Saturday, December 1, 2012

Articulation Boxes!

This is an old tried and true activity that I haven't blogged about yet. But I thought as there are many wonderful parents out there trying to elicit some new sounds from their children, I could share this great way to do it!
I call this activity Articulation Boxes (you can find a FREE download at bottom of this blog) for lack of a better word.  The goal is to work on the target (or problem) sound in isolation (so the sound all by itself) and then in CV (consonant-vowel) and/or VC (vowel-consonant) syllables.  The first thing I do is make a page (in powerpoint b/c its super easy to do there) of "boxes" with the problem sound in it.  Then I find a game, toy or craft the child loves and place these sound boxes ALL over the activity.

In this instance I placed the "S" boxes ALL over this race car mat.  Everytime the child drives over or finds the sound box, he/she must imitate the sound after you.  This is considered producing the sound in isolation. 

Then I add several copies of vowel boxes to a box or bin and after the child can produce the problem sound at least 10 times with or without a model, we take turns choosing vowels from the box and creating CV and VC syllables.  (Hint:  More often than not it will be easier for a child to put the target sound into a VC syllable so you may want to start with that formation.)  Tip:  I almost always use long vowels...becuase they tend to be much easier for kids (who have only articulation difficulties) to produce. 

Above we decided to put the vowel AFTER the consonant (CV syllable) and attempted to have child imitate.  Many times you will notice your child attempt to correct the target sound but will still ADD the sound they substitute in this production. For eg. the child I was working with here substitues "h" for "s" so when he attempted to produce "see"(S+Long vowel E) he said "sa he".  What to do?  Segment the word (that means have your child produce the target sound seperately from the rest of the word/syllable).  In this case it would be "s" pause "e".  Segmenting (breaking the target sound off of rest of word) really helps to decrease the use of the sound substitution and eventually you'll be able to say a complete syllable or word without segmenting.

Once you get good at CV and VC syllables you can play around and make up your own silly nonsense words (above would be produced "acey").

CVCV words are great for practicing the target sound in the beginning and middle of words.

This is an example of how we went through ALL of the vowels in CV and VC practice (e.g. "sa, se, si, so, su" and "as, es, is, os, us")

Most children have habitualized the use of the sound substitution and they are not aware that they are even saying the wrong sound so I encourage the use of NONSENSE words initially in order to make the child more aware of the target sound and improve production at various levels (isolation, single and multiple syllable non-words) in the beginning, middle and ends of non-words. 

Once the child can do this than you can move to real words and practice the target sound.  Older children are sometimes better at carrying over their target sounds to real words but PK kiddos may need more time practicing with non-sense words before they can make this transition.
The key to success with the use of articulation boxes is not the boxes themselves but to use a motivating activity the child REALLY enjoys in which to place these articulation boxes.  You know they saying..."You catch more flies with honey"...well you'll get more practice with your child if you choos an activity or toy they really like. 
Looking for some articulation boxes?  Well click below, download and print out for sounds K, G, S, L, R, and vowels. 

Download from Google Docs:
K, G, S, R, L articulation boxes

Download from Scribd:
K G S R L in Isolation, CV, VC Syllables

After I wrote this post, I came across these super cute FREE winter themed sound boxes at Rowdy in Room 300 you could use with the above activity with these graphics!  Check out Rowdy's blog and download your freeb holiday sound boxes there!

Enjoy!  Happy Talking!


  1. I've been running low on new ideas to target CV, VC, CVC and this is just the thing to freshen up my targets! Thanks for sharing!


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