It’s all well and good to work on a list of single words, but, really, what’s the point if you can’t get that good production to show up in regular conversation? And we all know that it seldom “magically” transfers from single words in therapy to general usage.
I find this to be particularly true of little ones. An older child develops more awareness of when the sound is coming up in a sentence, aided by literacy skills, and can participate more actively in carry-over. With younger clients, I try to find typical phrases that I know will get lots of practice or exciting play which allows a natural context in which we can practice. And since it’s exciting, it makes the productions a little more difficult than they would be otherwise, great for deep learning of the target.
“L” is one of those sounds that come up fairly often and when we’re ready for medial “l,” I like to pull out some emergency play. I have a Lego play mat and an assortment of Hotwheel rescue vehicles. It allows for lots and lots of medial “l” words!
First, I set up the crime, “Oh, no! A villain has robbed the bank and stolen eleven million dollars! Help! Sound the alarm! Call the police on the telephone!”
Trust me, that’s about all it takes to get most kids hooked!
Now we can play. We follow the villains down the alley. We start the propeller on the helicopter and turn on a searchlight. Sometimes the pilot crashes in a huge explosion and we have to call in an ambulance. (Honestly, once the first explosion takes place, there tend to be a bunch of others and the ambulance is pretty busy.)
We drive the police car really fast to catch the villain’s car (FYI, my villain cars all have flames on the side and the yellow one is the very fastest). Once captured, we drag them to jail and tell them, “You belong in jail! You are not allowed out!” What a relief!
Sometimes the dollars come streaming out of the car and we have to collect them. (On my play mat, dollar bills are floating from one of the bad guy’s briefcase. A lot of kids find that intriguing, so we use it.)
Once I start using this vocabulary, my kiddos are very quick to follow suit so there are lots of opportunities for practice, modeling and correction as needed.
Do you have any open play activities that you use for “l” in any position? Please share!
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