Speaking Sparks
Speaking Sparks

Language is an active process, which is learned through use. In a world in which there are so many sources competing for your child’s attention, speaking has taken a backseat. The more experiences the child has with language in all of its forms, the more success he or she is likely to experience at the pleasurable task of reading. Not only will speaking activities help your child read and become an incredible reader, but also will amaze the world with his speech!


1. Story Flips- animated gif

Build stories by flipping pictures the child has drawn or cut out of old magazines. The pictures should include animals, people, and objects. Help the child glue or tape each picture onto its own cardboard square. Once you and the child have assembled 12 to 20 pictures, ask the child to sort them into four random piles. Invite the child to turn over a square from each pile and then make up a story based on the four pictures. Continue with another set of four pictures for endless creative story-building fun!


2. News Report Interviews- reporter talking with person

Invite the child to be a news reporter and report on an event that happened at home or while on a family outing. Choose a topic together for the interview. It may be something as ordinary as dinner last night or a little unusual, such as what happened when the dog got out. Encourage the child to ask you questions that will uncover as many details as possible. He or she should write down the answers on a piece of paper. Then invite the child to give a news report as if reporting the story on the evening news.


3. Don’t Say What You See! animated gif

Create 15 to 20 picture cards of common animals or objects together. The cards can be simple line drawings on index cards or pictures cut from old magazines and glued or taped onto index cards. Put the cards in the shoe box. Then invite the child to pull out a card and describe what is pictured without naming the object. Make sure the child keeps the card hidden from your view. You are now allowed five guesses to determine what is on the card. After the answer has been guessed or given, it is your turn to pick a card, describe what is pictured, and ask the child to guess its identity.


4. Make It Modern-

Invite the child to retell a familiar folk or fairy tale, such as The Three Little Pigs or Cinderella , but change the setting to modern times and to the place where you live. If the story took place today, what would be the same? What would be different? If the three little pigs were building their house next door, what materials would they use? Whom would they ask for supplies? If Cinderella lived in your town, where would she live? Where would the prince live? What would she wear to the ball?


5. Character Interview-

Invite the child to pretend to be a character from a favorite story. Explain that you are going to interview the character, and the child should answer all your questions as the character would. Ask questions that wouldn’t necessarily be found in the original story. For example, ask the character about favorite foods, what kind of stories the character likes to read, what the character wants to be when it grows up. After you interview the child/character, choose another character together and switch roles. Now it’s the child’s turn to interview you!


6. Tell It Backward! 

This challenging backward storytelling activity helps develop sequence understanding, comprehension, and story recall. Take turns retelling a favorite story with the child, only tell the story in reverse. You might want to have the book handy while reading. Begin retelling at the end of the story. Then invite the child to tell the part that happened just before the ending. Take another turn, and tell what happened before that. Continue taking turns until the whole story has been told, event by event, from end to beginning.