Hello and welcome back to school teachers and SLPs! It’s the start of the year and that equals assessment time for many of our students. That makes this new Baselines and Beyond Linky Party with our friends from The Frenzied SLPs quite timely! You are welcome to visit the Frenzied SLPs at their own personal speech therapy blogs (see below) and over at Facebook.
Shanda and I treat many students whom struggle with language disorders. Did you know that increasing their vocabulary will help improve their language skills in many ways? For instance, if their ability to know and understand words/vocabulary improves, studies (and personal experience) has shown us that their ability to understand words and sentences, answer questions, word find and understand language will increase. That is why we have always found that working on vocabulary development is important and why we assess vocabulary levels and provide language therapy sessions targeting vocabulary development for our students.
How do you assess vocabulary levels? Our favorite norm-referenced test to give the last few years has been the MAVA – Montgomery Assessment of Vocabulary Acquisition (TM). You can find it over at Super Duper (R) Publications. Here is a link if you would like to read more about the MAVA (TM). It is an easy vocabulary test to administor that gives us a good baseline analysis of how our students understand and express vocabulary. If their vocabulary levels are scored below age equivalent levels of other students their age, we pursue language therapy with them.
What type of tasks do we do in language therapy that helps to improve vocabulary skills you may be thinking? Our strategy is to inundate the students with as many words as possible by showing pictures and objects to the students and discussing other words related to the one shown. For example, we will ask a student to provide a word that means the same thing as the one presented (give a synonym of the word) or to think of the opposite meaning word of the one shown (e.g., “Here’s a picture of “little” can you think of a word that means the opposite of little?) Hopefully, they can provide the word, “big” or “large” and if not, we will show them a picture illustrating the word “big” or “large”and we will discuss the differences between the two words.
Other ways that we help to increase vocabulary is by doing worksheets and games that get the students thinking about how words can have more than one meaning. For example, we will ask, “Can you think of two ways to use the word “rock?” Hopefully they can learn to explain that the word “rock” can be used to describe a stone, the action that a chair can do, and/or tell us that it is a type of music.
We work on vocabulary advancement so much, that we decided to make our own baseline measuring tool to check to see which areas of treatment would be good ones for them to receive in therapy. We wanted to know if we should start with working on antonyms, homophones, categorization (divergent and convergent naming),multiple meaning words and/or synonym exercises with them. That is why we developed our latest product to quickly screen their understanding. Each informal measure gives a percentage from 0 to 100% and can be given in less than ten minutes. Here’s a picture of one of the screens. Every screen is illustrated with pictures and provides three examples. The examples are reviewed before the screen is given to assure student understanding of the task.
Results are recorded on the baseline answer forms and can be used for RTI information or for a requested screen and/or to be included in a full language assessment report and reported in the informal assessment results section of the report. And if the need to assess student progress later in the year arises, we have provided another form for progress monitoring purposes.
Busy SLPs and teachers can quickly obtain a percentage of a student’s ability in the areas of: antonyms, homophones, categorization, multiple meaning words and synonyms and provide this data later in the year for monthly, quarterly or yearly progress notes or an IEP meeting. These quick screeners give a percentage to show progress and justification for language treatment and saves SLPs and teachers a bunch of time too because most other language tests are long and can take hours to administer! Click on the picture below to be taken to our Twin Speech, Language and Literacy LLC Shop over at Teachers pay Teachers if you would like to purchase these quick informal assessments and progress monitoring forms for word types and vocabulary development today!
The Frenzied SLPs have written a bunch of great posts about baselines measures and progress monitoring. Please click on their logos below to be taken to other posts by them in this linky party. Have fun!
Manda & Shanda,