of the games out there for our older students. Please share your favorites in the comments below!
More from The Leader on working with older students:
Gabriella Schecter, MS, CCC-SLP, is a full-time SLP working in a grade 6-12 school. She posts regularly on Instagram (@middleschoolSLP), sharing ideas and activities for this age group. Check out her blog or contact her at MiddleschoolSLP@gmail.com.