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Speechreading in Familiar Contexts (PDF) by James Lee and published by the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet University, is resource that can be used for working on speechreading skills with children at home using familiar topics and role-play.

a bunch of grapes, a pear and an orangeYou can use any familiar topic or vocabulary your child is working on for these kinds of activities. The pattern for practicing speechreading is the same for all of the activities in the resource: predict, practice, and role-play. The resource provides some topic ideas and lists of words but you can choose whatever topic you would like to use.

You might think about foods, for example.


In the predict step, you are discussing the words/phrases/questions related to a topic that you might use in conversation. Write down all of these words together that you both think of.

Your list might look like this:

a list of food words and phrases on a white sheet of paper with black lines


Next is the practice step where you practice the words together. You can start by signing and then saying the word and having your son or daughter imitate your model. You might point to the word then say it again. You can then pick groups of two words, say one, and have them choose the correct one. Take turns and let them tell you a word from a group of two and you choose the correct one.


When you role-play, you can think of a situation where you might use the words. Pretending you are in a restaurant and ordering food or asking family members what they want for lunch might be two examples. Use a simple question/answer format to take turns practicing speechreading the words, such as, “What do you want to eat?” and “I want ______ [food name from list]”. You can use the same words for different role-plays that you create together. You can use props like a pencil and pad for the “waiter” to take orders, play food to serve to each other, or a pretend credit card or money to pay after the meal is finished. Have fun!