Expressive and Receptive
Language Exercises to
Practice at Home

This page provides you with a list of expressive and receptive language exercises you can use at home to help improve your communication skills.

When presenting home exercises, remember these general rules:

Expressive skills require a person to say the answers.

Language Exercises on DVD

Receptive skills are challenged by demonstrating an understanding of the answers.

Receptive skills sometimes require spoken answers, but other times they simply require pointing to an appropriate object or picture.

We have provided examples of receptive language exercises to give you a good idea of how you can use pictures and objects to manipulate each exercise to challenge a person's comprehension level.

This list will allow you to develop your own expressive and receptive language exercises to enhance your current therapy.

Expressive and Receptive Language Exercises:


1. Naming Opposites

This is a simple exercise you can use to start the day. It's a great "warm-up" activity. Create a list of ten words and then ask for the opposite of each one.

Once the list is mastered you can create a new one. Remember to keep it challenging, but not too difficult. If your loved one can only give you an antonym for two out of ten words, you might want to choose new words for your list.

Expressive and Receptive Language exercises for Antonyms:

Examples to elicit expressive responses:

  • Easy: What is the opposite of up?
  • Moderate: What is the opposite of full?
  • Difficult: What is the opposite of accept?

To make this a receptive exercise (which will include prepositions) you will have to present objects and manipulate them to demonstrate different positions.

For example, to demonstrate the prepositions; in, on, and beside, you can use a box and two spoons.

First, place one spoon on the box and the other spoon beside the box.

Ask, "Which spoon is on the box?"

Have your loved one attempt to choose the appropriate spoon. Remember to always praise their effort whether the answer is right or wrong.

As you change the location of the spoons you will challenge your loved one's understanding of each preposition or antonym provided (in, out, on, off, beside, behind, in front).

You can also increase the difficulty of each question by increasing the number of objects used (in this case they were spoons).

For example, you can use three spoons - one in the box, beside the box, and on the box. Then ask, "which spoon is beside the box?"

With a little creativity you can create a variety of expressive and receptive language exercises using antonyms (opposites).

2. Yes/No Questions

Presenting questions that require a simple "yes" or "no" answer is a great activity to stimulate auditory processing or reasoning skills.

Create a list of 8-10 questions and present them at a normal speaking rate. Give your loved one enough time to respond.

Yes/No Examples:

  • Easy: Does glass break?
  • Moderate: Are all cars the same size?
  • Difficult: Is California on the east coast?

3. Word Finding

Word finding activities are used to assist in word recall. Through a variety of word finding techniques the patient can practice strategies that can help word retrieval.

A great way to practice this at home is to say a sentence and leave the last word out. It's best if the missing word is a person, place, or thing.

Expressive and Receptive Language exercises for Word Finding:

Expressive Word Finding Examples:

  • Easy: Wash your hands with soap and ...
  • Moderate: I sewed my pants with a needle and ...
  • Difficult: The Eiffel Tower is in ...

To modify this activity into a receptive vocabulary exercise, provide three or four pictures of objects (cut out pictures from newspapers and magazines) and then ask your loved one to point to one of them.

Easy example: "Point to the picture that shows a purse."

Difficult example: "Point to the person that's disappointed."

Word finding difficulty is a common deficit associated with aphasia. Frequent practice of expressive and receptive exercises will help improve an individual's naming abilities.

4. Synonyms

Listing words that have similar meanings is also a good exercise to help increase word knowledge. However, some expressive and receptive language exercises can be very challenging. This is one of them.

When creating a list of synonyms be careful not to make them too difficult. It is recommended that your list of synonyms be no more than six words.

Remember - there are often more than one or two right answers.

Synonym Examples:

  • Easy: Another word that means the same as, warm
  • Moderate: Another word that means the same as, under
  • Difficult: Another word that means the same as, many

5. Categories

This is a great activity to practice expressive and receptive language exercises.

You can approach this exercise in two ways:

a) Give a list of words and have your loved one provide the category they belong to.

b) Provide a category and have your loved one list items that belong to it.

Expressive and Receptive Language exercises for Categories:

Expressive Category Examples:

  • Easy: Apples, oranges, and pears belong to what category?
  • Moderate: Oak, pine, and maple belong to what category?
  • Difficult: Name three things that are containers.

To make this a receptive exercise, provide pictures of different foods and ask; "which one is a fruit?"

Or, show pictures of several containers and ask; "which one holds garbage?"

6. Auditory Processing

This exercise involves presenting questions that require your loved one to listen carefully, comprehend the information, and respond accurately.

Auditory Processing Examples:

  • Easy: Which is faster, a car or a bicycle?
  • Moderate: What holiday is celebrated in November?
  • Difficult: Name a shape that doesn't have angles.

7. Functional Naming

This activity asks the patient for the function of an item. You name an item and have your loved one explain what it's used for.

Functional Naming Examples:

  • Easy: A Painting - do you bend it or hang it?
  • Moderate: What do you do with a napkin?
  • Difficult: What do you do with a compass?

8. Inferences

This is a great activity for higher level thinking. It requires a patient to "assume" what an answer might be based on indirect information.

Inference Examples:

  • Easy: Mike ordered a hamburger and french fries.

    Did he order breakfast or lunch?

  • Moderate: Joe uses a stick that he holds with one hand. He uses it to assist him with walking.

    What is Joe using?

  • Difficult: Looking through the two lenses gave Harry a much closer view of the football game.

    What was he looking through?

9. Auditory Comprehension

For this exercise you will read a passage to your loved one. When you finish, ask one or more questions about the information you just read.

This activity challenges memory, understanding, attention, and processing skills.

  • Easy: Lori was sick with the flu.

    What was Lori sick with?

  • Moderate: Mary's best friend lives in a mansion. She loves to visit her friend because they run through the large rooms playing hide-and-seek.

    Who lives in the mansion?
    What do they play there?

  • Difficult: Brenda went grocery shopping before work. She took her lunch, purse, and coffee as she left. When she arrived at the grocery store she filled her basket with the things she needed.

    When did Brenda go shopping?
    What drink did she take with her?
    Where did she put her groceries while shopping?

Find out how to effectively use this list of expressive and receptive language exercises to improve your communication skills at home.

Speech and language therapy shouldn't end when your session is over. It is to your benefit to incorporate expressive and receptive language exercises in your daily routine.

A Lifetime of Learning

If you have a speech and/or language disorder, think of yourself as a student returning to college. This time around, you'll need to learn, or re-learn your speech and language skills.

Just as a student of any age needs to do homework on a daily basis, so does an individual who has a speech and language disorder. Expressive and receptive language exercises are your homework.

Homework is your key to success.

Study, practice, review. Then repeat the process. Do this over and over again until your skills are advanced enough to use with competence.

That is how we learn.

The key is to keep your brain active and stimulated. Give those nerve cells and brain cells a chance to continue growing through activities for your body and mind.

Whether you're learning material for the first time or re-learning material for a second time, you need to employ daily practice in order to see significant results.

All the Professional Exercises you
just read about are Now Available
on Video!

All of the exercises on this page, plus many more, can be found in one convenient source:

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Expressive and Receptive Language Exercises

Easy-to-use, affordable, and highly effective, these state-of-the-art videos are the latest breakthrough in
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Click the link below to start improving your speech and language skills today!

Professional Expressive and Receptive Language Exercises on DVD and VHS



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