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January 31, 2013

Take Out Topics for Articulation Carryover

One of the hardest things I face as a speech-language pathologist is coming up with effective ways to get my students to generalize their articulation skills to their spontaneous speech.  Anyone else find this difficult???  It seem that they master their sounds in structured treatment activities and even during games, but yet they struggle to make that final leap to using them all the time.  Frustrating!  Here's one thing I'm trying:

Take Out Topics for Articulation Carryover is designed to help students generalize newly mastered speech sounds to their spontaneous speech by using structured conversation topics.

Students bring home a takeout box filled with cards that help facilitate use of their target sound in conversation, along with a Helpful Hints page for parents that explains how to use them.  The cards look like this:

***As of July 2016, this product has been re-designed. Same content, new look! Read on...

Each card either asks a question or instructs the student to tell about certain objects.  Target words are highlighted in blue.  The student takes out one card at a time from the box and reads the card, being careful to use the target sound correctly.  The student then answers the question, again concentrating on saying the target words correctly.

The cards are meant to be a starting point for a conversation around a topic.  Encourage the student to add more to the conversation by asking questions about the topic or sharing the student's opinion about or experience with the topic.

The parent or SLP using this activity should try to have the student use the target words as many times as possible in their responses for each card.  Many of the cards instruct the reader to start or end with a particular phrase, but some do not.  For the ones that do not, try to suggest phrases or sentences to use to help facilitate more opportunities for target use. For example, the card in the photo above instructs the student to tell three things about a golfer and a skater.  You could instruct the student to use separate sentences for each detail and to begin each sentence with, "A golfer/ice skater..."

I send home 10 cards at a time rather than filling the box with 30 cards all at once.  I also practice some of the cards with the child during our treatment sessions so he or she will be familiar with the topic and (hopefully) be more successful when this topic is drawn from the box at home.

This set targets vocalic /r/ in the final position of words and is available at my TPT site.  It includes 30 conversation starter cards, instructions for use, labels for the box and a Helpful Hints page for parents or professionals.  Chinese takeout boxes are readily available at craft stores such as Michaels and usually cost around a buck apiece.  You could use any small box or envelope if you don't have a takeout box...it just won't be as fun.

Guess what?  You gave me feedback, and I listened!  Due to popular request, I made a set of cards for the /ch/ sound that are ready to go!  This set contains 40 cards:  20 initial /ch/, 10 medial and 10 final.  You can find it here.  I'm working on other card sets, too, so check back again soon.

What do you think of this idea?  I'm planning to make more for other sounds and word positions, but I'd like to know what you would use.  Please leave a comment and I'll see what I can come up with.

Have fun!



  1. Pam, great carryover activity! I actually have a couple of those takeout boxes from Michaels... (I decorate them with stickers and they hold my seasonal artic cards). :) I have added this to my wishlist... and I would add more for these sounds as well: s, z, sh, ch. Thanks!

  2. I love this idea! I actually was thinking about this today as one of my /s/ kids made a perfect /s/ in her target word but any other /s/ in the sentence was her usual distortion...so frustrating! This and any others you put up will definitely go on my wishlist...s, s blends, l, sh and ch are definitely ones I would be able to use. Thanks!

  3. Love this idea. I struggle to get my older students to return "homework". A take out box like this may draw more attention to get them to respond to it more readily.

  4. What a fabulous idea! I'm definitely going to download it and try it out. The sounds I work on most are s, z, ch, sh, j, k, g, l and s-blends!

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