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Categories- A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

Do you want a way to help your clients expand their vocabularies and improve their describing skills?  If so, work on categorization.


When things are organized, you can find what you need quickly and know where things go once you’ve obtained them.  The same is true for linguistic organization.  Understanding how things go together allows us to better learn and recall new concepts and vocabulary words.  Knowing the names of categories can also increase our ability to describe.  For my clients with limited vocabularies, I work on categorization to help them see how things fit together and to give them a basis on which to build new concepts.

Step by step

Like with any new skill, it is important to progress in a sequential, step by step manner. Take the child from what he knows and build up to the next level.  You may want to first check if the child can already identify categories by skipping to step 3.  If he can do this, progress from there.  If not, begin at step 1.

The steps for teaching categories:

  1. match
  2. sort
  3. identify (receptive)
  4. name (expressive)

Use pictures of items that belong in various categories.  First, teach the child to match a picture to its group.  When that is achieved, give the child the stack of mixed up pictures and have him sort them into their categories.  After that, have him identify the categories as you name them.  Once receptive skills are mastered, teach the child to name the categories as you point to them.

Additional ideas

For a tougher task, remove the pictures.  Verbally give three items and have the child name the category, or give him the category and have him name items that belong in it.

Group game- Give one student a secret category and have him name items in it.  The rest of the group then tries to guess the category.  For a bit more competition, play this with teams and points.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. This is so true. I believe categorization and learning and working on naming members of category are key for kids to be able to retrieve vocabulary, understand relationships as well as helping with memory.

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