If there is one thing I have learned, it is that my earliest language learners will NOT just sit nicely at a table or at circle time and say their words/sounds. They need to move and interact and somehow be involved. They like to see completion and know they are done. They need a lot of visual support including visual communication books.
Here are some tips for engaging early language learners:
1. Songs and finger plays. When I can get a student to sing along with me on a repetitive chorus, I am ecstatic.
2. Play. Play based therapy rocks.
3. Tactile objects. We love to put things in, on, under, around. Throughout February, we were using puff balls to be “snowballs” and placing them in/out/under/between cups.
4. Work systems. This is a brand new thing that I’m trying out based on the success of my awesome colleague. I’ve had a few students that are already catching on and understanding that they do 2 bins then get a choice break. Hurray!
5. Books. The best books for these learners are books that involve the senses. I love puzzle books, pop-up books, tactile books, and hidden flaps books. The more that can be touched and moved on each page, the better!
6. File folder activities. I like these because there is a very concrete beginning and end. The students are engaged and get to pull things off and place them in a different spot. They also work beautifully with the new work systems because I can place one file folder activity in each bin!
“What is in the …?” is a great way to work on functional vocabulary, asking questions, answering questions, learning preposition “in”, and expanding utterances. These activities are hands-on, colorful, and great for early language learners!
Included in this download are the printables for you to create 5 file-folder activities:
What is in the backpack? (school supply vocabulary)
What is in the basket? (laundry vocabulary)
What is in the cart? (grocery store vocabulary)
What is in the dishwasher? (kitchen vocabulary)
What is in the lunch box (lunch vocabulary)
“Seasonal Dress Up” is a great way to work on vocabulary: seasonal, weather, clothing, descriptive. It is also designed to foster asking and answering questions through increasing utterance length. These activities are highly motivating because they are hands-on, colorful, and fun! They are great for early language learners!
Included in this download are the printables for you to create 4 seasonal file-folder activities:
Here are some set up videos that my daughter and I made to show you how to put together and use these activities:
Interested in the communication flip book?
Grab your own copy HERE!
I hope you enjoy these activities as much as my students and I do! Tell me, how do YOU engage early language learners?