Online Lesson Plans
PA Academic Standard 1.6 Speaking and Listening
Development of normal communication skills can be divided into four basic areas:
I. Sounds of Language (Phonology)
II. Structure of Language (Morphology and Syntax)
III. Meaning of Language (Semantics)
IV. Thinking with Language (Cognitive)
Each of these language areas follows a continuum of predictable sequences in normal language acquisition. Children with delays or impairments in these areas do not develop adequate language skills. Without foundational communication skills in place, academic learning becomes a struggle. The speech /language clinician works to remediate those areas of language development that are delayed or impaired.
In areas of phonology, children with difficulties often do not develop accurate speech sound production. Reasons for these problems are varied but the result is poor intelligibility of connected speech and frequently, poor understanding of sound sequences in words. When phonological problems arise, remediation begins with increasing the student’s ability to discriminate sounds and progresses to accurate production in syllables, words, sentences, structured conversation and general conversation. The speech/language clinician also provides training in phonemic and phonological awareness (sounds and sound sequences) as a first and foundational skill for successful and proficient reading acquisition. Although this is done more often at the primary level, for struggling readers at all grade levels, this can be beneficial.
Students with articulation errors frequently demonstrate confusion about language structure. Students learn ‘bound morphemes’ for plurals (hats, bugs, houses); possessives; present and past tense endings; comparatives (big, bigger, biggest); and irregular forms, among others. Similarly, language impaired students frequently need direct instruction to assimilate accurate word order in their oral expression. Goals are to teach correct word order in simple and complex sentences, negatives, passive forms, ‘wh’ questions and interrogative reversals.
In meaning or semantic areas of language, students with language difficulties frequently struggle to develop the normal sequence of semantic language. Goals with these students are to facilitate skills of: labeling; understanding functions; associations; categorization; similarities and differences; multiple meanings; and attributes. Tasks are developed specific to each student’s level of need.
Higher-level areas of language development involve thinking with language. In these cognitive areas of language, impaired students need specific tasks and strategies to: develop abilities to think comparatively; draw analogies; make inferences; interpret ambiguous language; grasp meaning from subtle language cues such as prosody, voice, and inflection; and to use language pragmatically. Most students develop adequate social language skills as part of natural maturation through imitation and trial and error. However, some students need direct instruction in order to acquire effective social language skills.