A child with a deficit in a skill typically has not discovered the power of that skill. Thus remains the initial opening for novelty. I believe that children are often more open to suggestion than we often give them credit for. In other words, initially discussing the benefits of a skill can be an extremely effective introduction to the teaching of a skill. However, because complex language is not yet a favored method of input for children in language therapy, these explanations can be brief. Why are working on verbs? Because every sentence has them, and with them you can talk about what anything does. Why practice comparatives and superlatives? Because with them we can greatly increase our powers to describe. And it always helps to relate these introductions in personal ways. Statements such as, “With superlatives you can tell me that you are a faster runner than your brother.” tend to work well.
Activities themselves provide ample opportunities to motivate, as does the presentation of the activities. If you’re working on past tense you use stories, because stories involve a lot of past tense. If you’re working on pronouns activities that frequently refer to other people should be used to achieve goals. This is often easier than it sounds. Young kids working on pronouns can get tons of exposure to pronouns in many simple group turn taking activities. An example of how to structure this would be to give two boys and a girl different types of blocks. Questions such as “Whose block is this?” and “Who gets the big block?” provide natural incentives to learn the exact pronouns absent with in any child’s repertoire. There are plenty of activities that work equally well in this manner, including puzzles, sticker activities, dot to dots, and coloring activities. Because nothing in language exists that does not assist, a demonstration of how these units assist can utilize their inherent motivational powers.
A wide variety of activities assists us in providing the best presentation. Worksheets, games, drill, and quizzes are all ways to help learning, but each type of learning loses potency quickly when done successfully. In other words, if you do nothing but ________, or even do _________ a few times in a row, where any activity type can go in the blank, there is a natural tendency for children to lose learning interest. Research is extremely robust that supports the contention that repeated and varied exposures greatly assists memory (Dempster and Farris, 1990). This even applies to games. Fun can be one of the most effective motivators, as young children especially learn primarily through play. It is human nature to seek to expand, and any activity which only uses what a child already has, not only grows quickly boring, but also proves unsatisfying. Games like Go Fish can effectively provide natural motivation, but unless the specific student needs specific help with questions or helping verbs, activities like this should usually be “thrown back.” Preparation and notation are two key ways to prevent falling into the habit of consecutive presentations.