17 Hacks to Help Kids Who Struggle When Repeating Speech Sounds

Are you looking for hacks to help kids who struggle when repeating speech sounds? If so, keep reading.

1. Get the learner to make up sentences using words containing the target sound.

2. Include parents by asking them to rate their child’s speech for a specific length of time.

3. Make sure the learner is paying attention to the source of information (e.g., eye contact is being made, hands are free of learning materials, etc.).

4. Organize a game such as Simon Says in which the learner tries to mimic the correct pronunciations of targeted words.

5. Give the learner oral reminders or prompts when they require help imitating speech sounds.

6. Praise the learner for correct pronunciations of the target sound: (a) give the learner a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the learner an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

7. Get the learner to read a list of words and rate their pronunciation after each word.

8. Get the learner to use a carrier phrase combined with a word containing the target sound (e.g., “I like __. “I see a __.”).

9. Record a spontaneous monologue given by the learner. Get them to listen to the recording and tally incorrect and correct pronunciations. The teacher should also listen to the recording. The teacher and the learner should compare their analyses of the pronunciations.

10. Get the learner to raise a hand or clap hands when they hear the target sound pronounced during a sequence of isolated sounds.

11. Utilize a puppet to pronounce the target sound correctly and incorrectly. The learner earns a sticker for correctly distinguishing a set number of correct/incorrect pronunciations the puppet makes.

12. Show the learner with a list of topics. Get the learner to choose a topic and then give a spontaneous speech for a specific length of time. Count errors and suggest ways for them to improve.

13. Utilize images of similar sounding words (e.g., if the learner says /sh/ for /ch/, use images of /sh/ and /ch/ words such as ships and chips). As the teacher says the words, the learner points to an appropriate image; then the learner takes a turn saying the words as the teacher points.

14. Converse with the learner to explain what they need to do differently (e.g., make the sound like you do). The teacher should be careful to use the sound that is being targeted and not the letter name (e.g., Isl not “s”).

15. Read The Edvocate’s Guide to K-12 Speech Therapy.

16. Consider using a language development app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

17. Consider using an assistive technology designed to support students with articulation disorder.