Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: Super Star Speech

When I first saw Super Star Speech as a vendor for the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was not all that excited.  I did not think I needed it.  I wished it had been available when my oldest was younger though.

But a funny thing happened.  We started having a lot of difficulty in understanding Katrina's speech.  We were constantly having to ask her to repeat herself, and often relying on her big brothers to figure out for us just what she was saying.  Dale, out of the blue, said, "Do we need to get her into speech therapy?"

So, I waited for March, and tried doing some things with Katrina to model the correct way to make sounds.  And when I had the chance to receive products, I was thrilled to get the following e-books:
  • Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple
  • Super Star R & L
  • Super Star Ch, J and Th
  • Super Star S, Z and Sh
Basically, Debbie Lott, a licensed speech language pathologist, has written the above manuals to help parents to work with their children on articulation issues.  The books lay out a straight-forward, easy for parents to understand method to evaluate what sounds your child needs to work with, and then gives suggestions for working on those sounds.

We dug in, I read through the intro materials, and we (Dale & I) sat Trina down to do the initial assessment.  And we were shocked to discover that Trina did incredibly well on the assessment.  The sounds are tested pretty much in the order that children generally master them, and the first sound Trina missed was the /l/ sound... which she should master as a 5 year old.

We went ahead and tested other kids too... Richard (almost 6 at the time) was perfect, and Thomas (age 9... with some hearing issues, which is why I wanted to test him, just to be sure I wasn't missing anything with him) nailed everything too.

So, in trying to figure out what Trina's speech issues are, we have concluded two things:
  1. Her next oldest brother has had such perfect articulation seemingly forever that we have an unrealistic expectation as to what is normal; and
  2. She tends to use sophisticated vocabulary, so those normal articulation issues are magnified.
What I did was to read through the materials that I now own for the /l/ sound, and I am very, very informally working with Trina on that sound.  Only because she gets frustrated when people don't understand her.  And the R & L book is going to be great for that... the beauty of the specialized books is that they have more games and are just more fun.

What do I think?  Well, I feel guilty for asking for all four books when it turns out we didn't need the advanced ones anyway.  But I am thrilled to be able to relax about whether or not Trina needs help.  

And my advice?  If you have a child who you think maybe needs some speech help, I would highly recommend getting the first Super Star Speech book.  The e-book is only $12.95, and even though it turns out that we didn't "need" it, I would say that purchasing it would have been worth every single penny.  After doing the assessment, you can purchase specific letter books, also $12.95 for the ebooks.  Or if you know for sure that you need more, there is a bundle available that saves you money.

We did have a couple of issues with this, though.  In the assessment, you have a page of pictures, and the child is supposed to say the picture without hearing it from you first.  Some of the pictures were a bit difficult, especially for a younger child.  We had to give hints to Trina to get her to say "peanut," "potato," and "orange" in particular.  Other than having color in the pictures, I'm not sure how to improve them.  But I wanted to mention it.

Tomorrow, I'll be blogging about the other side of the Super Star Speech product line -- their games.  I'll try to remember to come back in and link it.

And you can check out what my fellow crewmates have to say about Super Star Speech, both the speech program and their games, at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive ebooks for free from the publisher.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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Debbie said...

Thanks for your review! I enjoyed reading about your experiences with Super Star Speech.

Marie said...

Hi Debra,
I enjoyed reading your review. I do have a question about my ds. He's 4.5 and still struggles with /l/ /k/ /r/ and /g/. I'm sure there may be others along with some diagraphs as well. That's alot isn't it? I wonder if SSS would be helpful for us, since he has so many sound issues, or if she recommends speech therepy for children with lots of trouble? He's still young so I know he could improve on his own and I was thinking maybe I could help him along. I believe he's dyslexic just like his older brother and his older brother didn't master /l/ until he was 7! He still has trouble with /th/ and so does his father.
So basically my question is, does she address the issue of severity? Does SSS have a target group that it was written for, or is it supposed to help anyone?
Thanks for the great to read about the games =)

Debra said...

Marie -- I would think that Super Star Speech would be fantastic for you. I don't have speech issues with my dyslexic kiddos, but I would think doing something to work on those earlier rather than later could only help.

For your 4.5 year old, the only sounds you listed that he "should" have mastered at this point are /k/ and /g/.

The basic idea is to do the assessment, and then pick one sound (of those he "should" know) to work on. I would think either /k/ or /g/ would be fine... I'd pick based on things like his name, or the name of his friends, or something.

I guess my theory on this is: for $13, you are at least going to get a grasp on which sounds do need work, and you have a chance to try helping him. If it doesn't work and he does need professional speech therapy, you'll have a grasp on why they are doing what they are doing. And you'll be able to work with him at home to supplement the regular therapy.

For another $13, you could purchase the book that includes the /th/ sounds and work with big brother.

I would go for it.

Debbie said...


Debra gave you an excellent answer. Because of your son's age, many of those errors are within normal limits and he would probably be considered to have a mild or mild-to-moderate articulation delay, although errors with K and G can make a child very difficult to understand. I would work on K and G first (at the same time--they are similar sounds). I think you would find Super Star Speech helpful for both of your children.