In the past, I’ve written about a speech therapy idea that consisted of chattin’ about unusual town names with your speech therapy students. Every single time I’ve done this during a therapy session with kiddos, it always generated a large amount of awesome conversation. So because that speech therapy idea was such a hit, I decided to expand upon it. And when I say the word “expand,” I mean that word literally. Expand. As in, to make longer. Much longer!
Let’s focus on VERY long town names.
Did you know that the longest town name in the world is one that’s found on the North Island of New Zealand? This town name is a whopping 85 letters long and it sure is a mouthful. Check out the town’s name over at its Wikipedia page and give this YouTube video a watch to hear the pronunciation of it.
Or how about this town in the United Kingdom?
If you’ve ever heard someone speaking about the town called Llanfair, just know that Llanfair is not its real name. Llanfair is the shortened version. The real version is a staggering 58 letters long. Check out the town’s full name over at its Wikipedia page and listen in awe as a skilled weatherman beautifully articulates the town’s full name on live television in this YouTube video.
Have you ever heard of this lake in Massachusetts?
Some people call it Lake Webster because it’s in Webster, Massachusetts, but did you know that it’s real name isn’t Lake Webster? It’s actually a word that is 45 letters long and such a blast to say. Don’t believe me? Listen to this newscaster talking about it in this YouTube video and while you’re at it, read up on the lake over at its Wikipedia page.
Why focus on VERY long names?
It’s all about the articulation. When we present our students with location names that are super long, the chances of these names containing at least one instance of the students’ target sound is extremely high. And in all honestly, it’s not too uncommon to hear a specific sound appear three, four, or even five times within one of these long names. So your students will have lots of opportunities to practice properly articulating while attempting to read one of these long location names out loud.
Why else focus on VERY long names?
Because it’s fun! Like, REALLY fun. Because here’s the thing, I know you’ll absolutely agree with me when I say that articulation practice can get SO boring sometimes. I mean for example, let’s take the /R/ sound. If we have a kiddo working on the /R/, we usually have him or her say words like rabbit, rocket, rainbow, etc. Been there. Done that. But now you can go to this long list of long names and throw a word like Rhosllannerchrugog into the mix (that’s a village in the United Kingdom). I dare you to try to say Rhosllannerchrugog without cracking a smile. See! I told you it was fun! Am I right?! Hooray for fun articulation practice!
In closing . . .
There are hundreds of different ways to introduce long town names into a speech therapy session. Let your imagination run wild and give this idea, or some variation of it, a try. Oh, and if long town names aren’t quite your thing, don’t worry because I got your back. How about this list of the shortest place names? HAHA! So much fun. I love my job.