Phonological Awareness Activity for Moderate to Severe Speech Sound Disorders Part 2: Segmenting Sounds

phono awareness

Sorry everyone, I know it’s been awhile since I posted the first post in this two-part series.  Please click here to read about part 1!  As an update for that post, my very unintelligible student can now correctly produce 83% of consonant sounds in isolation simply by using the consonant chart at the beginning of each session.  This is with very little specific placement instruction!  I’m very happy with the results, especially since the consonant chart only takes 2 minutes of therapy time!

OK, so on to the next phonological awareness activity.  This activity is all about segmenting sounds.  I was a little skeptical that it would work, just as I was skeptical about the consonant chart, but I decided to give it a go.  And I have loved the results!  It has helped my student’s production of sounds improve sooo much!  And it’s such a simple activity.  Here’s what you do.

1)  Find and print out an engaging coloring page printable.  I like to use pages that correlate with a holiday, or my student’s favorite things (he likes giraffes and trains). and are great websites with lots of FREE printable coloring pages.  They have lots of categories, and are great for group therapy.

2)  Draw two straight lines underneath the image.

3)  Pick a set of articulation cards to use for the activity.  I usually pick 6-8 appropriate cards to focus on for each session.

4)  Grab some bingo chips.  You’ll need one chip for every phoneme in your chosen words.  So, if your word has 4 phonemes, that’s how many chips you’ll need.

OK, once you have what you need, it’s time to begin.  Place the picture in front of the child, and place one chip on the page for each phoneme of the word.  We’ll use the word “feet” as an example.  Here’s what it should look like when you start:

train with circlesNow, have the child move a circle down to the first line as he says each phoneme: f-ee-t.  Next, have the child drag his finger across the second line as he segments all the sounds together and says the word, “feet.”

train with arrowsThen, rinse and repeat.  It’s that simple!  I love this activity!  It’s simple and effective, and so helpful for unintelligible children who are learning new sounds!  I especially love how it’s both a visual and tactile cue.  Most kids love to use their hands to move the circles and follow the lines, and it gives them a visual cue for the sounds they are producing.

I’ve also had great success getting correct production for non-target sounds while using this activity.  Just the other day, I was using this activity with the word “smash.”  We were focusing on the initial /s/ blend, but my little guy deletes final consonants and omits the /sh/ sound in every context, so “smash” was produced as “ma.”  However, with lots of prompting and the use of this activity, I was able to get him to correctly produce the /sm/ and the /sh/ at the end of the word WITHOUT SPECIFIC PLACEMENT INSTRUCTION!  Awesome, right?!  Try it out with your students.  I’d LOVE to hear what you think!

Parents, YOU can also try this at home!  This is a great way to help children with their sounds, and the ability to sound segment is important for good reading skills later in life.  Just remember, we’re talking about the sounds in words, not the letters.  For example, the word “feet” is spelled with 4 letters, but only contains 3 sounds: f-e-t, so don’t let that confuse you.  Otherwise, have fun with it!

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson
A Utah Speech Therapist

3 thoughts on “Phonological Awareness Activity for Moderate to Severe Speech Sound Disorders Part 2: Segmenting Sounds

  1. Pingback: Friday Faves: | The Speech Clinic

  2. I’m curious how young of children you have done this activity with to their success? I love this idea and want to try it with preschool kids with coda deletion.

    • I have tried it with a kindergartner with an intellectual disability who functioned more like a 3 year old and he did great! I would say go for it, especially if the preschooler is cognitively typically developing. Let me know how it goes!

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