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HELP® for Middle School
Ages: 10-14   Grades: 5-9

These activities use middle school content and tone to target classroom language skills in vocabulary, grammar, questions, and following directions. 

Outcomes

  • Develop language competency
  • Keep up with peers in the classroom
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*The CD contains the complete book.  All pages are printable.
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Written in the widely-acclaimed format of the HELP series, these lessons are known for their:

  • goal-driven activities
  • high quality, timeless content
  • gradual increase in complexity within and between activities
  • application to a wide range of developmental and acquired language disorders

Vocabulary, Grammar, Question Comprehension, and Following Directions—are skill areas those students with language disorders typically struggle with, especially in the classroom setting.  A fifth skill area, Using Basic Language Skills, gives students the opportunity to practice a variety of skills in a broader, more curriculum-oriented text. 

Vocabulary
Define and describe nouns; antonyms and synonym; adjectives and adverbs; multiple-meaning words; context clues; and curricular vocabulary

Grammar
Regular and irregular plurals; common, proper, and possessive nouns; pronouns; noun-verb agreement; regular and irregular past tense verbs; future tense verbs; adjectives and adverbs; prepositions; and conjunctions

Question Comprehension
Wh-, how, is/are, can/could, do/does, and if question forms; some/all and always/sometimes/never statements; personal opinion questions; and literal and rhetorical questions

Following Directions
Multistep and sequential directions, written directions, graphs and charts, and true/false statements

Using Basic Language Skills
Synonyms, formulating sentences, completing and expanding paragraphs, and answering and formulating questions from factual paragraphs

 

Copyright © 1997

Components
183 pages, IEP goals, answer key

The HELP books are all superior products that go the extra mile to help children with special needs.  Thank you!

Mary Fratianni, Special Needs Coordinator
Port Jefferson Station, NY

  • Effective vocabulary instruction strategies actively engage the student and require higher-level cognitive processing.  These strategies include using new words in novel sentences based on connections to prior knowledge, identifying synonyms and antonyms, analyzing word features, and using visual aides (Kester-Phillips, Foote, & Harper, 2008).
  • Dockrell, Lindsay, and Connelly (2009) found that adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI) showed limited growth in their written language abilities in the middle school years which is associated with limited oral vocabulary development.
  • Spoken and written grammatical abilities were found to be quantitatively different in school-aged children with SLI in comparison to age- and language-matched children.  Judgment of syntax was a language measure continued in weakness despite other language measures improving within the SLI population (Gillam & Johnston, 1992).
  • Five components of instruction needed to address older students who are struggling to read include word study, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and motivation (Roberts, Torgesen, Boardman, & Scammacca, 2008).
  • A study by Feng and Powers (2005) found that grammatical mini-lessons targeting students' error patterns resulted in improved short- and long-term accuracy.

HELP for Middle School incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.

References

Dockrell, J.E., Lindsay, G., & Connelly, V. (2009). The impact of specific language impairment on adolescents' written text. Exceptional Children, 75(4), 427-446.

Feng, S., & Powers, K. (2005). The short- and long-term effect of explicit grammar instruction on fifth graders' writing. Reading Improvement, 42(2), 67-72.

Gillam, R.B., & Johnston, J. (1992). Spoken and written language relationships in language/learning impaired and normally achieving school-age children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 1303-1315.

Kester-Phillips, D.C., Foote, C.J., & Harper, L.J. (2008). Strategies for effective vocabulary instruction. Reading Improvement, 45(2), 62-68.

Roberts, G., Torgesen, J.K., Boardman, A., & Scammacca, N. (2008). Evidence-based strategies for reading instruction of older students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23(2), 63-69.

Author(s)

Andrea M. Lazzari

Biography

Andrea M. Lazzari, Ed. D., has worked as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools, in a community clinic, and in private practice.  She has taught preschool students with disabilities and was supervisor of Early Childhood Special Education Programs for the state of Virginia.  She has also served as a teacher trainer at the college and university levels.

HELP for Middle School is Andrea's seventeenth publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also the author of Just for Adults, HELP for Grammar, HELP for Memory, and the HELP Elementary Test.  She is the co-author of 125 Ways to Be a Better Test Taker, Test Right, and the remainder of the popular HELP series.

Introduction

HELP for Middle School was written to help speech-language clinicians and teachers meet the unique challenges presented by middle school-aged students with language disorders.  While the language skills of these students may be commensurate with those of students in elementary school, many of the elementary-level materials for language development aren't suitable for students in middle school.  The skills targeted by elementary level materials may be appropriate, but the look and tone of many of them are obviously geared toward younger students.  Therefore, a primary goal in the development of HELP for Middle School is to target the skills students with language disorders continue to struggle with in a format that is compatible with the language needs of middle school students yet reflective of their interests and chronological ages.

The four main skill areas represented in this volume—Vocabulary, Grammar, Question Comprehension, and Following Directions—were chosen to provide remediation for the types of skills that are particularly difficult for middle school students with language disabilities in classroom settings.  The fifth section, Using Basic Language Skills, provides opportunities to practice a variety of skills in a broader, more curriculum-oriented context.

Here are some particular features of HELP for Middle School:

  • The vocabulary and difficulty level of this material ranges from grades four through seven.
  • Stimulus items are arranged in order from the easiest to the most difficult whenever possible.
  • IEP goals are presented at the bottom of each page to further explain the individual tasks as well as to assist in writing goals and objectives.
  • Carryover activities are provided to expand and reinforce individual tasks and to help incorporate therapy objectives into group activities.

As with other volumes in the HELP series, I have strived to present as many items as possible for each task with minimal explanation.  The tasks and items are intended to provide a basis for language remediation that should be expanded and enhanced by you to reflect each student's individual experiences and her own unique needs and interests.

Here are some guidelines to help you more effectively use this book:

  1. Your discretion is essential in selecting and modifying tasks to best meet each student's individual needs.  Since the ages, skills, and language experiences of each student will vary, use your own judgment in deciding which portions of each task to use with individual students.  Use assessment data as a guide for initial selection of tasks and ongoing data collection to identify new areas of need.
  2. Common, correct responses have been provided for most items in the Answer Key.  There may be other acceptable answers which are not listed.  Use your judgment to determine the correctness of any response.  Look for opportunities for students to provide alternate, correct responses. When appropriate, discuss why their answer may not or could not be correct.
  3. Several repetitions of tasks and items may be necessary before target accuracy levels are reached.  Keep track of performance on the specific items you determine to be within your student's ability range.  Periodically recheck performance on tasks that have been mastered to ensure long-term maintenance.
  4. Strive to achieve carryover of therapy objectives and outcomes to the classroom.  Incorporate content area vocabulary and knowledge into therapy sessions whenever possible.  Keep classroom teachers apprised of therapy objectives and the student's needs as well as his or her successes.
  5. Although many of the tasks in this volume are presented as written worksheets, use your own judgment in deciding to present the lessons orally or as written work.  Keep in mind that a student may perform well in one mode but have difficulty in the other.

As I complete this newest addition to the HELP series, I would like to thank all of the speech-language pathologists, teachers, and parents who have provided positive feedback, support, and suggestions for improvement and expansion of the HELP series over the past 17 years, as well as the LinguiSystems staff, whose energy and enthusiasm keep me inspired.  I hope this volume will enable you to provide the ongoing instruction and support needed by our middle school students as they continue trying to master our complicated and often illogical language system.

Andrea