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Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple Review by Kathy Gelzer

Deborah Lott
Super Star DML Publishing
2702 Gawain Rd.
Huntsville, AL 35803

Since all three of my children have trouble with one to two speech sounds each, I was eager to review this product and be able to help them at home. Super Star Speech is a vinyl three-ring binder full of instructions and activities for teaching your child how to articulate sounds correctly. Deborah Lott has a master's degree in Speech Language Pathology. She is also a homeschool mother of four. There is a very encouraging one-page introduction in which the author says that she expects parents of children in her private practice to work with their children at home: "Because of their ability to provide consistent daily practice, parents are in an excellent position to correct their children's speech sound errors at home."

Super Star Speech is a thorough, all-inclusive speech therapy program. Not only does it contain instructions for all the problem speech sounds, the games are included as well. The book is suitable for ages three and up. But the author points out in her introduction that many children don't have perfect articulation until age seven.

After the introduction, there is an articulation test and directions on how to administer it. The test form categorizes the sounds according to the age at which most children have mastered them. This helps parents understand which sounds need to be worked on and which ones are likely to "self-correct" with maturity. I like the tone of the book. The author doesn't hold her expertise over the reader but acknowledges that parents know their children well. "The test may be omitted if you are certain that your child only has one or two error sounds and you therefore already know which sounds to begin teaching."

The next chapter is entitled "Speech Therapy," which is three pages of teaching instruction, including five therapy steps and a list of general tips. Following this is "Specific Sound Instructions," which indeed gives specific instruction on how the sound is produced, tips for getting the child to produce the sound correctly, and word lists for each sound. I have read whatever I can find on correct pronunciation of sounds, and Super Star Speech contains more helps than anything I've yet seen. Many suggestions are given, so if one method doesn't seem to produce results, there are many other approaches to try.

Finally, there is a list of games and activities to make speech therapy fun for you and your child. Five games are provided in the Super Star Speech book itself. There is a set of two-inch square picture sound cards, which are printed in black on light blue cardstock. My kids loved playing "concentration/memory" with these and got lots of practice with their target sounds. There are also four board games, two printed on regular paper and two printed on cardstock, and nine activity sheets for children to complete. Finally, there is a short bibliography and blank masters for creating lesson plans and testing your child.

Super Star Speech is not designed to help parents whose children have speech problems like stuttering or language delay or problems stemming from hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, or cleft palate. These situations require a professional speech pathologist. For normal articulation problems, the first step is to perform the included articulation test if necessary and write out a therapy lesson plan based on one or two sounds. Because speech therapy is an individualized process, specific lesson plans are not included. However, everything is provided so that parents can confidently write their own lesson plans.

The five therapy steps are: teaching the sound in isolation, teaching the sound at the beginning of words, teaching the sound at the middle and final positions of words, drilling the sound in sentences, and finally producing the sound in conversation. Fifteen-minute daily sessions at most are recommended to work with your child on articulation, with the inclusion of games or other fun activities. It is recommended that you assess the child's progress every third lesson, and instructions for this are provided. When 90% accuracy is achieved in one of the five therapy steps, you can move on to the next step. When all five steps have been completed, you move on to a new sound.

The book is well organized, and the pages have a pleasant and easy-to-read layout. The instructions are concise, so you can get right to it. My one complaint is that the pages don't fit in the binder very well. When you try to turn the pages, they jam in the rings and tear. What is needed is either a binder with bigger rings and/or pages punched with bigger holes closer to the edge of the page.

Super Star Speech is a kind and thoughtful "gift" from the author to parents of children with speech problems. There are very few speech therapy programs out there for the layman, and even many speech therapy websites are geared to the professional. Compared to what I have seen, this book is less expensive and more user friendly.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2007