What is scaffolding and how do I use it in my speech room? (and a freebie!)

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Scaffolding refers to how the material is delivered and
instructed to the students.  Many English
Language Learners (ELLs), special education students, and struggling readers
can benefit from scaffolding.  These
students lack “prior knowledge” compared to their peers.  By using scaffolding techniques, us as SLPs,
can help our students learn new skills in a unique way.  We can also train and provide strategies to
classroom teachers for RTI or carryover purposes.
Scaffolding means that we build upon what a student already
knows in order to learn.  There are
different levels that we as SLPs can provide our students while teaching any
new task.  We can provide nonverbal cues
(such as pointing to pictures or a visual aid), comment/model, ask a question
to elicit a response, and give a direct instruction on how to complete a task.
What else can we do?!
  • Read aloud a passage before a student reads to
    themselves to improve understanding and comprehension.
  • Anchor charts or visuals on how to specifically
    complete comprehension skill tasks
  • Supply sentence starters
  • Provide “hint cards” so students don’t get stuck
    on a task.
  •  Use question sets so students get many examples
    of one type of question
  • Highlighting key words in task directions


When creating speech lessons and trying to figure out how
can I help my students complete this task, I like to think, “How can I teach
this differently than they would learn in their academic classrooms?”  There are two mindsets on how I decide to
differentiate, what can I present to them before the lesson/task and what can I
do after to assist.
I try to offer one or more professional development
workshops in my building to give teachers ideas on how to use the strategies
that work in my speech room in their classrooms.  I show them graphic organizers I use,
sentence starters, and anchor charts.
This eliminates the “shock” I would receive during annual review time
when I report that my students can complete certain tasks in my room.
I revised a graphic organizer being used in my building for
summarizing “somebody-wanted-but-so-then.”
My students did not have the prior knowledge to know how to
automatically fill out the information based on a text read.  By giving my students little hints on how to
complete the graphic organizer, they were able to be successful with this
comprehension task in their academic classrooms.


Click HERE to access this graphic organizer to use in your
speech rooms!