Many children with language delays have trouble remembering to include word endings that change the meaning of a word. The possessive ‘s is no exception. It is the word ending that indicates that the subject of the sentence belongs to a person. For example, “Abby’s boot” or “Carrie’s head”. Here’s a simple process for teaching your child to include the possessive ‘s in his speech:
Possessive ‘s Step 1: Whose Pile?
To start with, sit down with your child and give him a pile of something (blocks, snack, candy, books, etc.). Give yourself a pile as well. Point to your child’s pile and say “whose is this?” Have your child say his name with the plural ‘s (like “Andy’s”). Then, point to your own pile. Say “whose is this?” (“Mommy’s”). Make sure he gets the ‘s on there but as soon as your child starts to get this concept, go ahead and move onto step two. We’d rather him not be talking about himself in the 3rd person any longer than he has to, it just helps to start with something personal.
Possessive ‘s Step 2: Whose is it?
Now we’ll move on to talking about possessions in pictures. Show your child a picture of someone that she knows holding an object. Ask your child whose ___ the object is. For example, if Sally is holding a ball, you might say “whose ball is that?” and your child should say “Sally’s”. If your child forgets the ‘s, make sure you model it for her so she can imitate it back with all of the sounds. Once your child gets better at that, see if she can use it in a sentence, such as “that’s Sally’s ball”.
Possessive ‘s Step 3: Questions Throughout Your Day
Now that your child can use possessive ‘s while describing pictures, we want him to start doing it when you ask him questions throughout his day. As him questions like “where are we going?” (Grandma’s house) or whose jacket is this? (Daddy’s Jacket). Keep asking these until your child remembers his ‘s every time.
Possessive ‘s Step 4: Correcting in Conversation
The last step is to just correct those few possessive ‘s that your child leaves off in conversation. If you hear one, gently remind her to use all of her sounds.
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Where to Find More Info:
This guide, along with 38 others, is included in Ms. Carrie’s E-Book: Speech and Language Therapy Guide: Step-By-Step Speech Therapy Activities to Teach Speech and Language Skills At Home or In Therapy. This guide includes detailed information on teaching various speech and language skills, including this one, along with worksheets, handouts, sample IEP goals, data collection, and video demonstrations. For more information, click the button below: