Speech & Language Strategies


  • Word Finding: the ability to come up with specific words when needed.
    When you can't think of a word but you know it is on the tip of your tongue:
    • think of the first sound of the word
    • describe it
    • ask the teacher to give you more time or to come back to you
    Learn about more great word finding strategies at the web site for the Ontario Association for Families of Children with Communication Disorder

  • "Turtle Talk": use of a slow and easy speaking rate to facilitate fluent speech




  • Visual Imagery: making pictures in your head to facilitate recall, comprehension and attention
  • Linking new information to what we already know: associating similar information to facilitate comprehension, recall and retrieval.



  • Star Letters: these are the five vowels. They are "stars" of a word because every word (and syllable) has to have one.
    Activities to help you remember the five "star letters" (vowels):
    • repeat "every word has to have a star letter"
    • Ask your parents to buy glow-in-the-dark stars. Write each of the five star letters on them.
      • Place the stars under a light for a few minutes to get them charged up. Then turn the lights out and ask someone to say a three letter word or one of your spelling words. Hold up the star letter you hear.
      • Place the stars on your wall or ceiling. Before you fall asleep, try to think of a word with each of the star letters.
      • Make two sets of star letters. Turn them over and play memory game with them. When its your turn, think of a word that has each of the star letters you turned over.
    • Write a note to someone. After you finish, go back and touch the star letter in each word. If you find a word without a star letter, stretch the word out and hear the missing star letter.
  • "Tap and Sweep": a kinesthetic strategy in which you touch each letter of a word as you say the sound and then blend the sounds together to read a word.
  • Spelling Imagery: making a picture of a word in your head to facilitate recall of familiar spelling patterns and sight words
    Write your spelling words on index cards or 3-by-5 pieces of paper (you can also write down your "red" (sight) words) and do the following steps for each word:
    1. Look at the word for three seconds (you can have someone hold the card up for you)
    2. Make a picture in your head as you look at the word
    3. Cover the word up
    4. Look at the word in your head. Spell it.
    5. Spell it backwards.
  • Vowel Teams: two vowels together which make a long vowel sound
  • "H Brothers": two consonants together that make a new sound (th, sh, ch, wh)
  • "Magic E": the "e" at the end of a word is silent but makes a vowel say its name
  • Knowing where to find the answers in text

"Star Letters", "Tap and Sweep", "Vowel Teams", "H Brothers" and "Magic e" are all concepts taught in the Project Read Phonology program developed by Victoria Greene and Mary Lee Enfield and owned by Language Circle Enterprises, Inc. These concepts reinforce sound-symbol relationships through a simultaneous use of visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile channels. This program has been integrated into our elementary reading curriculum.



  • Graphic Organizers: visual means of organizing information prior to writing. Often used during group discussions.
  • Picture-Making: creating pictures using a variety of mediums to facilitate organization and details
  • Verbal Rehearsal: strengthening your mental image of your topic/story by "telling it" to yourself or someone else
  • K-W-L: Prior to writing, brainstorm what you already know about your topic and what you want to learn. After researching, you record what you did learn
  • Brainstorming: prior to writing, you tell or write down everything you know about a topic to activate prior knowledge and prepare you to learn new information

Before you begin to research your topic, make a list of everything you know already. Check out an example of a brainstorming web at The Graphic Organizer Home Page.