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Word Fluency Exercise

It can be very fascinating for some children who can name a list of things verbally without any problem, but when asked to do it in writing will do so much worse. There are other children who cannot give a list of things verbally or in written form. Being able to list things in written form can be an important skill in creative writing. It can be part of the brain storming activity before thoughts become written on paper.

The purpose of this exercise is to get participants more fluent and making lists of things that have something in common. For example, the list could be as many animals that the participant can name in 60 seconds. It could be as many colors that can be named in 60 seconds. It could be as difficult as naming as many State Capitols of the United States. The goal of this exercise is for the participant to easily name and/or write lists. The overall goal is to have the participant be close to equally strong in verbal word fluency and written word fluency. It is normal to have participants be able to verbally list more than they can write because of the length of time it takes to write words on paper.

The only materials needed for this exercise is a pencil or pen, a stop watch and something to write on. There is also a List of Topics for this exercise presented in levels of difficulty.

Step by Step Instructions: Word Fluency Exercise.

1. Have two topics for the participant to generate a list. For example, if the topic is fish, the participant's list may include: tuna, gold fish, guppy, snapper, dolphin, whale, shrimp, bass, trout, cat fish, etc. You can use topics from the List of Topics handout. Choose two that are near the same level of difficulty. Feel free to use topics that are not on the List of Topics.

2. Of the two lists, pick what you consider to be the hardest of the two and allow the participant 60 seconds to vocalize as many responses that are within that topic. Count all the non-repeating responses. The responses have to be within that topic (If fish was the topic, cat fish would count and dolphin would count but bison would not count because a bison could not be classified as a fish, while most people would say that a dolphin is a type of fish, even though it is really a mammal). The number of unique responses becomes that person's verbal score and it is the score to try to beat at the next time this exercise is used.

3. The participant is to write as many responses as possible for the easier of the two topics. Give them 60 seconds to generate their list. All the unique responses are counted and the repeated responses are not counted. The number of unique responses becomes that person's written score and it is the score to try and beat the next exposure to this exercise.

4. Discuss with the participant how the exercise went, and what he or she thinks that could be done next time to improve the score.

5. This is the most important step of this exercise. Have the participant identify other responses for the two list that he or she did not think of while the clock was running.

6. This is the end of the exercise, repeat the exercise often (every day for at least a month (5 or 6 times in a week). Mastery is achieved when the child is able to generate written words as fast as same age peers.

Exercise:Word Fluency Exercise.

Time: about 5 to 10 minutes.

Recommended Frequency: once a day, 5 or 6 days a week until step 6 has been mastered.

Materials Needed: A pencil or pen, lined paper, a stop watch and the List of Topics.

Pretest Assessment: A parent can have a bunch of friends over, do this exercise with all the same age friends and if your child is significantly worse than peers, then this exercise may be helpful. The child with the highest score becomes the goal for mastery.

Mastery: the participant is able to match the highest score of the same age child that took the pretest.

Additional comments: The verbal portion of this exercise can be practiced even while riding in a car. It can help them improve processing speed. Children with very weak processing speed may wish to practice other processing speed exercises while they master this one.

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