Articulation, Materials, Therapy Ideas

Centers for Articulation


Since I’ve switched to the school setting, I’ve had moments where I desperately wished I could see some of my grouped students 1:1, even just for a short time or for certains days (e.g., days I want to do progress monitoring, formal data collection, etc..). I felt like a bad SLP on these days: I pulled one student aside to work 1:1, and ended up giving the rest of the group busy work. Ugh. Nobody wants to have to do that!

Right after doing that one session, I walked into a classroom and saw students working independently at centers and had an aha moment! Why don’t I make centers for my larger articulation groups? Then, I could see each student for 1:1 time for ~5 minutes and DRILL. For the rest of the time, they could work independently on their speech and language skills! What a dream, right?!

I’ve now been doing centers in my speech room for several months and it’s been amazing. I don’t use centers for every group, or every day, but when I do my students know exactly what to do and get right to work! They are demonstrating great independence and problem solving, and I personally think they are making faster progress. Doing this in the speech room allows my students to independently practice their speech skills in the classroom AND at home as well! Great, great, great.

So read on to learn more specifics about how I set it up, how I teach it, and the stations I use. Currently I do only use this for my articulation groups, but plan to expand this to my language groups as well once I get a system I’m excited about (so stay tuned!!).


I use this packet in order to set up my centers. I print and laminate every page and purchased quite a few extra dry erase markers. I keep everything in a binder. I meant to hang removable hooks on the walls like these:

But forgot them so ended up using Aleene’s Tack-It. I stuck some onto the back of the posters and they stayed on my walls/tables/cabinets/wherever I put them perfectly!

I cut out all of the cards and put them all on rings so it was easy to find the ones I wanted to use.


Then, I was ready for teaching!


The most important part of getting centers to work for you is the teaching you put into it! Take your time with this step, it will pay off big time! Make sure your students are able to answer the following questions before having them use the centers independently:

-What do I do if I finish early?

-What if I get stuck?

-What if the technology doesn’t work?

-Where can I find all of the materials?

-How do I clean up?

-How do I know when to switch? How do I know what center to go to next?

-Do I turn in my work?

This might sound like a lot of questions and slightly complicated, but I strongly believe that when students are able to answer these questions, it increases their ability to practice these same skills at home and in the classroom.

When starting this with my articulation groups, I spend an entire session teaching the protocols for each center. I set out all 6 centers around the room. I take the entire group around to each center and give direct instruction using the worksheets and/or cards. Then, for the last 10 minutes, I do “rapid fire practice”. I set a timer that beeps every 2 minutes so each student can see and practice each center. I walk around during this time to make sure they understand each center (I don’t have them practice the 1:1 station).


Some of the centers I do include working 1:1 with me (trying to get 100 trials in), doing an articulation app on the iPad, sorting articulation cards, looking for their sounds in picture books, having a movement break, doing a craft, or prepping a worksheet/carryover activity.

Below are some images from my Speech and Language Therapy Centers for Articulation product.

I always aim for 100 trials during the drill portion of centers, where each student sits and works with me. I use this handy laminated visual with dry erase markers:


Look for your sound in picture books:


Sort articulation cards by a variety of factors:


Have a movement break!! My students focus so much better with these built into their day.


If you’re interested in checking out my centers product, click here to check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Do you do centers in your speech room? What’s worked or hasn’t worked for you? I’d love to hear!

{thanks for reading}

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16 Comment

  1. Reply
    Julie Lindstrom
    January 25, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    I love these… can’t wait to incorporate them. Thank you!!

    1. Reply
      January 25, 2016 at 2:13 PM

      Absolutely! Have fun!

  2. Reply
    Kate B.
    January 25, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Love this idea! My groups are big enough to make this work for me! Thanks.

    1. Reply
      January 25, 2016 at 2:13 PM

      Agreed! I find once a group gets to a certain size that this way of instruction is so much more effective! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Reply
    January 25, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    I thought it was so funny when I saw this post. I recently switched to doing centers during my artic. group times usually with 3 to 5 preschoolers and I’ve been telling everyone how much I love it. I actually get MORE drill in when they come to me then when I stay at the table with the whole group. Amazing right?
    Because I have preschoolers, I have to be careful what I put out for the centers. I use puzzles, shape matching, connect colors, shape sorters, etc. because they REALLY need critical thinking tasks and they are of course non readers. I love it.

    1. Reply
      January 25, 2016 at 2:12 PM

      Such a great idea! I plan to continue expanding my centers to a variety of groups. I wanted to start small (articulation groups) but it’s been such a success I can’t wait to expand out to language groups, preschool groups, fluency groups, etc… I totally agree that I get more drill in this way!

  4. Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    I love using 5 Minute Kids to get a whole lot of reps in, but this sounds perfect for those bigger groups that I have to see! Thanks!

  5. Reply
    January 31, 2016 at 10:42 PM

    How do you do this in a small room? So many times I am stuck in a broom closet or small storage room, or a room that I have to share with another professional.

    1. Reply
      January 31, 2016 at 10:46 PM

      My room is decently sized. It definitely only fits one small table, but several of the stations are on the floor or in the hallway (movement breaks). Tricky thought if you’re in a closet sized room for sure! 🙁

  6. Reply
    Annie Doyle
    February 13, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Centers are wonderful for articulation therapy. I have been using ArticLab from SuperDuper for several years now. Very effective! I like your materials in order to shake things up a bit!

  7. Reply
    August 16, 2016 at 3:31 PM

    Thank you so much. I love this idea and can’t wait to try it. Seems like it would make services for those ever-growing numbers/groups so much more effective. I look forward to hearing your ideas for language group centers!

  8. Reply
    December 5, 2016 at 8:10 PM

    I’m planning to start using this when we return from winter break! I have arctic groups ranging from 2-5 kids so this will be perfect when I need to do progress monitoring or check on some things for IEP meetings. Have you started this for language groups yet? I do not have many language kids so they are usually mixed in with my arctic kids but I would love for them to benefit from centers as well.

  9. Reply
    Haven Broady
    March 9, 2017 at 6:33 AM

    I love this idea! I’m currently thinking through how this would work in my smallish, shared room! Have you implemented any centers for language kiddos yet?

    1. Reply
      March 11, 2017 at 10:38 AM

      I haven’t! I ended up switching jobs and now work full time in a middle school. I think it would be possible depending on the student group though. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

  10. Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 7:55 PM

    I have started doing centers for my 1st and 2nd grade artic students. I like it so far but I’ve run into the problem that a lot of my students can’t always read their artic word or determine what the picture is, so when they are working at their stations they are either practicing the wrong word or constantly asking for my help, which then interrupts my one on one time with another student. Have you run into this problem at all?

    1. Reply
      September 29, 2017 at 8:39 AM

      Glad you’re liking centers so far! For some students, I have to put forth more effort in finding activities they can be taught to do independently. I might need to pull them out for quick teaching sessions to get them in a routine and to explicitly teach them what is expected at each station. Sometimes I have students highlight their sounds on flashcards or find words in a book and draw them. For students who can’t label the pictures, I’d reduce the number of cards and maybe drill them beforehand so they are more familiar with them. Use the same activities when they work with you 1:1 for their centers! For one student, we practiced black and white cards with me, and then they colored and practiced the same cards on their own! Hope that helps!

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