A Wolf School Favorite
This week’s blog post comes courtesy of our fabulous Speech and Language Pathologist, Rachel Frady! Rachel details the benefit of the expanding expression tool and how caregivers can help support language development at home!
“Spoken and written language have a reciprocal relationship, such that each builds on the other to result in general language and literacy competence” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2001).
As the foundation for reading and writing, language is evident in all aspects of the curriculum and integral in the learning process. A complex composition of symbols used for thought and communication, language is a primary vehicle for connecting to social and academic worlds. Thoughtful time dedicated to strengthening a child’s language is a key component in enriching their educational experiences.
What is the EET?
The Expanding Expression Tool © (Sara Smith, M.S., CCC-SLP), also known as the EET, is a multisensory strategy that facilitates oral and written language expansion for preschool through high school students. Through systematic teaching, the EET promotes a child’s production of informative descriptions and definitions, semantic organization, and word retrieval.
It helps support…
- Oral and Written Expression
- Sentence Formulation
- Activating Prior Knowledge
- Organizing Thoughts and Ideas
- Vocabulary Comprehension
- Making Associations
- Stating Functions of Objects
- Comparing & Contrasting
The Physical Tool
The EET itself consists of seven color-coded icons which symbolize different language elements including category, function, appearance, composition, parts, and location. With tactile, visual, and auditory stimulation, students quickly memorize the rhythmic EET chant:
- Green, group (What category does it belong to?)
- Blue, do (What do you do with it or what does it do?)
- What does it look like? (What size, shape, and color is it?)
- What is it made of? (What is it made of or where does it come from?)
- Pink, parts (What parts does it have?)
- White, where (Where do you find it or where would you use it?)
- What else do I know? (Prior knowledge, fun facts)
How Can Caregivers Support Language Development?
- Model the use of the EET by describing what food is for dinner and seeing if your child can guess it. For example – it’s in the dinner category, it comes from a cow, it has a bun, patty, lettuce, and cheese, some people like ketchup and mustard on it – can you guess what it is?
- Many children love to learn and talk about animals. Encourage them to describe their pet or favorite animal
- If your child has a favorite toy or video game, use it as an opportunity to connect and ask them questions about it
- Hide small toys in a sensory bin and have children describe and sort items they find
- Read a book together and have your child describe their favorite character or animal from the book
- Complete a craft or draw a picture together and describe it
- Find an item in your house, keep it a secret, and describe it to your child using the EET. See if your child can guess the object
- Go on a nature walk and have your child find and describe something special such as a leaf, flower, or bug
- Talk with your child about what they have been learning in class and pick a related vocabulary word to describe together
Tips for Scaffolding:
- If your child needs some help answering the questions, provide them with choices. For example, is it a fruit or is it an animal?
- If your child answers with one-word answers, see if they can turn their answer into a sentence.
- If your child becomes fairly independent with the EET, see if they can compare and contrast. Describe and discuss how two different objects are alike or unalike while using the EET framework.
- For students with higher-level language skills, see if they can write their answers down in sentences or a short paragraph.
Check in with your child’s SLP with any questions or for more information!
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