Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

May 6, 2020

Word Retrieval Games

By: Jessica DeLing

“I’m Thinking of Something….”

          Word retrieval, or automatic naming, affects one’s ability to efficiently retrieve words from stored vocabulary banks. It incorporates the execution of a series of operations quickly and repeatedly. Some children demonstrate difficulty accessing the system in which word knowledge is stored to isolate the exact words appropriate to express a specific thought. In other words, a person with word retrieval deficits knows and understands a particular word but has difficulty retrieving it to use in his/her own speech. Communication may break down due to difficulty with retrieving a word, and, in turn, expressing a thought with fluidity. Testing of word retrieval involves evaluating the semantic organization and the strategies a child utilizes to associate and name members of a sematic class rapidly and efficiently. Formal testing is required to diagnosis word retrieval deficits, and an individualized therapy program will target word retrieval skills.

Here are some ways to help a child improve word retrieval skills in the home setting:

  • Slow your rate of speech to allow extra processing time
  • Read with your child to increase vocabulary skills
  • Talk about an object’s attributes, including size, shape, category, function, location, parts, etc.
  • Offer a phonemic cue to help your child retrieve a known word (i.e., It starts with “m.”)
  • Define words for your child so he/she understands the meanings of unfamiliar words.
  • Play family games that target word retrieval, such as Pictionary, Outburst, Scattergories, and Tapple 10.
  • Participate in exercises, such as

Sentence completion activities:

  1. We eat ___
  2. We sleep in a ___
  3. We cut with ___
  4. We ride in a ___
  5. We drink ___
  6. We read a ___
  7. We throw the ___
  8. We watch ___
  9. We wash our ___

Expanding categories: Listing 3-5 items per category

  1. Pizza toppings
  2. Things that open
  3. Breakfast foods
  4. Clothing
  5. Zoo animals
  6. Things in the sky
  7. Transportation
  8. Desserts

Labeling categories

  1. Red, blue, green, orange
  2. Lions, tigers, monkeys, elephants
  3. Pretzels, popcorn, crackers, cookies

Completing action-agent questions

  1. What sleeps?
  2. What flies?
  3. What roars?
  4. What bites?

Naming antonyms or synonyms for words

  1. Happy
  2. Slow
  3. Dry

Listing things to complete a task

  1. Swimming
  2. Planting a flower
  3. Getting ready for bed

Completing associations

  1. Peanut butter and ___
  2. A pair of ___
  3. Close the door

Providing a word from a definition

  1. An animal that lives at the zoo and has a long neck
  2. A yellow fruit that you peel to eat
  3. Something you wear on your hands to keep warm when it’s cold outside

Excluding words from categories: Which word does not belong?

  1. Ice, lemonade, water, tea
  2. Square, purple, rectangle, octagon
  3. Cookie, spaghetti, cake, brownie

Defining words with multiple meanings

  1. bark
  2. shake
  3. tire

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