Do you know what I used to pride myself on? Keeping my students engaged while practicing a whole lot of their tricky speech sounds. Because that meant progress.
And then teletherapy happened and some of my favourite tricks went out the window. I’ll admit it. I lost my stride at the start and found it challenging to get high speech practice trials in my teletherapy session. Luckily I’ve come across one amazing website (https://toytheater.com/) for you to familiarise yourself with that has been both fun and motivating for my kids!
Swap physical toys for digital ones
Using an abacus to count speech trials is one of my favourite, simple ways to get a lot of speech practice in. So, swap the real thing for this digital abacus. All you have to do is share your screen so that your students can see the abacus (and if you’re feeling brave, let them have mouse control so that THEY can drag each bead across).
GET MORE TRIALS: Set colour challenges such as “let’s see if we can do the yellow row” and do chunks of ten speech practices at a time.
Another motivator that I LOVE is putting pom-poms in a jar. It’s amazing how simple this works, but kids get a real kick out of seeing a jar fill up. It’s great visual feedback. I found this easy marble jar that does the same job. And it’s quietly mesmerizing to drop and drag the marbles and watch them bounce in the jar as the child practices their target sounds.
TOP TIP: if you are working on carrying over speech sounds to conversation, put a marble in the jar for every correct production while you’re chatting through Zoom. This way, you can keep the conversation going, but your child has visual feedback that they said a correct production.
I know that 100 Speech Trials or 50 Speech Trials reigned in the therapy room (back in the day, lol). It’s a tried and tested way to know that your student got their practice in. Opening the resource in your teletherapy platform and annotating (drawing on) the PDF is a really simple way to use these sheets. Combine it with the digital dice idea (see below) and you can be hitting those 100 trials in NO TIME. Get two different sets of FREE 100 TRIALS (paper version) when you sign up for my newsletter and another set of five FREE sheets at my TpT store.
If you’re looking for something a little more digital and interactive, then try this Boom Cards version. They’re filled with fun pictures, and there is something satisfying about dragging a star to cover up a picture.
If blocks or LEGO was your go-to therapy activity, you still can ask parents to supply the blocks for the child to build during your session. You might practice 10 words, then the child receives three blocks. Or, the parents can put blocks to the side for every correct sound, and when they are finished they can build you a little something.
Alternatively, I’ve found this fun Graph Square that if you use your imagination, allows you to create pictures made out of squares. Lots of fun, and lots of trials!
SLPs have been making their students roll dice for years. And the funny thing is that kids love when they roll a high number (which hehe, jokes on them, they have to say their speech targets more times). I’ve found an online dice set that you can use which is the perfect addition to a game board or point-scoring system. Just hold up your speech cards, or have your word list on hand, then roll that dice!
GET MORE TRIALS: The online version allows you to choose multiple dice to roll, and dice that have more than 6 sides (so you might just a roll a 12!).
Get more ideas
Read my blog post, Favorite Ways to Get 100 Trials in Speech for even more ideas that you might be able to adapt for teletherapy sessions.
Visit my store for another free set of 100 charts for speech!
Thank you thank you thank you. I love the digital counting with the marbles, dice, spinners, virtual legos. I am just four weeks into teletherapy with the “stay at home” order and this will help some of my boys with making online therapy more fun.
Have fun Colleen! I found that keeping it simple really was much easier 🙂
Agreed. This is so helpful. Can’t thank you enough!
What teletherapy platform are you using right now?
I’m using Zoom