How to Select Rich Vocabulary for Your Speech Therapy Sessions – Episode 42


When we do any deep dive or this or that episode and talk about the key teaching points of books, one of the main components we look for is a rich vocabulary. But why is that an important aspect to cover with a text, and how does it relate to a student’s oral language development? Vocabulary is the single best indicator of intellectual ability and the number one factor in comprehension. It’s also a predictor of success at school, which makes it extremely important! In today’s episode, we’re discussing how to select rich vocabulary for your speech therapy sessions, which includes research and effective practices.

As you listen to the episode, you will realize that gone are the days of teaching vocabulary in a similar way in which you were probably taught vocabulary. Evidence-based practices for vocabulary instruction include multiple exposures and interactions with the words, and each exposure should be in context. This is because the goal of vocabulary instruction is to develop the connection students have with words in context. Knowing this, we share which type of words to focus on with literacy-based speech therapy and how best to put it into practice. So the next time you want to select rich vocabulary for your speech therapy sessions, remember our research instruction for best practices. 

Topics Discussed:

  • The importance vocabulary has on a student’s comprehension and oral language development
  • Evidence-based vocabulary instruction and effective practices to implement in your speech therapy sessions
  • A list of books that have exceptional vocabulary 
  • What parents can do to help enrich the vocabulary of their students


  • Beck, I.L. & McKeown, M.G. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction, The Guilford Press:NY.
  • HyeJin Hwang, Sonia Q. Cabell & Rachel E. Joyner (2022) Effects of Integrated Literacy and Content-area Instruction on Vocabulary and Comprehension in the Elementary Years: A Meta-analysis, Scientific Studies of Reading, 26:3, 223-249, DOI: 10.1080/10888438.2021.1954005
  • The Effects of Vocabulary Instruction: A Model-Based Meta-Analysis – Steven A. Stahl and Marilyn M. Fairbanks. Review of Educational Research Vol. 56, No. 1 (Spring, 1986),

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Do you want to use picture books more in your speech therapy sessions, but have no idea where to start? OR are you already using books in therapy but find it time-consuming to find the RIGHT book and identify relevant speech and language concepts?

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Join co-hosts Ashley and Kalin from Sweet Southern Speech each week as they share evidence-based and SLP-approved strategies to use picture books more efficiently and effectively in your speech therapy sessions.