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Today, let’s talk artic.  Students with articulation needs make up a major portion of an SLP’s caseload. We sit and drill, play games and drill, and drill and drill and drill. Depending on how long your sessions are this can be exhausting, especially for those little ones. So what can you do to help keep sessions quick, students engaged, and progress trending upwards?  My answer,  5 Minute Kids.  This is a program my district got for us about 2 years and totally changed how I do my therapy.

A Little Background
5 Minute Kids is an evidence based articulation program. Evidence Based…it is like music to my ears. Their study showed that students time in speech therapy for articulation is almost cut in half when using the method this program has established. It is very simple, students are seen in 5 minute blocks anywhere from 2-4 times a week depending on severity.

Now I know what you are thinking, ‘What the heck can you get done in 5 minutes?’ The answer, a lot. You are doing straight drill therapy, trying to get as many productions as possible.  Keep in mind it is not a race, you want those productions to be good, or at least have the student trying to use their strategies. Now if your next thought is, “What fun is that for the kids, how will they stay engaged?” than you and I think a lot a like. Those were my questions when we first discussed getting this program in my district. Students are so focused on making productions that playing a game isn’t really a big deal. But, there are games included in the program to use.  The program really gives you everything you need, and I do mean everything. It walks you through how to set up your system, i.e. a folder for each student, etc.  There are books for all major sounds where developmental issues occur: r, s, z, f, v, l, sh, ch, th, k, and g.   These books have word lists for all the sounds listed in all positions of words and at all levels, games, data tracking forms, etc.  This definitely takes the headache out of learning a new program.

This is one of the games in the program. I laminated all the pages and cut out the pictures. Then each game is in its own envelope.

How it Works
You can have a cart or some type of mobile system that houses your books and folders.  When it comes to scheduling I found it easiest to block out 30 minute chunks of time before lunch and after lunch to see my kids. Then, you travel from room to room and pull those students into the hallway.  I usually just sit with my kids on the floor outside of their classroom ( not all of our classrooms have table areas outside the rooms ). They don’t mind being pulled into the hall either. It is usually quiet because everyone is in class.  Then you GO! My kids have learned what my expectation is when we are working on artic.  This program is great for my little ones who really can’t sit and work through a 25 minute artic session.  The teachers in my building really like ir too because the kids are not missing big chunks of class time. It is the same amount of time that it takes them to go to the bathroom and come back.

Cart is from Super Duper

Home Sweet Home
There is an ‘at home’ portion as well. Students are to say a list of ten words anywhere from 2-10 times. These homework lists are in each book, for each sound, in each position.  My students just pick how many times they want to do their list at home and work until all the boxes ( 2-10 times) are filled in. When they bring back the filled in chart they can pick a prize from my bin and I give them a new word list. Now I don’t know about you, but the majority of my students sadly to do not their speech/language homework that I send home, but at least I tried, right? With this program if they don’t do it and miss getting that extra practice it’s ok. Instead of only seeing a student once a week for 25 minutes and then waiting a whole week to see them again to work on their articulation, you see them several times a week ( depending on their minutes ).

This year I got an iPad and starting use Articulate it! by Smarty Ears to help with data tracking. Since this app has all the sounds I need I do not bring my cart with my that much any more, instead, I use the iPad with the 5 Minute Kids model. I do still use the books for the homework pages and games. I have found sending the games home is great practice for the summer and a fun way to get the whole family involved speech. 5 Minute Kids has definitely made my day easier as an SLP and my students and their families love it too 🙂

Do you use 5 Minute Kids? What do you think about it?


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Meet Maureen

Hey there! I’m Maureen Wilson, a school-base SLP who is data driven and caffeine powered. My passion is supporting other pediatric SLPs by teaching them how to harness the power of literacy and data to help their students achieve their goals…without sacrificing time they don’t have.

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20 Responses

  1. This is awesome. My district bought this program to use for RtI but I really haven’t had the time to use it yet. This just encourages me to explore it more. 🙂

    1. I looked up this program all summer long and I will be starting it on Monday! Can’t wait to see what kind of progress the kids will make. Do you really see students excelling at a faster rate?

  2. I received this program a few years back and have really enjoyed using it. I don’t exactly do it just like they say. I see most of my artic kids one time a week in a 20 minutes session and their second time (or more if needed) is a 5 minute individual session. I use the words lists from the program as well as some artic programs on my Ipad. My teachers love that I only pull for a longer session one time a week. I have seen great progress with the 5 minute sessions…enough progress that it makes me want to do away with any large artic groups. I just can’t seem to get past the idea that the kids will miss coming to the speech room for our fun activities and games. I also don’t know how I would make this schedule work with the 90 kids I have on my caseload. Do I think teachers would like to see kids just stepping out for 5 minutes…yes! The other issue is most of my IEPs read an average of 25 minutes a week. That means I would have to see them every day. Do you see artic kids in small group sessions or just for 5 minute individual sessions?

    1. I am lucky enough to be able to do the 5 minute model, however, I used do small groups before I learned the model.

  3. Could you explain further of how you used ArticulateIt!? I want to purchase the program, but need to be wary of costs. Do you think I could purchase the manual and just use ArticulateIt!? (I already have the app)


    1. Sometimes I can’t bring the books or play the games that come with the program in the hall, the iPad just works better. I will use Articulate It! in the same way I would the word lists and games that the program has. I would recommend getting the full program. Having all the lists of sounds in the all the positions and the pre-made homework, along with everything else is well worth it!

    1. I write their IEP minutes for the amount they need based on the recommendations from the 5 minute kid manual, taking into considerations for getting from class to class etc. I typically think of 10 minute blocks, instead of 5. Then for either 10-30 minutes a week of direct service time. I typically write their minutes to be services outside of the speech room since I am traveling to them at their class. I hope that helps. I should mention that I typically service artic students via RtI now. I really don’t have any students who are ‘artic only’ with an IEP.

      1. Are you still using this program/model? If they are not “artic only” with an IEP you seem them longer for their language sessions and do the quick sessions for their artic goals? thanks

        1. I am! I really like it for my artic kids. If they are mixed ( artic/lang ) I will do their direct 5 minutes first then address the language goals for the session.

  4. Our District switched to this model with our articulation students at the beginning of this school year. We purchased the 5 minute speech program and it has been AWESOME! Like you had stated, I too was worried about kids missing their “games,” etc. or finding it boring. It hasn’t even been an issue! The kids come in, we set our timer (on the iPad) and we GO! Some days I use word/phrase/sentence lists, some days we use iPad apps that I have found useful, and some days we use other activities/games that I have come across that work well for a 5-10 minute session. We get a lot of productions in in a small amount of time. I have a cart that I use and go from class to class. I have already been able to dismiss several students this year using this service model.

  5. Hello, I am thinking of writing a grant to get the 5 Minute Kids program and start changing from long duration, low frequency to shorter duration, higher frequency for my articulation challenged students. Do you still use this model for articulation? Anything else I should ask for in my grant that would help me get set up for this new way?

    5 Minute Kids manual and Therapy Books
    Artulate It! App

    1. Yes, I still use this model and really like it. Definitely the full kit and app ( it beats carrying around cards ) I would also suggest folders to keep all the information together for each kid.

  6. So this concept is new to me! I have been in the medical field and/or outpatient setting of Speech Pathology for 15 years, and now this is my second year in the school setting… I am unfamiliar with the model you are talking about (only seeing artic students in 5 minute sessions…) – I do this with my RTI kids, but have never really thought about it with my IEP kids… tell me more, please!!!

    1. You can make stations for your IEP kids if you have are having them come in groups. Have them spend 5 min at each station ( one of which is you ) and keep rotating.

  7. I work at schools that are open, each door goes outside to a courtyard. That has been the one issue that I have with going around each room and sitting outside….especially in the winter 🙂 I am glad to hear about Articulate It! which I am going to use.

  8. Hi, I am looking at a similar program for next year. I was talking to my principal who is on board, but she was concerned about confidentiality. Has this ever come up?

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