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Thursday, May 4, 2017

7 Free Activities that Sharpen and Strengthen Language Skills

Integrating fun activities that help students to improve their language processing skills can be a great way to ignite a love for learning and strengthen cognition. In fact, strong language processing skills are vital for interpreting and interacting with the environment.
What is Language Processing?
Language processing is how people use sensory stimuli to process and understand incoming information as well as how they use words to verbally express ideas and feelings. Therefore, it is how the brain understands (receptive language) and creates language (expressive language).

What are Some Signs of Language Processing Difficulties?
  • Problems following oral directions. 
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas in discourse.
  • Challenges with reading comprehension.
  • Problems expressing thoughts and ideas in writing.
  • Difficulties understanding jokes and sarcasm.
  • Challenges accessing the right words when expressing thoughts.

7 Fun, Free Activities that Sharpen and Strengthen Language Skills
  1. Build Inferential Thinking Skills: Look at advertisements in magazines, on TV and on Billboards. See what product each ad is promoting and see if you can uncover any inferences or hidden messages.
  2. Develop Verbal Reasoning Skills: Play with anagrams - Write down a word that has at least 6 letters. In 5 minutes, see how many new words you can create by scrambling the letters.
  3. Promote an Understanding of Main Ideas and Details: Play catch with a football, baseball or beach ball. When you first toss the ball, call out a main idea such as days of the week. You can also write the main ideas on the ball. When your student/child catches the ball, he or she says one of the days of the week. When they toss it back to you, you say another day of the week. Players can only say each detail once. If a detail is repeated, the player can't think of another detail, or there are no more detail options, that player loses the round. Keep score and play to 10. Other main ideas could be food, transportation, shapes, presidents and so on. 
  4. Teaching Personal Visualizations when Reading: Read a short, descriptive passage aloud to your child/student. Before you read it, explain that their job is to visualize or create a mental image of what you read to them in their mind. Once you have finished the passage, discuss the imagery or give them a blank piece of paper so they can draw an image of what they saw in their mind’s eye.
  5. Practice Understanding Jokes: Go to online sites like http://jokes.cc.com/ and read the jokes aloud. Discuss the meaning and why they are funny.
  6. Develop Listening Skills: Give your child/student(s) a series of funny directives to follow such as “stand on one leg, spin in a circle, and wiggle your nose.” See if they can act out the series of directives. Start with two activities and add more as they experience success. 
  7. Building Writing Skills: Find a picture on the Internet or in a magazine. Practice creating captions or stories that go with the images. 
If you would prefer to purchase some workbooks that focus on language processing skills, Dr. Warren has a few products that you might like. Click on the following titles to learn more.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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