Do you ever have trouble understanding what your child says? Or notice he or she isn’t able to say certain sounds the right way? It’s normal for children to have some errors in their articulation as part of typical speech development. However, we they should meet a certain level of intelligibility at specific ages. That refers to how well their speech is understood by others.
Take a look at the chart above, and this one below which tells you what sounds your child should be able to pronounce at his or her age.
If it appears your child is behind, you may want to have him or her evaluated by a Speech-Language Pathologist (Speech Therapist). And luckily, there are are some easy ways to teach your child how to pronounce those sounds that may be more difficult for him or her using books! No other materials required.
Tip #1: Choose books wisely.
To help your child learn how to articulate a certain sound, choose a book that has a word with that sound in the title, or words starting with that sound that frequently appear throughout the book. The Littlest Family’s Big Day, a previous Join The Story Box picture book, would be a great choice if your child has trouble making the “L” sound.
Tip #2: Sit face to face while reading.
When you sit face to face with your child, he or she can see your mouth and how you move it in order to make a sound. Ask your child to watch you as you say the sound you’d like them to improve articulating. Exaggerate the movements you make with your mouth (for example putting your top teeth on your bottom lip and blowing for the “F” sound). Also make sure to talk about what your mouth does when you make the sound, and ask your child to try and imitate it!
Tip #3: Start small.
Point out or have your child try looking for words that have “their sound” in it throughout the books. But don’t expect him or her to say the sound correctly within a whole sentence just yet. Start with small goals, like asking your child to try and pronounce the sound on its own (“P”), then just word one at a time (“pop”), and then in a short phrase (like “pop the bubble”).
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family