Speech Therapy -> Receptive Language -> Multiple Meanings

Multiple Meanings

Many words in the English language have multiple meanings (estimated at 50% of words). Teaching children about multiple meaning words encourages them to cross check meaning with the context of the sentence, which is a vocabulary learning strategy. Teaching multiple representations of one word may help increase the likelihood that a student will remember the word.

Reference links

  • How to Target Multiple Meaning Words In Speech Therapy 1
    Author: @slpnow - In this week's podcast episode, Marisha reviews the evidence related to the assessment and treatment of multiple meaning words.
  • Multiple Meanings: Theory, Research and Teaching Tips 1
    Author: Susan Ebbers - Learning about the multiple meanings of words (e.g., to find -- a find) is included in the new and widely adopted Common Core Standards for English Language Arts. For example, the excerpt below was lifted from the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language. This anchor standard is identical for Grades K-5 and 6-12 and applies also to ELLs (English Language Learners).
  • The 100 Most Important Multiple Meaning Words Kids Need to Know | K5 Learning 1
    K5 Learning highlights the top 100 most important multiple meaning words.
  • Assessing Children's Knowledge of Multiple Meaning Words 1
    Knowledge of multiple meaning words is important for oral and written communication. This research concerned the assessment of such knowledge. Elementary school children with language-learning diff...
  • Modeling the Acquisition of Words With Multiple Meanings 3
    Author: Libby Barak; Sammy Floyd; Adele Goldberg - Learning vocabulary is essential to successful communication. Complicating this task is the underappreciated fact that most common words are associated with multiple senses (are polysemous) (e.g., baseball cap vs. cap of a bottle), while other words are homonymous, evoking meanings that are unrelated to one another (e.g., baseball bat vs. flying bat). Models of human word learning have thus far failed to represent this level of naturalistic complexity. We extend a feature-based computational model to allow for multiple meanings, while capturing the gradient distinction between polysemy and homonymy by using structured sets of features. Results confirm that the present model correlates better with human data on novel word learning tasks than the existing feature-based model.

Activity List(s)

Visual Schedule Cards

Related Disorder(s)

  • Receptive Language Disorder - A child with receptive language disorder has difficulties with understanding what is said to them. The symptoms vary between children but, generally, problems with language comprehension begin before the age of three years. Children need to understand spoken language before they can use language to express themselves.

Goal Bank

  • Sadye will receptively identify and define abstract or figurative language, idioms, and multiple meaning words in context independently with 80% accuracy across 3 treatment sessions to improve language comprehension. 1
  • Fred will demonstrate receptive understanding of age-appropriate vocabulary words with fading prompts with 90% accuracy over 3 consecutive sessions to increase receptive language skills. 4


  • Gumball Machine With Gumballs preview

    Gumball Machine With Gumballs

    Jessica Lenden-Holt

    Gumball machine with blank gumballs. Can be modified to use as reinforcer, language, or articulation activity.