10 Games for Middle School Speech Therapy


So, if you have been following me, you know that I have stepped into the world of middle school this year. Two days a week I hang out with the "I'm too cool for school" crowd... just kidding... sort of. While my middle school students are mostly sweet and funny, sometimes I am just one more person trying to make them do work and speech is just one more thing taking away their study hall time. Some days, I can tell that speech is just NOT where they want to be. I get it. Many of them  have to have extra reading classes, constantly have working lunch instead of getting to just hang out with their friends like other students, their study halls are taken away to go receive extra help (or speech), and some even have after school resource time. On days where I can tell that my students have just had too much, I set my plans aside and pull out something a little less stressful: a board game. Now mind you, the games still allow the students to practice their language skills - it's just a little more low key and more fun. Here are some games that I have found to be a hit with my middle schoolers while still focusing on language and pragmatic skills. {Affiliate links provided for your convenience}

I play this game the traditional way, as well as backwards by having the students give adjectives to label the noun. It's a great game for working on descriptions as well as defending opinions. 

I love In a Pickle! It's a fun way to talk about word relationships as well as more defending opinions. 

Keep your eyes peeled fro Cranium's Whoonu at a thrift shop - it is a fun game for a social skills group. It helps students get to know each other and gets them talking about topics other than Minecraft and video games (which I now know far more about than I ever wanted to know).

Bubble Talk is a fantastic game for students working on understanding facial expression, perspective taking, and making inferences. Definitely an essential for your middle school supply arsenal.

You've Been Sentenced was another great thrift shop find. Students must use the words on the pentagon shaped cards to make a grammatically correct coherent sentence. The other players act as judges and must give a yay or nay to the sentence, which means everybody is actively involved.

I first played Man Bites Dog when another SLP brought it into the office at the rehab facility I work at part time. After playing it, I had to have it for my middle schoolers! Students work on creating headlines using the cards they are given. It is great for targeting word order and vocabulary. I also add a rule that the students must state 3 details that could be included to target main idea vs details.

I recently purchased Funglish and it has been a big hit with my competitive students. Students must use word tiles to describe a word while others attempt to guess the word. The only thing I don't like about this game is the timer can be a little short for some of my students who are low readers. I just used the timer on my cell phone to give them a little bit more time. 

I lucked out and found Moods already in my therapy room at school. It is great for my students working on understanding and expressing emotions. Students are given a sentence and must say it with a given emotion (which usually the sentence does not match the expected emotion). The other students try to guess the emotion based on the student's tone of voice and body language.

Another lucky find from the SLP who was at my middle school before me: Blurt. This game is great for word finding and vocabulary building. Students are given a definition and then must come up with a word to match the definition. I take away the racing component and have all students write down an answer they think works and then give points. Otherwise I find that some of my students just cannot keep up.

Say the Word is a different style game in that it is a cooperative game. The students must work together to win the game instead of playing against each other. I like this because it forces my students to communicate with each other and work together as a team. In this game, students must create a story using words on a cards that are drawn. Each person must start from the beginning of the story and then add on a part of the story when it gets to their turn. If they forget a part of the story, the other students can give clues (the directions say to act out the clues, but you know - its speech. I have the students give clues without saying the word). I also add a rule that the students must include story grammar elements to form a complete story instead of random events with no clear story line. This game is great for working as a team, auditory memory, and narrative language.

Do you work with older students? Comment and share what your favorite language games are!




  1. My students enjoy the "Would You Rather" game.

  2. I love "Stare" for working on teaching visual imagery and study skills strategies. Thanks for these suggestions, I hadn't heard of about half of these!

  3. I like using "Stare" to help teach visual imagery and developing study skills strategies.

  4. 5 Second Rule is a good game for categories. They must name 3 things in a given category within 5 seconds. (I often give 10 seconds.)

    Also, Last Word, students must call out items in a given category. If their word is the last when the random timer buzzes they get to move their game piece on the board. Good for multiple skill levels because a player does not need the most answers, just the last one before the buzzer sounds.

  5. Anonymous8/26/2019

    Great post. Thank you.