Tag Archives : Common Core Standards

Speech-Language Curriculum Assessments

Speech-Language Curriculum Assessments

I am absolutely thrilled about my newest product, Speech-Language Curriculum Assessments that is available in my TPT store!!! It is designed for use by speech-language pathologists who support teaching the language underpinnings of the 3rd grade English/Language Arts Common Core State Standards. Other grade levels will be available in the future.

I provide educationally relevant speech-language therapy frequently and this product is a great way to assess students knowledge of the language underpinnings of the Common Core Standards related to skills that SLPs instruct. This is a must have if you work as a school based SLP. SLPs have the clinical skills needed to provide direct vocabulary instruction that will improve students’ ability to learn the standards. Here are some examples of terms assessed in red below.

This product contains 13 curriculum assessments that are informal standards based evaluation tools in a cloze sentence format with a word bank.  They can be used to collect baseline or pre-assessment data and for post-assessments after the vocabulary words are taught in speech-language therapy sessions.

The assessments provided will evaluate students’ understanding of the vocabulary skills that are needed to master 3rd grade standards. As a bonus, I have also included English/Language Arts vocabulary assessments according to categories such as types of nouns, types of sentences, parts of speech, story vocabulary, types of literature, types of writing, figurative language, and prefixes.

I hope that this product will assist you in providing educationally relevant speech-language therapy services!

This product pairs well with my language interventions Guess What? Curriculum Bundle and English/Language Arts Common Core Vocabulary Bundle.

Thanks for reading my Building Successful Lives blog today. Make sure that you subscribe by entering your email in the box in the right hand column of this page. Stay connected and remember that SLPs are building speech, language, academic, and social skills of kids everyday! Keep up the great work! 🙂 I’m back to work full-time tomorrow. Summer break is officially over.

Tamara Anderson

Spring into Literacy: Teaching Phonological Awareness

Spring into Literacy: Teaching Phonological Awareness

Recently I have been working on phonological awareness skills with a 1st grade speech fluency student who also has difficulty with reading decoding and reading fluency. I provide services for an older elementary school student as well with language impairment that struggles immensely with basic literacy skills. From my observation, this is not an area that all speech-language therapists address. However, literacy is a part of our scope of practice according to ASHA.

These literacy areas are considered appropriate roles and responsibilities for SLPs: 1) preventing written language problems by fostering language acquisition and emergent literacy 2) identifying children at risk for reading and writing problems 3) assessing reading and writing 4) providing intervention and documenting outcomes for reading and writing 5) providing consultation to teachers, parents, students about effective literacy practices

Woah! Did you realize how in depth our responsibilities can extend in the area of literacy?  SLPs can assist with reading & written expression. Say what? I know we have a lot on our plates working with the listening and speaking components of literacy so to think about helping with reading and written expression may be a bit daunting.  After all, the resource special education teachers directly teach that for our IEP kiddos.

Nevertheless, a few years ago, I decided to get additionally training in the area of reading. I quickly observed that many of my students with speech-language impairment had a language based learning disability in the areas of reading and writing. Therefore, I completed a Georgia State University reading endorsement certification program. I learned valuable reading assessment and instruction best practices in this program that I can use when I provide consultation for students in the RTI process. It also helps me know what to do as I directly address phonological awareness with students from time to time.

So, what is phonological awareness? This is the term used to describe essential literacy skills that require a child to manipulate syllables, words, and sounds. These are auditory skills that generally begin at age three and are typically mastered by ages 6-7 if a child does not have a reading disability.

Here is what an SLP can do to teach this skill:
1) create word lists of rhyming and non-rhyming words
*Tell the child 2-3 words. Then ask, “do these words rhyme?”
*Give a child a target word and ask “What rhymes with ____?”

2) create word lists for syllable counting (segmentation) activities
*Tell and show a child a word and ask “How many syllables are in these words?”

3) create word lists with compound words and other multi-syllabic words * Have kids combine syllables to express words. For example, say “What word do you hear when I say hot…dog?

What is phonemic awareness? This is a component of phonological awareness and involves skills such as phoneme blending, phoneme segmenting, phoneme deletion, phoneme substitution.

Here are tips on how to work on these 4 skills:
*Use letters that you can manipulate such as these foam letters from Dollar Tree.

1) blend or combine sounds to say words
c-a-r, w-a-t-ch, b-o-o-k, p-e-n-c-i-l, p-l-a-y

2) verbally segment or separate sounds when given words
mom, dad, crayon, water, bear

3) verbally delete or omit a sound from a word to say a new word
say plate without /p/, say mat without the /m/

4) verbally change a sound to another sound
say /hat/, now take away /h/ and  add /b/  or change /h/ to /b/
say /sun/, now take away /s/ and  add /f/ or change /s/ to /f/

I highly recommend Hearbuilder Phonological Awareness program. It is available as an iPad or iPhone app or as paid subscription for use on the internet.

I hope you learned some new information or refreshed your memory about how to teach phonological awareness skills. These can be used in speech-language therapy sessions or shared while consulting with general education teachers as they deliver RTI interventions in the classroom.

Thanks for reading the blog today!

Tamara Anderson

Reference: Lanza, Janet; Flahive, L. (2012) Guide to Communication Milestones. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems, Inc.

Educationally Relevant Speech-Language Therapy- Supporting the Common Core Standards

Educationally Relevant Speech-Language Therapy- Supporting the Common Core Standards

The job of a speech-language pathologist varies tremendously based on the setting and the population that she or he serves. However, in the school setting it has become increasingly important that the SLP provide speech-language therapy that is educationally relevant. So, what exactly does that mean?


With the integration of the Common Core State Standards in most school districts, SLPs need to align informal assessments and therapy activities with these standards as much as possible. At the same time, they need to always consider what is developmentally appropriate for a child. In my district in metro Atlanta, the grade level curriculum changed in August 2013 when it became a requirement for educators to instruct students according to the Common Core State Standards. Other states were already implementing new curriculum based on these standards while other districts decided not to adopt them. Many of the English/Language Arts Common Core State Standards directly relate to skills that SLPs are accustomed to instructing kids about in therapy.

My current caseload includes students with speech-language impairment and co-occurring specific learning disability, autism, intellectual disabilities, and/or other health impairment (e.g. ADHD). I have a few students who have a speech-language impairment only eligibility that I provide therapy to improve their articulation or speech fluency skills.

From my experience, I have found it easiest to integrate educationally relevant therapy to students in grades 3-5 with language disorders and co-occurring learning disability. There are many standards that relate to having students identify the multiple meanings of words, use context clues to identify the meanings of unknown words, identify word relationships, name synonyms, name antonyms, identify  Greek & Latin prefixes/suffixes, explain figurative language expressions, and answer comprehension questions from non-fiction text.

In addition, the language standards require that students demonstrate an understanding of the parts of speech. In doing so, they need to be able to speak and write using pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs, and interjections. Using correct subject/verb agreement is another important element of mastering the language standards.

Now that you have examples of skills to address. Where do you start? I recommend using formal and informal assessments to determine starting points in therapy. SLPs can analyze results from tests such as the OWLS II, CELF 5, CASL or LPT 3 and note weak areas that relate to grade level Common Core State Standards.

There are also informal curriculum based language measures that you can use to evaluate students’ strengths and weaknesses such as Nicole Allison’s Curriculum-Based Language Assessments.

I created an English/Language Arts Vocabulary Progress Monitoring tool to informally evaluate expressive curriculum vocabulary skills of children. Often times, kids learn to comprehend definitions and identify terms when given choices, but they still struggle orally explaining the meanings. This tool assesses 105 words that are a language foundation for many of the E/LA Common Core State Standards.

For students who are working on receptive vocabulary skills, I created Speech-Language Therapy Curriculum Assessments aligned with the English/Language Arts Common Core State Standards to evaluate these skills. This informal tool will be available in my TPT store in the future. I have used these assessment probes frequently in my language therapy room and seen progress with my students. Working on vocabulary in language therapy is essential for students’ comprehension of skills and mastery of the curriculum.


My Vocabulary Progress Monitoring Tool also provides great informal data about various semantic processing skills in a systematic hierarchy.
My Irregular Plural Nouns & Irregular Past Tense Verbs Baseline & Progress Check Data Forms may be used to determine students’ expressive knowledge of these grammar targets.
                                           Irregular Plural Nouns & Irregular Past Tense Verbs Data Forms

After gathering baseline data from an informal speech-language assessment, the SLP can target objectives related to students’ areas of need AND that also relate to curriculum Common Core State Standards.

For example, for students that need direct SLP intervention with multiple meaning words you may use:


For students that need direct SLP intervention with context clues you may use:

For students that need direct SLP intervention with synonyms & antonyms you may use:



Many students with language disorders also need intervention with oral language in the area of morphology and syntax. You can use my freebie Parts of Speech Graphic Organizer or Back to School Irregular Plural Nouns & Past Tense Verbs. 

Two of my favorite bundles to use to address the E/LA Common Core Standards are :
English/Language Arts Common Core Standards Vocabulary Bundle  ELA Comprehensive Categorization Bundle

The first bundle provides a great mixed review of a variety of E/LA standards while the second bundle provides great intervention in the area of categorization and word relationships.

Make sure you subscribe to my blog to read additional articles related to educationally relevant speech-language therapy and Common Core State Standards aligned resources. Stay tuned for a Speech-Language Therapy Common Core Standards Guide where you can get more detailed informational about specific relevant standards for SLPS, informal assessments and products to use in therapy that will help you provide curriculum relevant intervention.

Thanks for reading the blog today!

Tamara Anderson

Driven by Innovation

Driven by Innovation

On Sunday, I went to one of my favorite places in Atlanta, The High Museum. In fact, I love it so much I have an annual membership that I purchased for a steal back in September! The museum’s latest major exhibition is Dream Cars that features unique and imaginative cars that were designed in the 1930s through the present by Ferrari, Buggatti, General Motors, and Porsche. These automakers designed cars that changed the industry by challenging what was possible both technologically and stylistically. 

Here are a few photos from my visit. 

This made me think about the field of speech-language pathology and education. What are these industries doing to challenge the notion of what is possible for students’ communication and academic successes? What are speech-language pathologists and educators doing to modify how they assess students and implement therapy sessions and instruction? In recent years, I think SLPs and educators have done and continue to do a TREMENDOUS amount of preparation to select evidence based materials, evaluate what children already know, teach, and evaluate again to see what children learned. 

Common Core Standards and differentiated instruction are terms that I hear frequently while working as a school based speech-language pathologist. There are many people on both the pros and cons side of the Common Core Standards discussion and I’ll spare you the debate here. However, I like the accountability piece that the common core standards creates for school districts that use these standards to guide instruction. 

In the same manner, I believe that differentiated instruction, in which a teacher modifies how they teach, what they teach, and how they assess children is an essential shift in the style from traditional teaching. I also think that it should be best practice for all educators to implement curriculum design based on Grant Wiggins’ notion of creating a solid assessment before instructing students so that you know clearly what and how you expect them to demonstrate mastery of specific learning standards. 

As far as technology goes, there has been a significant increase in the amount of technology that SLPs and educators use to select lessons that drive children’s learning while implementing new techniques that assist in delivering results. The use of interactive SMART boards, IPads, Mimio Boards, and computer based therapeutic/educational program are engaging for children and contribute to learning when implemented effectively.  Additionally, teachers and SLPs are able to collaborate with other professionals not only at their school, but also nationwide and globally through the use of online blogs, discussion boards, Twitter, Pinterest, and other forms of social media. Children and adolescents in today’s society are very technologically savvy and I have observed that they love creative and innovative lessons rather than the same old therapy and education styles from even 5 to 10 years ago. 

What are ways that you implement creativity and innovation in your speech language therapy sessions or classroom? I’d love to hear! 

Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Education Specialist

Categorization Bundle Activity # 5: Speech-Language and Language Arts Category Book

Categorization Bundle Activity # 5: Speech-Language and Language Arts Category Book

Here is a preview of the last activity in my English/Language Arts Comprehensive Categorization packet. This resource is perfect for use by speech-language pathologists or teachers to instruct students on English/Language Arts Common Core Standards vocabulary words.  The category book is designed for use with students in grades 3-5. However, this is also a good review for 6th grade students in middle school.

I suggest laminating a copy of the book to use during whole group  instruction and attaching velcro to affix words in the correct categories. The SLP or teacher should first complete a mini lesson by explaining the meanings of the category names and providing examples. Then the teacher should show students how to classify the terms into the different categories in the book. After the students understand the instructions, the SLP or teacher may distribute the individual book seen below for them to complete individually or with assistance. Depending on the students’ language processing skills, this activity may need to be addressed over more than one speech language therapy session.

This book includes 11 vocabulary categories such as parts of speech, types of literature, parts of sentences, types of sentences, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meaning words, story vocabulary, figurative language,  text features, and types of writing. Students need to cut out the 14 groups of vocabulary words provided and sort them in the correct groups. Three groups will need to be sorted into a previously used category. Next the SLP or teacher should check students work for accuracy and then have them glue the words in their book.
So you may think, what is the significance of teaching this skill? Students need to learn ways to effectively organize and input academic content into their brains so they can easily retrieve the information. Direct instruction in categorization will enable students with and without language disorders as well as language based learning disabilities to improve their receptive vocabulary knowledge. Additionally, this resource may contribute to improving their short term, working memory, and long term memory skills.

You may purchase this resource from my TPT store in the comprehensive bundle by clicking here:

or individually:

Thanks for visiting the blog today.

Tamara Anderson, E.d.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Categorization Bundle Activity # 4- English/Language Arts Vocabulary Memory Activity

Categorization Bundle Activity # 4- English/Language Arts Vocabulary Memory Activity

Hey there. I hope everyone had a great weekend and remembered to spring forward due to the time change. As I think about the beginning of another work week tomorrow, I can’t help but reflect on my lovely students with speech language disorders. Many of them also have co-occurring specific learning disability in the area of language. Additionally, several of them struggle with remembering academic content either because they did not understand it when it was taught or their brain struggles to effectively encode the information.  

I created a English/Language Arts Vocabulary Memory Activity that will give students practice with increasing their short term, working memory, long term memory, as well as their receptive academic vocabulary knowledge of common core standards related terms. Vocabulary and memory skills are essential for listening and reading comprehension as well as mastery of academic content. This is a great activity for use during speech-language therapy, Language Arts centers, or as a differentiated instruction activity. Speech-language pathologists or teachers may make multiple sets as needed for students to use during small group or independent practice. Here is a preview:

To play the memory game, students will take turns identifying matches of the English/Language Arts vocabulary according to the category and associated vocabulary listed. If playing in a group, the student gets an extra turn if he or she selects a matching pair. There are 21 matches and the player with the most matches is the winner of the game. I recommend dividing the word cards into 2 sets initially so that the students are striving to identify 10 or 11 matches.

This activity is available for purchase in my TPT store as part of my ELA Comprehensive Categorization Bundle or individually. Check out the links below to view items:



I appreciate your support. Have a great week!

Tamara Anderson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Categorization Bundle Activity # 3- English/Language Arts Vocabulary Categorization Cards

Categorization Bundle Activity # 3- English/Language Arts Vocabulary Categorization Cards

The third activity in my English/Language Arts Vocabulary Categorization bundle are task cards. There are two levels of tasks cards that cover Tier I (everyday vocabulary words) and Tier III (E/LA words). Students have to complete sentences with the correct Tier I or Tier III term.  The first level targets questions for students in grades K-2 and the second level targets questions for students primarily in grades 3-5. However, I also suggest using Tier I words with upper grades students as a warm up activity prior to them learning to name vocabulary words in the Tier III English/Language Arts categories. 

Over the years, I have observed first hand that students with language disorders have difficulties processing verbal/written information, organizing information, remembering content, and expressing information. When speech-language pathologists or teachers provide them direct instruction in the area of categorization, it addresses all these skills in one activity. 

These categorization task cards are an ideal way to address vocabulary as well as the skills mentioned above. Here is a preview of the two levels of tasks cards provided. 

This speech language therapy and educational resource is available for purchase in my TPT store. Just click on the link here: 

Have a great week! 

Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Categorization Bundle Activities # 1 and # 2

Categorization Bundle Activities # 1 and # 2

Here is a preview of activity # 1 and activity # 2 in the English/Language Arts Categorization Bundle. It includes vocabulary sorting activities for students in grades 1-2 and grades 3-5.



There are 8 categories of terms for students to practice in grades 1-2. I typically give them 4 categories first: compound words, homophones, punctuation marks, and prepositions. I put the blank matching sheets on the table. Then, I instruct students to sort the terms into the corresponding groups and take baseline or pre-assessment data of their accuracy. I later teach a mini-lesson about those 4 categories of words and then give the students time to practice classifying them.

Here is an example of the words that I cut apart for the students to sort and place on the blank sheet above.



Here are some examples of the word sort activity for grades 3-5. There are 12 categories of vocabulary for this word sort.



Thanks for visiting my blog today. If you have any further questions about this product, email me at [email protected]

Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

English/Language Arts Comprehensive Categorization Bundle

Hey everyone. I am excited to tell you about my first English/Language Arts Comprehensive Categorization Bundle for students in elementary school. It includes 5 activities that are designed for use with students in grades 1-5 and also as a review for students in 6th grade.   I currently use all the activities successfully in my speech language therapy lessons with my students. The activities focus on the important skill of categorization and common core standards language arts vocabulary. 

Students with and without language based learning disabilities or specific language impairment often struggle with receptive and expressive vocabulary skills. They have difficulty identifying/naming academic terms when given the meanings as well as verbally defining the words. There are so many vocabulary words that relate to the various academic content areas and students need a way to practice identifying these terms. In my speech-language therapy sessions, I primarily provide direct instruction in the area of English/Language Arts. Therefore, I created this bundle of my 4 frequently used categorization activities that also relate to the common core standards. 

Why link teaching categorization with English/LA common core standards vocabulary? Students need a way to effectively input and organize curriculum content in their brains so that they can recall it for further use. Teaching and practicing the skill of sorting terms into the correct categories can assist students with successfully inputting information into their short term and eventually long term memory. Research shows that students need direct vocabulary instruction and that the use of categorization is  an effective strategy to assist them in organizing academic content, improving memory and word retrieval, as well as promoting gains in student mastery of the curriculum. Categorization is a great skill that students can use to improve their vocabulary knowledge in math, science, and social studies as well. 

In this packet you will receive: 
1) Quick Reference for Common Core Standards (pages 3-4)
2) Sorting activity for grades 1-2 (pages 5-21)
3) Sorting activity for grades 3-5 (pages 22-46)
*Students sort grade level vocabulary into the correct group with enclosed classification sheets. 
4) E/LA Vocabulary Categorization Cards (pages 47-58)
*Students complete sentences on task cards by expressing the category name. A word bank is provided for 2 levels of task cards (Tier I and Tier II terms)
5) Categorization memory activity grades 3-5 (pages 59-64)
*Students play a matching game to match vocabulary by looking closely at vocabulary category and associated words on each card. Each category is color coded to enhance students’ memory. 
6) Category book grades 3-5 (pages 65-84)
*Students sort E/LA words into categories from provided groups of words. They glue the words in the book after their accuracy is checked by the SLP or teacher. Great activity after whole group instruction. 

The vocabulary categories for grades 1-2 include compound words, homophones, punctuation marks, prepositions, nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives. The vocabulary category categories for grades 3-5 include groups such as synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, types of nouns, parts of speech, types of sentences, parts of a sentence, types of literature, story elements, types of writing, text features, and figurative language. 

Check back later this week, for a visual preview of these E/LA common core categorization activities. This bundle is available in my TPT store:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ELA-Comprehensive-Categorization-Bundle-1111028


Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Wrapping Up October!! Fall SLP/Language Arts Lessons

Whoa! I have been extremely BUSY in the month of October so much so that this is my first post! Yikes! Not to worry because that will change after I finish my graduate degree program for my Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Curriculum and Instruction. I have 3 more weeks of assignments and then graduation on December 14th! I cannot wait!!

In my speech language therapy sessions, several of my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students have been working on multiple meaning words and attributes activities. Initially, they need visual and verbal cues to help them correctly answer the questions that I ask. It is easiest for them to demonstrate that they understand multiple meaning vocabulary when I ask them multiple choice questions and more difficult when I ask them to use the words in  two different sentences to convey the correct meanings. 

I created 2 additional fall themed products to improve my students vocabulary knowledge and expression. The first targets multiple meanings words. I decided to create three different activities with homographs vocabulary because my speech-language students tend to have the most difficulty with those terms. 

The 3 activities in this learning packet are perfect for differentiated instruction during speech-language therapy groups or language arts lessons. There is a multiple choice activity with 30 homograph questions that require students to identify the correct meaning of the underlined word.This is best used with the included fall themed board game. 

Students may also play a matching game to correctly identify 60 target multiple meaning words with the corresponding definitions. The students should be given “matching mats” that has the written meanings. Then, they take turns selecting words from the table and deciding if the word matches the definition on their mat. The student who finds all the matches for his or her mat wins the game.  

The third activity included are 30 homograph vocabulary cards. First, the SLP or teacher should guide students with verbally stating 2 sentences using the given words to convey the 2 meanings. After that, students may play a memory game to solidify their 
receptive/expressive vocabulary knowledge. 

Students with language disorders, language based learning disabilities, and general education students benefit greatly from direct instruction of multiple meanings vocabulary, especially homographs. Because these words have the same spelling (e.g. light, state, pass), students often have difficulty recalling the correct meaning in the appropriate language context. 

This resource is available in my TPT online store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-Themed-Multiple-Meanings-Vocabulary-Homographs-919412

The other resource is great for students with oral language difficulties because it gives them an opportunity to orally define fall themed vocabulary and curriculum vocabulary. Students are provided an attributes cue card to help them orally define the vocabulary. The SLP or teacher can also read the included definitions and have students receptively identify the terms as well.  This is available in my TPT online store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-Themed-Attributes-Academic-VocabularyIdentification-Oral-Definitions-938440

Thanks for stopping by! ~Tamara