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Summertime Language Interventions

 At Home And In The Community 

Emily Gavitt, M.S., CCC-SLP

When you think “summer”, images of the beach, cookouts, and days by the pool come to mind. While summer is filled with sun and fun, there are also lots of opportunities for language based activities especially if you know where to look. For Complex Learners, continuing to expose our students to a variety of language helps maintain their academic growth and helps them apply the skills they have learned to new contexts and environments. By continuing to foster language development over the summer, students arrive back at school in September set up for a successful year with functional and meaningful language connections related to their own life experiences. 

So, how can you provide your child with critical summertime language interventions? Read below for some tips from Wolf’s Speech and Language Pathologist, Emily Gavitt, to get you started!

Shared Book Reading

While school might be out, schedules are still an important part of your child’s day. Have a specific set time carved in your schedule for reading (e.g., while dinner is being prepared or directly before bedtime). Specifically, shared book reading or the act of sharing a book aloud with a child or group of children where the focus is on a conversation about the book versus just reading it, is a key opportunity to help your child’s language. 

Why Participate In Shared Book Reading?

Shared book reading provides your child an opportunity to work on skills that are critical for their academic success. Shared book reading provides opportunities for joint attention between caregiver and child, helps your child practice conversational skills, turn-taking, nonverbal communication, perspective-taking and more, boosts your child’s vocabulary. In addition, it helps improve their oral narrative skills, reading and writing abilities, visual-perceptual skills (which are required to track print while reading), knowledge of appropriate syntax and phonological awareness.

Ways to engage in Shared Book Reading

When you and your child are participating in a shared book be sure to ask open-ended questions (e.g., Why do you think he did that?”) versus close-ended questions (e.g., “Did you like the book?”). Pause reading and ask the child what they think will happen next or relate the events of the story to your own personal experiences and ask the child if they can make any connections with the characters/plot. Ask them what they think an unfamiliar word may mean based on how it is used in the sentence and relates to the pictures. You can also have fun with it by creating different voices for the characters or acting out the scenes described within the story.

Screen Free Opportunities

Set screen-free times every day to work on conversation skills while talking about your days using pausing to reflect on what is being said, expanding utterances (e.g., “I didn’t like that” to “I didn’t like the hotdog because of the mustard on it”). 

Have your child help with grocery shopping, cooking, or chores to target executive functioning (e.g, Which aisle would you search for crackers?”), sequencing (e.g., first grab the bucket, then add, cleaner, mix with water), phonological awareness for unfamiliar words in ads around the community.

End the day with practicing oral narrative skills and sequencing at dinner where you take the opportunity to ask open-ended questions about that day’s summer activities. 

Take Language Outdoors

Head out into the community and have your child increase their interactions with unfamiliar listeners such as waiters/waitresses, librarians, and cashiers to practice social language.

After seeing a new movie, ask what’s one thing they would have changed about the story, or why they think a specific character acted the way they did. Finally, head into nature and talk about what you see on hikes, at the beach, or while traveling (e.g., what you need to bring with you and make a list, what it sounds like, smells like, what do you hear and why).


Most importantly – play! Play sparks imagination and provides your child a natural opportunity to practice social skills, problem-solving, perspective-taking, and descriptive language.

We all want to set our children up for success in the coming school year while still ensuring their summer is filled with fun! With these simple ways to integrate language development and practice, your child won’t even realize they’re working on their communication skills all summer long!

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