When working with a preschooler with word finding difficulties, I design my lessons around the vocabulary that she experiences most often in their everyday activities. Using the words to describe and tell stories, draw pictures and explain them, all give the child the opportunity to improve retrieval of basic vocabulary.
Yesterday, we read Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, by Cari Best. Sally Jeans life is chronicled by the bikes that she has ridden on from sitting on the seat behind her mom, to a tricycle, to training wheels to…oh, no. She has outgrown her bike and doesn’t have the funds to buy a new one. Getting the parts from her junkyard friend, she assembles her new bike. My little girl had just gotten a new bike and compared the parts that Sally Jean had to those on her bike (she didn’t have streamers but did have a basket!) She drew this lovely picture of her bike and names the parts, which can be hard for her. Note the basket with her stuffed bunny in it and the streamers coming out of the handlebars.) As we used the vocabulary of bikes, outside fun and family and friends, she re-told the story, and compared the bike to her own.
Using useful vocabulary within categories helps with word retrieval as she rehearses using the words in many contexts.