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Teaching Sequencing with Thematic Units in Speech Therapy

I love doing thematic units with my speech therapy groups. Because you can create activities to last several sessions, it makes planning sooooo much easier. Traditionally, SLPs like to do thematic units based around things like holidays, seasons, snowmen, or some other cute something-or-another. But lately I have been doing a different kind of theme. Instead of basing it off of an object, I have been teaching sequencing with my thematic units!

teaching sequences in speech therapy

Here is the method to my madness.

First, you have to think “why do we target sequences?” Honestly, there are many reasons. But here are some of my faves:

  •  Sequences are the foundational skill for telling stories, giving directions, and giving information.
  • They are a prerequisite to being able to retell (aka sequence) a story.
  • Targeting sequences improves vocabulary, specifically verb-related vocabulary.
  • Sequencing helps our students organize language in their brain.
  • They are a great way to start eliciting longer word utterances.
  • A good sequence can easily be modified into a hands-on activity!

That is why we work on sequencing skills. Now, each sequence comes with its own set of vocabulary that also needs to be taught. So, by working on a sequence you are inherently teaching new vocabulary. Most of our students needs to improve vocabulary so this is a natural way to work on it. Win-win.

The beauty of teaching sequencing and thematic units together, is that you get the benefits of BOTH sequences and themes.

When we work on a theme, we like to read books, play games, and do fun activities all surrounding the theme. We use these things to reinforce many different kinds of skills such as answering questions, location words, or articulation. If you pick the right sequence-theme, you can continue to do all these things.

Here is how I have been creating my sequence-themes.

  1. I pick a sequence. Choose sequences that are 3-4 steps in length and can be easily turned into a play-based activity.
  2. I think of all the different ways I want to teach the theme. For me, I like to use toys, sequencing pictures, books, YouTube videos, and songs.
  3. We practice the sequence-theme and do thematic based activities for several sessions. Usually until the student is able to master sequence.

Here are some of my favorite themes to use while teaching sequencing!

Making Pizza

Birthday Party

Going to the Grocery Store

Washing the Dog

Washing a Baby

Brushing Teeth

Making PB&J

Washing Dishes

Washing Hands

Also, I have already created sequencing pictures for these activities. I would love to share them with you (for free!). You can snag them by clicking here.

If you enjoyed this post, I also think you will love reading about my favorite (free) preschool speech therapy activities to use with books.

What are your favorite speech therapy themes? Do you love using sequences? Or do you have some other genius tip to share? I’d love to hear about it!

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