Speech Therapy Sequencing Activities Using Thematic Units

We all know at least one speech therapy student who needs to work on sequencing activities. As an SLP, I love doing thematic units with my speech therapy groups. When 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 themes on an object (i.e. snowmen), I have been basing my thematic units on sequences (i.e making pizza)!

Before we go any further, I suggest that you bookmark this page now and save it for future use. I’ve linked a ton of valuable content and you are going to want to remember it!

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 need to improve their vocabulary so this is a natural way to work on it. Win-win.

The beauty of teaching thematic and sequencing activities 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 sequencing thematic activities.

  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 in my speech therapy room!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. All thoughts and recommendations are my own.

Making Pizza

Birthday Party

Going to the Grocery Store

Washing the Dog

Washing a Baby

Brushing Teeth

Making PB&J

Washing Dishes

Washing Hands

If I have totally sold you on sequencing themes, I also have two more amazing resources to share with you.

Number 1: I have made a series of YouTube speech therapy sequencing videos that go along with many of these sequences I’ve listed above.

Number 2: But do you know what is EVEN BETTER than that? I have a set of speech therapy sequencing worksheets that go right along with each video. My speech therapy students love to follow along with my video and sequence the pictures as we go! This provides great structure and multiple visuals for strategically teaching a complex skill!

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

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