Articulation Therapy: Teaching /S/ blends

Articulation Therapy: Teaching /S/ blends

Articulation Therapy: Teaching /S/ blends

The /s/ speech sound is one of the late sounds that develop in children. Children usually acquire the /s/ blends by 7 years of age. Often, children with speech sound disorders have difficulty in producing the /s/ blends correctly. The /s/ sound alone can be a difficult sound to learn, let alone the /s/ blends.

What are the different types of /s/ blends? Here’s a list:

  • SP blends such as speak, spill
  • SC blends such as score, scare
  • ST blends such as star, stable
  • SM blends such as small, smart
  • SN blends such as snail, snow
  • SW blends such as sweet, swell
  • SL blends such as slow, slate
  • SPL blends such as splish, splash
  • SCW blends such as squid, squat
  • SHR blends such as shrink, shred
  • SCR blends such as scream, scroll
  • SPR blends such as spring, spread

Read a detailed blog on Articulation Therapy: Teaching /R/ blends

How to teach the /s/ blends?

  • First, you will need to teach your child the correct /s/ sound. If they can do it then read on to learn more. If not, here is a blog on how to achieve the /s/ sound.
  • To practice the /s/ blends you will need to ask your child to prolong the /s/ sound like /sssssss/. Start with the easiest blend that your child can produce. If it’s /sp/ for instance, try producing it like /sssssspsssssspssss/. Then practice the other blends such as /sl, sn, sm etc) using this strategy.
  • Next move on to the blends such as /spl, scw, scr/ once your child learns the above blends. If your child is able to prolong the /s/ sound then you can go for this practice. Ask your child to prolong the /s/ sound and then prolong the /l/ sound. For example /sssssspllll/.
  • Practice on a daily basis! Be consistent. Try to have at least 15-20 minutes of practice every day. Practice at different levels starting from the simplest (isolation) to the most complex (conversation level). Move to the next level once you have achieved at least 90% accuracy. Following is the order of practice that you can use:

Isolation level: Practise the /s/ blends on its own /ssssspssss/

Syllable level: Combining the /s/ blends with a vowel (sssssspi….sssssspi)

Word level: Use the blends in the initial, medial and final positions of words (splish, basket etc)

Phrase level: Use two or three-word combinations with the /s/ blends (small basket)

Sentence level: Use the  blends in sentences (The sweets were in the small basket)

Conversation level:  Use the blends in connected speech in conversation with different persons.

Some Speech exercises for the /s/ blends

Here are some fun activities to teach your child the /s/ blends!
  • Do activities where you say the /s/ blends correctly and incorrectly. Ask your child to spot the difference. Give them rewards such as points for correct responses.
  • When you read books with your child, point out each of the blends that they read or hear you say. You can ask your child to repeat these after you. Or you can even ask them some questions. Saying the sounds with /s/ frequently will help them learn it quicker.
  • Practice target blends while playing games such as bingo, memory games, tic-tac-toe, etc. Choose any game that your child loves and use it.
  • Look through books or magazines with your child. Ask them to find pictures of items that have the /s/ blends. Have a “/s/ blends book”. You can then cut out the pictures and paste them into a book.
  • I Spy – You can play some I spy games with your child by targeting the word ‘spy’ every time you see the object/word.
  • Stickers – Use various kinds of stickers with s blends or any other thing that your child may like. You can say, “I’m sticking the blue sticker” etc.
  • Stacking – Use stacking cups or stacking blocks to practice the word “stack.”  You can use some blend cards when doing this.
  • Step – You can take a step every time you say the /s/ blend words correctly. Use this game to play snakes and ladders or even by marking steps with chalk on the floor.
  • Star – You can give stars every time the child says the word ‘star’ correctly. Use different colors of stars. Also, you can take a picture of the night sky using these stars.
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