Speech Therapy Forum


A to Z, Jr.


Objectives     [back to top]

Receptive Language

Students will increase word finding abilities by naming items in a given category during a given time period.  Students will demonstrate the ability to identify items in a given category.

Expressive Language

Students will develop the ability to name items according to a given category.


Students will use fluency enhancing techniques, such as light articulatory contacts, easy onset of phonation, or prolongations, at the single word level. *

Phonemic Awareness

Students will increase their ability to identify word initial sounds/letters in orally presented words. 

*Note:  It is recommended that the timer not be used with your students with fluency disorders.


Product Description     [back to top]

A to Z, Jr. is one of my favorite categorizing games because, not only does it encourage children to name items in very specific categories, but it also helps them to increase their phonemic awareness skills at the same time. 

This game is very simple for children to play and exciting at the same time since students complete against each other as they try to be the first to cover up all of the letters in the alphabet. A to Z, Jr. comes with 4 colorful, plastic game boards, red plastic marker chips, a timer, and a whole list of category cards.

The categories range from the very simple, such as colors to more complicated such as animals with spots.  A to Z, Jr. is one of my favorite categorizing games because, not only does it help children to come up with items in very specific categories quickly, but it also helps to increases phonemic awareness and sound/symbol association by encouraging students to think about the letters that spoken words begin with.    

Because A to Z, Jr. has so many different types of categories, it lends itself well to both speech and language therapy.  This game is also a good one for parents to play with their children at home since older siblings can be encouraged to answer the more challenging questions and younger students can answer the easier ones. 

The only problem is that there are not really enough cards.  The solution to this problem is to “steal” cards from your other category games, such as Outburst, Outburst, Jr., or Scattegories.   

In addition, this game has one a bunch of awards, such as:

  • Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products 2004
  • 2004 iParenting Media Award Winner
  • 2004 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award Winner

This game comes with 4 colorful, plastic games boards, each with every letter in the alphabet on it, 100 plastic disks, 56 category cards, a flip over timer, and 1 die.  In many ways this game is similar to Outburst and Outburst, Jr. but the letter boards complicate the categorization task since students are only allowed to cover up the letters for which they can name an item in one of their chosen categories. 

For example, one of the categories in this game is:  ANIMALS WITH STRIPES.  If the students names Zebra and Monkey, he is able to cover up the Z and M respectively on his letter board whereas if he names Giraffe he would cover up the G (not the J).  Another category is LAKES.  For this topic, the student might come up with Superior for which he would cover up the S space and Michigan.  However, if he has already covered up the M space when he named a Monkey, he cannot cover up a space for that particular lake.    

A to Z, Jr. is a fantastic game for your students who are reluctant talkers because so much of You'll need to know more than just your ABCs in this alphabetically zany game! In fact, you'll need to be pretty quick with the entire alphabet, including those pesky XYZs! Players roll a die, and then have 30 seconds to list as many different answers for a specific category as possible.

Each answer must begin with a different letter of the alphabet. Mark off letters on your tracking board for each right answer. But watch out, as other players can sometimes remove your marks by answering their own categories! First one to fill their board wins! the game relies on drawing.  In many ways this game is similar to pictionary.


Therapy in Action     [back to top]

This is one of the easiest games ever to play for therapy because it requires very little advance planning and can be played either in individual therapy or in a group.  The only possible challenge is to pick out the question cards that are appropriate to use with the ages and language skills of the students you are seeing for therapy.

Each student gets a colored gameboard and a handful of marker chips.  Students take turns naming items in given categories, such as animals you see at the zoo, or fruits.  The catch is that once they have to name at least one item for every letter of the alphabet before they can fill up their gameboard.  For example, if a student names “tiger” he would place the marker on the T, if he names “orange” he would cover up the O.  The first player to cover up all of their letters is the winner of the game.  This game may also be played in teams. 

This game may be modified to use with your bilingual student.  To modify, simply give them the category in their native language.  I would make any letters that do not apply to their native language “free spaces” where they may cover them up if they name an item of the appropriate category. 

Where to Buy >>>  www.areyougame.com/AtoZ


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About the Author
Speech Therapy
Voice Disorders
Phonological Disorders
Language Therapy
Asking/Answering Questions
Story Telling
Problem Solving
Critical Listening
Word Finding
Cause & Effect
Predicting Outcomes
Comparing & Contrasting
Following & Giving Directions