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Hettie's Tips and Tricks: Barrier Games

These barrier games are all about having fun reading and writing in a game situation. The more you enjoy doing these with your child, the more you will see your child enjoy reading and writing more and more.


NOTE: I don't correct errors in these games b/c it's all about having fun reading, spelling, and writing and letting the child realize how reading and writing gives you power. When seeing an error (or totally unintelligible writing) I may say, "Oh, wow, I didn't understand you wanted …!!" as though it's my fault but it gets the point across of how they could have given me more complete directions. Then I notice they start giving more details in their directions. Or I might say, “What a great hint!!! Can you help me read this part?” I provide scaffolding to help the student read or write as needed so they enjoy the game and are proud of their success. It’s about having fun and not for correcting errors at this time.




Smethport Create-a-Scene or similar games


You need 2 identical Create-a-Scene boards with magnets and you stand up the boards back to back between you and the child so neither person can see the other’s board. You remove all the pieces from your boards, then take turns putting 1 or 2 magnets on your blank board and writing directions on an index card so the other person can make their board look like yours. We say, "You've got mail!" as we put the index card with directions through the hole of the other person's board. Then we compare boards and I brag on their wonderful directions they wrote or how wonderfully they gave or followed directions.


Treasure Hunts


Treasure Hunts involve each person reading or writing directions to gain practice giving and receiving information for fun. Treasure Hunts are intended to help the student realize the power they can have using reading and writing to tell someone what to do. Participants take turns making treasure hunts by printing directions on index cards or slips of paper, then hiding the steps in a treasure hunt, such as Look on the kitchen table. Then the other person would find the next step in the hunt that may say, Crab-walk to your bedroom and check under your bed...Wiggle to the kitchen and find the clue that’s next to the coffee pot. ... Skip to the living room and peek behind the sofa.... Participants would take turns designing the hunts and going through the steps to find the “treasure”.

These games are an opportunity to BRAG ON the student’s reading and writing, but NOT to correct errors at that time! This would also be a way to make homework more fun by placing portions of homework at each treasure hunt station or to use to find birthday or other special presents.


Treasure Hunt ideas

  • Crab walk to the stairs.

  • Trot like a horse to the living room.

  • Jog slowly to the dining room.

  • Walk slowly to the den.

  • Scoot quickly to the bathroom.

  • Scoot to the kitchen fast!

  • Stomp on the ground.

  • Jump to the bedroom.

  • Jiggle to the dining room and look on the table.

  • Sit down, then stand up.

  • Stomp your feet on the ground six times.

  • Clap twelve times. Jog to the den.

  • Stamp your feet five times.

  • Jog quickly to the dining room.

  • Find the jump rope in the den.

  • If you like to play, wiggle three times.

  • Crab walk to the kitchen.

  • Take a hike to the back porch. Check under the bird house.

  • Swim to the living room. Look in the fire place.

  • Jump high! Skip to the kitchen and look behind the knives.

  • Hop to the living room and play the piano.

  • Walk quickly to the kitchen.

  • Walk slowly to the master bedroom. Yell your numbers to nine.

  • Crab walk to the inside steps.

  • Jump three times. Run to the dining room and peek behind the bunny napkin rings.

  • Stomp your feet 4 times. Go to the dining room and look under the big cabinet.

  • Walk backwards to the kitchen and look under the coffee pot.

  • Hop six times. Skip to the front door and look under the rug.

  • Run to the den.

  • Shut your eyes and clap your hands.

  • Skip to the living room and look next to the piano.

  • Trot like a horse to the bathroom.

  • Trot to the coffee pot.

  • Fly to the dining room.

  • Whisper your numbers to twelve.

  • Crab walk to the foyer.

  • If it is raining hop three times. If it is sunny clap five times.

  • Peek under the couch in the living room.

  • Swim to the den.

  • Look in the fireplace. Skip to the porch.


Hettie Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP

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