Mastering Multiple Meanings

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multiple-meanings-speechThe English language is not simple to learn and there can be many confusing rules. Imagine how this feels for a child that is primarily speaking another language at home. Speech and language goals for these children can often focus on articulation, focus on vocabulary, and increasing fluency in social situations. Kids also need to tackle items like words with multiple meanings. Enchanted Learning offers a nice list of homonyms/homophones to select words that may be hard for your individual students and to use with the activities below. 

Matching Multiple Word Meanings

For younger children, make a fun matching game that you can laminate and use over and over. One card will contain the definition for each, which the match will show a picture with the word written out. The other meaning of the word should also be present to make sure that all combinations are included for learning. Example cards:

  • bark/dog – the noise a dog makes
  • bark/tree trunk – the outer covering of a tree
  • fall/colorful leaves – season also called autumn
  • fall/person on the floor next to chair – moving in a downward direction

The number of words you use for this memory style matching game will depend on the age of the children. Make many cards to keep practicing new words at the end of the session.

Cartoon Time

Have cards with a multiple word meaning pairs on them. Allow everyone to select a card without looking at the pair of words in front of them. Flip the cards over and review the meanings of the words as a group. Next, give each child a piece of paper. Draw a line in the middle and make a cartoon or drawing on each side to represent each of the meanings. Repeat this activity several times and connect the pages together to make a book that each student will be able to take home. If time permits allow students to share their books and practice their presenting skills to boost their language confidence with others.

To tie in with home, the matching game could also be sent home with instructions on how to play for reinforcement. The more the children have a chance to practice, the better their recognition of these words and their differences will be. Be sure to send home translations of the words so everyone knows what the target words are for the children.

As a speech language pathologist, it’s important to dedicate time for teaching words with different meanings as the English language contains many of them that may be confusing to students.

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