23 Strategies to Help Learners Who Have Trouble Mimicking Speech Sounds

Are you looking for strategies to help students who have trouble mimicking speech sounds? If so, keep reading.

1. Ensure that the student can hear the difference between the target sound and the way it should be made and the way it sounds when incorrectly pronounced.

2. Get the student to keep a list of all the words they can think of that contain sounds they have difficulty pronouncing accurately.

3. Throughout oral reading, underline words containing the target sound and reinforce the student for correct pronunciations.

4. Assess the appropriateness of requiring the student to accurately pronounce specific sounds (e.g., developmentally, specific sounds may not be pronounced accurately until the age of 8 or 9).

5. Get the student to cut out images of things depicting words containing the target sound. Display them where they can be practiced each day.

6. Create cards with the target sound and cards with vowels. Get the student to combine a target sound card with a vowel card to make a syllable that they can pronounce (e.g., ra, re, ro, and ar, er; or).

7. Get the student to keep a notebook of complicated words encountered each day. These can be practiced by the student with a teacher or peer assistant.

8. Get the student to read simple passages and record them. Get them to listen to the recording and mark errors and/or correct pronunciations.

9. Utilize a board game that requires the student to tag images containing the target sound. The student needs to pronounce the target sound correctly before they can move on the game board. (This learning experience can be simplified or expanded based on the level of expertise of the student.)

10. Get the student’s hearing reviewed if it has not been recently reviewed.

11. Utilize a schematic drawing as a visual aid to show the student how the mouth looks during the production of the target sound.

12. Get the student to stand up every time they hear the target sound pronounced accurately as contrasted with inaccurate pronunciations.

13. Give the student a list of words containing the target sound. Get them to practice the words daily. As the student masters the word list, add more words. (Using words from the student’s everyday vocabulary, reading lists, spelling lists, etc., will enable the transfer of correct pronunciation of the target sound into everyday speech.)

14. Get the student to tally the number of correct pronunciations of the targeted sound when the teacher or a peer reads a list of words.

15. Get the student to use phonics “fun” sheets to practice their sound orally. These are also excellent for home practice.

16. Inform the student what to listen for when requiring them to mimic speech sounds.

17. Get the student to write sentences using words containing the target sound.

18. Select a peer to model correctly, pronouncing targeted words for the student.

19. At the onset, each correct pronunciation may need reinforcement. As the student progresses, random reinforcement may be sufficient.

20. Get the student to show thumbs-up every time the target sound is pronounced accurately when images are tagged and thumbs-down if the target sound is pronounced inaccurately.

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

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

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

Choose your Reaction!