Using 5 Minute Speech Therapy in Schools

What is 5 Minute Speech?

5 Minute Speech is a service delivery model that school-based SLPs are adopting as a way to provide articulation therapy to students on their caseload (or in RtI, depending on your state/district RtI guidelines). It does NOT require you to purchase a specific product, tool, or program, although there are some commercially available items if you decide to go that route, such as Speedy Speech and 5 Minute Kids.

Why Does This Service Delivery Work?

Really, the purpose of 5 Minute Speech is to provide short, frequent, intensive sessions. You can call it by any name you want, but as long as your therapy is shortened from the typical 30-minute session (that many SLPs live and breathe by!), and is provided intensely for multiple sessions per week, you are providing the basis of what I'm calling "5 Minute Speech". This is backed by research, which I will link at the end of this post.

The service time does NOT have to be only 5 minutes. No research says 5 minutes is the magic number for this service delivery model. Depending on your student, you may choose anywhere from 5-15 minutes for these sessions. Therefore, it's flexible enough that you can continue to individualize service times for each student.

If you move to this model, you will not be seeing students in groups. I see all of my 5 Minute Speech students individually. I feel like one of the best parts of this service delivery model is that I get the undivided attention of my student, and my student gets my undivided attention.

How Do I Write The Service Times In The IEP?

IEP programs vary tremendously across states and even districts, but the good news is, you can probably find a way to write 5 Minute Speech minutes into your IEPs. Use whatever works for you, your students, your district, and your IEP software.


  • 10 Minutes, 3x Per Week
  • 15 Minutes, 2x Per Week
  • 5 Minutes, 12x Per Month
  • 5-7 Minutes, 9-12x Per Month

How Do I Work These Students Into My Schedule?

I schedule a block of time 3 days a week to see my 5-minute students. How large of a block of time you will need will depend on how many students you are seeing. Also, allow a few minutes of transition time during this block as well.

For example, if you have 4 students receiving 5 Minute Speech (5-7 minutes each) and they are all down the same hall, you should be able to schedule them all in a 30-minute time block.

For example, if you have 4 students receiving 5 Minute Speech (5-7 minutes each) and they are at opposite ends of the school from each other, be sure to take that time spend walking across the school into account.

I see my students in a flow across the school. I go from class to class, seeing all students in the 5 Minute Speech Program in one class before moving to the next. I typically have the student I am working with get the next student from their classroom to keep things moving as fast as possible (ex: my student walks back inside when we are done and tells the student I need to see next to come to me). I work my way down the hall(s) and it tends to be very efficient.

Which Students Can I Use This With?

You are not limited to single-sound error students. You can use this service delivery model with almost any student with any speech sound error(s).

For example, you may use this model with:
  • Single-sound error students, including students working on /r/.
  • Multiple-sound error students. 
  • Phonology students. This works well with the cycles approach.
  • Any age, kindergarten through high school.
  • Students working on speech at the isolation, word, phrase, sentence, reading, or conversation levels.
I likely would not choose to use this approach with very young students (3-4-year-old students who are just starting preschool), students who require a play-based therapy approach, or students who need more intensive instruction on the articulation placement or the basis of producing the sound (ex: if an /r/ student is having significant difficulties with placement alone and you need more time to teach that aspect before moving to drill).

What Activities Do I Use With These Students?

Keep. It. Simple.

One of the best parts of 5 Minute Speech is that it does not require much planning. I bring an iPad and my clipboard. The iPad is the tool that holds all of my flashcards, reading passages, and conversation starters. Most of the apps I use allow me to track data on them, so I do not need anything extra to write on. However, I bring my clipboard because 1) it holds my schedule, where I jot down what to work on the next day, and 2) it allows me to take additional notes as needed. That being said, I use my iPad with students of all levels-- isolation through conversation carryover.

Here are the specifics of what I use:

How Do I Keep My Students' Privacy?

Typically, when you think of 5 Minute Speech, you think of students being pulled out into the hallway for the world to see, which may cause concern with FERPA and confidentiality. However, these students do not have to be seen in the open hallway.

You may see students:

  • At a back table in their classroom.
  • In an empty classroom nearby (Library, conference room, another classroom, etc.)
  • Behind a partitioned area of the room or hallway, if available.
  • In your room, if it is close enough to allow you the time.
  • On the floor in a quiet area of their classroom.
  • At their desk, if it's not during silent work in the classroom.
  • Almost anywhere, get creative! 

What Results Might I See?

Anecdotally, I'll share with you the results I have personally seen with students on my caseload.

  • Increased attention to tasks (no time to lose interest).
  • Increased engagement with tasks (students can do anything for 5 minutes).
  • Increased ability to recall sounds they're working on (hard to forget when seen so often).
  • Increased number of productions per session (no wasted time, very intensive).
  • Decreased extrinsic rewards (you don't need a treasure box for a 5-minute session).
  • Decreased distractions (versus group therapy, waiting between turns).
  • Decreased frustration (shorter session length).
  • Decreased time missing class (~15 minutes per week, versus typical 60 minutes).
  • Decreased overall time in therapy (faster progress and sooner to be dismissed).
  • Happy parents because their child is getting 1:1 therapy!

What Does The Research Say?

Here are some resources and research articles you can share with parents or admin:

Are you using 5 Minute Speech with your students? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. I have been wanting to do this since I stated back in the schools last year. I think I will start with 1-2 students and see how it goes!