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Focused Skill Activities: Syntax

Did you know you can target a variety of syntactic structures through literacy-based therapy?

Here is an outline of activities that could be completed over 2-3 therapy sessions:

1️⃣ Start by choosing a sentence structure in the book that targets the student’s goal (book selection is important here).

2️⃣ Look for and read examples of the target sentences in the book with the student.

3️⃣ Ask a question that would prompt the student to create a sentence about the story with the target sentence structure. You can also provide a sentence starter here.

Here's an example of targeting complex sentences:

  • SLP: What did Froggy do after he went kayaking? After he went kayaking, Froggy…(sentence starter)

  • Student: After he went kayaking, Froggy went stargazing.

Continue with similar question types and sentence starters (if needed) to elicit the target sentence structure. For example:

  • What did Froggy do after he got dressed?

  • What did Froggy do after he cooked breakfast?

  • What did froggy do after he went hiking?

4️⃣ Write the noun and verb phrases, or clauses on sentence strips that the student can manipulate.

5️⃣ Have the student draw pictures that represent the sentences.

6️⃣ Match the sentence strips with the pictures.

7️⃣ Retell the story with the target sentence pattern.


Ukrainetz, T. A. (2006). Contextualized Language Intervention: Scaffolding Prek-12 Literacy Achievement (1st ed.). Pro Ed.

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