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Guest Blog: Othello: A Speech Strategy

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Othello: A Speech Strategy

By: Kim Lewis, M.S. CCC-SLP

This blog post is reprinted here with express permission of the author as it appeared on her blog Activity Tailor

(this post appeared on 2Gals Talk…about speech therapy on August 15, 2011)

I love board games and Othello is one of those classic, perfect two player games. Do you remember this one? The board consists of 64 green felted squares and each player has 32 thick black and white disks that clack snugly into a space on each turn. The tactile aspect is hugely satisfying, in addition to encouraging fine motor skills.

You begin with four disks in the middle of the board, two whites diagonal from one another and two black diagonal from one another. Decide which player is which color (black goes first).

On your turn, place a disk on the board trying to “capture” at least one disk of the other color between a previously placed disk and your newly placed one. Here’s the fun part! You turn over each disk to “your” color that falls between “your “ two ends, whether it be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. “A minute to learn, but a lifetime to master” is Mattel’s slogan, and it’s true. The game involves a great deal of strategy and is fun for both children and adults. Somewhere around 8 years old/3rd grade is where this game tends to gain popularity.

Now, let’s tailor it! I buy boxes of plain circle stickers at office supply stores. They fit perfectly inside the little squares and the felt allows them to stick but not fully adhere (so you can switch the stickers easily with no residue). On 64 circles, I write the child(s) target words and place one in each square. We then begin to play the game, saying the words we cover as well as those we uncover when we flip the disks. This is a very fun way to get a lot of trials!

I like to provide auditory stimulation, so I usually say my “own” words, but it would be easy enough to place all the production burden on the child. And the game easily adapts to carrier phrases “I cover (target word)”, “I see (target word)”, “I said (target word)”, depending on what sound you need to in/exclude from the phrase.

P.S. The rows of disks have a very Oreo cookie look to them. I think a cookie or two in conjunction with the game could be a very therapeutic experience.


Featured Author: Kim Lewis, M.Ed, CCC-SLP

Kim Lewis M.Ed, CCC-SLP has a private practice for pediatrics in Greensboro, NC. She is the blogger at http://www.activitytailor.com, providing creative ideas for speech therapy, and the author of the Artic Attack workbook series published by Say It Right.

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Tags: Article Tip or Resources of Week SLP Language Articulation Newsletter 9 December 2011