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Providing Support Using Two-step Prompting in Speech Therapy

Updated: May 26

Hi friend!

Let's dive into an easy-to-use prompting technique: two-step prompting.

As Cengher et al. (2018) point out, there is a large array of options when it comes to prompting. Some options include:

💬 Visual prompt (e.g. story grammar picture cards or pointing to pictures in a book)

💬 Verbal prompt like asking "Then what happened?" during a story retell task

💬 Furthering prompt (e.g. Then what happened.)

While these types of prompts can be helpful, they do have some downsides. They don't provide specific information on what response is expected and it can be time consuming to continue down a path of furthering the student along until they arrive at the desired response.

With two-step prompting, the clinician utilizes a specific question about the information missed, and then models the desired response if the student is unable to generate it on their own.

It is an efficient use of time and ensures the child is successful by providing them with the answer.

Here's how it works:

The clinician provides the student with a prompt/question. The student's response is missing information or they are unable to generate the desired response. Here's where the two-step prompting technique comes into play.

1️⃣ Ask a question that includes specific information about what the child missed or should have mentioned

2️⃣ If the child is unable to respond within a few seconds, model the desired response for them

two step prompting example

Here are some ideas of when you might use this technique:

  • Discussing story grammar elements - What was the weather like? (to describe the setting)

  • Retelling the beginning, middle, end of a story - Sneezy ate something at the end of the story. What was it? (describing the end of the story)

  • Summarizing a story - Yup, Sneezy was cold and tried to warm up. What happened to his body after he got in the hot tub?

  • Sequencing parts of a story - Sneezy sat next to the fire and then what happened to his body?

  • Describing - Tell me what color it is and then what shape it is. (when describing what ice cream looks like)

  • Building Sentences - Let's make a complex sentence using the word after. First say what Sneezy put on his head, and then say what happened to him.

I hope this was helpful! 💛

about the author Sarah, a pediatric SLP and creator behind Speechie Adventures


Spencer, T. & Peterson, B. (2020). Narrative Intervention: Principles to Practice. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 51(4). Read the article


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