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TIPS FOR TEACHERS: STUTTERING IN THE CLASSROOM


Teachers often report difficulty in knowing what to do about a child who stutters in the classroom. Should he be expected to give oral reports, read out loud, or answer questions? Should you talk to her about her speech or ignore it? What should you do if other children tease?


To begin, usually it is advisable for you to talk with the child privately. Explain that when talking--just like when learning other skills--we sometimes make mistakes. We bobble sounds, repeat, or get tangled up on words. With practice we im- prove. Explain that you are his teacher and that his stuttering is okay with you.


By talking to the child in this way, you help him learn that you are aware of his stuttering and that you accept it--and him.


ASKING QUESTIONS As you are asking questions in the


classroom, you can do certain things to make it easier for a child who stutters.


1. Initially, until he adjusts to the class, ask him questions that can be answered with relatively few words.


2. If every child is going to be asked a question, call on the child who stutters fairly early. Tension and worry can build up the longer she has to wait her turn.


3. Assure the whole class that they will have as much time as they need to answer all questions.


4. Assure the whole class that you are interested in having them take time and think through their answers, not just answer quickly.


READING ALOUD


Many children who stutter are able to handle oral reading tasks in the classroom satisfactorily, particularly if they are encouraged to practice at home. There will be some, however, who will stutter severely while reading aloud in class. The following suggestions may help these children.


Most children who stutter are fluent when reading in unison with someone else. Rather than not calling on the child who stutters, let him have his turn with one of the other children. Let the whole class read in pairs sometimes so that the child who stutters doesn't feel "special." Gradually he may become more confident and be able to manage reading out loud on his own.


For more great tips for in and out of the classroom, visit stutteringhelp.org


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