Whether your child is working on a specific speech sound or you are just looking to increase overall phonemic awareness, here are five fun ideas to try at home!

A little extra home practice can help kids master a speech sound they are learning. Generally, kids first practice using a tricky, targeted speech sound in isolation, then in words and sentences, and finally in conversation. The ideas below can be modified to meet your child’s level of success. For example, if your child is having trouble using a speech sound in a word, try just making the sound all by itself.

Alternatively, if your child can make the speech sound correctly in a word, try putting that word in a sentence. Some words may be easier or harder to say than others due to length of the word, the place of the targeted speech sound (in the beginning, middle or end of the word) and the other sounds in the word. Even if your child cannot yet correctly say a specific word, listening to you as you model the word and listening for the sound during play, can help build awareness of the speech sound. Consult with a speech and language therapist for any questions about your child’s speech development.

  • Add the speech sound to play. Make stuffed animals or toy cars use the sound, or words with the sound, as they talk and move. Use the speech sound as a silly sound effect! Have your toy truck make ‘kuh-kuh-kuh-kuh’ sounds as it drives uphill or your stuffed animals say, “knock knock” before they go in their fort. For extra fun, make stuffed animals speak in a funny robot voice segmenting words by syllables or sounds to build phonological awareness skills.
  • Be on the look out for your speech sound while reading books together. Can you find five words that have your sound? After reading the book, try retelling the story together including some of the words you identified. Build narrative skills by discussing the beginning of the story, the problem and the solution.
Share about the day:
  • Take turns slowly sharing something about your day. Listen closely for the speech sound and count how many times each person uses the sound. You can count out loud or tally the number of sounds on paper. Who used the speech sound the most while sharing? Build social language by encouraging everyone to think of a follow-up question or comment.
Sound Search
  • Search the house! See who can find the most things around the house that have the speech sound in their name in five minutes. Gather the items together or take pictures. Can others guess what you found? Give each other clues by naming a word that rhymes with the thing you found or by describing the object to build language.
  • A favorite! Write words with your speech sound on small pieces of paper. After saying the word, crumple the paper and try to throw it into a target like a laundry basket or garbage can. For extra fun, pretend the crumpled pieces of paper are snowballs and playfully try to hit each other!

Written By:
Norah Garrity, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech & Language Pathologist