Using Themes in Speech Therapy

Using Themes in Speech Therapy

Using Themes in Speech Therapy

Using Themes in
Speech Therapy

I remember elementary school in terms of themes. Each month the activities surrounded a topic and the vocabulary, games and worksheets were all related in some way. If September was football, then we learned to play football in P.E., learned to score football in math, discussed the physics of football in science and created football themed masterpieces in art class. We read books about football, wrote poems about football and basically, lived in Football Land.

It seemed for a while that themed units went out of favor. I often found myself “teaching to the test” and that didn’t leave much room for the fun, creative teaching that drew me to education in the first place.

With Common Core State Standards, thematic units are easier than ever to implement. As with anything else in life, and especially educational service provision, there are pros and cons. The cons of using themes in your instructional line up are listed below.

Cons of using themes in Speech Therapy

  • Your students aren’t really digging the theme – Sometimes the theme is hard to sell. Guys don’t really like to talk much about princesses and the gals may not be too keen on transportation. There are fun ways to fix this one though. I like to blend transportation with community helpers. Community Helpers - ThemesThe princesses would be pretty boring without dragons and dangers from which to be rescued! Incorporate both sides of this theme to reach all your students. And, remember that knights and princes sometimes need help from the princesses, too!
  • It can be challenging to address all therapy goals with one theme and that is not a great scenario for the all to common “mixed group.”

Pros of using Themes in Speech Therapy

With all that said, there are some great pros for thematic units.

  • Built in opportunities for practice – with all the conversations surrounding the same vocabulary, your young ones will begin to pick up on the topic quickly. Our students with special needs require a lot of repetition before a new concept is learned.
  • Easy to decorate your classroom – I like to create a mini-bulletin board with games for my students to play.
  • Simple planning
  • Loads of resources for tons of themes. Check out all these options from the gals here at Speech Spotlight.

Anne - Fall ThemesJennifer - Winter ThemesSusan - Spring Themes Ashley - Football and Sports ThemesCollette - Community Helpers Themes

Tamatha - Camping Themes Linda - Multiple Meaning words Themes




  1. I’ve always loved using themes in therapy, too. It makes it so much easier for those kids with language disorders when the vocabulary ties together and is taught in a thematic context. Thanks for a great post.

    • Ashley Bonkofsky August 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Themes are so much fun! And I, too, love anything that will give my kids with language disorders a leg up.
      Thanks so much!!

  2. The planning is definitely easier when using themes! I use monthly themes…I don’t think that’s what the kids today get much of as far as knowing the seasons & the holidays within the months.

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