Articulation/Phonology Tips for Young Students

Let's talk about some ideas for targeting speech sounds with kindergarten students. In my experience, these young students require pictures and predictability when working on articulation and phonological targets. My materials prep often looks different for kindergarten students as compared to other elementary-aged students. While I don't use the same therapy materials every time, you can bet the plans recur. Here are a few tips & ideas for kindergarten speech sound sessions.

Tip 1:
Use recognizable, age-appropriate images with words paired on each target card. Young students need pictures AND words to aid in literacy development. 

Tip 2:
I pair those same target cards within varied activities and my students think they are games! Fun makes for cooperation and engagement! Try some of these activities with your target cards.
  • Tic Tac Toe-Draw a board large enough to put your target cards in each spot. Remove and say a card prior to adding your "X" or "O" mark.
  • Sort cards into BEGINNING, MIDDLE or END to work on sound placement within a word.
  • Add your cards to a bag or container and put an "X" on the back of one card (or any other letter you would like them to recall). Students can stay away from the “X” or try to be the first to find the target letter.
  • Roll a Card-Use a dry erase maker and board (or write on the table) to draw numbers 1-6 and place a target card under each number. Roll a die to see which card to practice. 
  • Spin a Card-Use a spinner to point to target cards or determine the number of times to practice each target.
  • Add Cards to a Craft-Print or copy cards (black & white) to add to any craft or open-ended articulation worksheets. I reduce the size when copying for mini speech sound cards. This is great for home practice too!
  • Feed Your Cards-Feed your cards to anything. I have a small flip-a-lid garbage can that I attach character "mouths" to for feeding cards. I also picked up some mini recycle bins at a dollar store for "recycling" cards to practice.
  • Hide Your Cards-Hide your cards in a sensory bin. Use cut up straws, gift bag paper filler, or garland to fill your container. Use toy plastic tongs to pick up cards to practice.
Tip 3: 
Don't forget to add in sight word targets and higher levels of speech sound practice as soon as possible for student success, expansion of utterances and literacy development. I pair target cards with carrier phrases/sentence starters.

Tip 4:
Remember the predictability above...using the same target cards fosters confidence and success in young learners, while also allowing for progress monitoring for the SLP. That doesn’t mean I don’t use other targets, as I do for generalization and variety, I just don’t always need to break the routine if students are engaged and meeting or exceeding goals!

If you need articulation picture cards in color or black & white, I would be honored if you took at look at my products. Some of the activities I discussed are included within the interactive sheets.

If you are a traveling SLP or would like your targets right at your fingertips, try organizing your cards in a container! Check out my free organization cover.

How do you prepare materials for your young speech sound students? I'm also eager to add to my SLP tricks!

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