Halloween’s ghouls, goblins and vampires give a great opportunity for parents to teach beginning sound discrimination. Two errors made by many young children are the t and k substitution, as well as the d and g. p – f is also substituted. Correct articulation – tongue, lip, and teeth placement – is sometimes difficult to learn without specific “show and tell“ teaching. Halloween gives parents a chance to play and teach.
Learning should always be fun, so don‘t stress out, Mom and Pop, just take a minute or two a day to work with your kids. Get out some pictures or decorations, tell a ghost story , and have fun. First, f and v are made in the same place – “Put your teeth on your lips. Pretend you are going to bite your lip. Now blow.” The difference is in voicing. Motor-off makes the hissing f sound. Motor-on makes the vibrant V sound.
Motor on – Motor off: Hold your hand to your throat and make the v sound. Next, hold Baby’s hand to your throat and make the v sound: vvvvvvvvvv. When you do, say, “Motor on.” Move to syllables. va – va – voom! And Vampire.
Next, do it with motor off. Ffffffff. “When the black cat is mad, he says, “ffffffft!” Kids love to play Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. “Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.”
We all know “Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake.” Did you know it is an excellent way to teach young babies – even as young as 3 months – the difference between t and k? In addition, placing their hands together, midline, improves muscle and neurological function. Because they sound so similar, and the k (and g) sound is made at the back of the throat, where the placement cannot be seen, young children often substitute t for k. How many of you have a 2 or 3 year old saying “Titty tat” for your pet cat?
To correct the t-k and d-g substitution: First show the child dramatically where the k and g are made. Open your mouth, make “k – k – k – k” sounds while pointing inside your mouth. The same with “g – g – g – g.”As with other sounds, add a syllable. “kay, key, kie, koe, coo”. Ga, go, gue. (The English ge and gi are soft — the j sound. Except for exceptions.) Then say a word. For Halloween? Have a ghost and say “ghost!” Make a Kleenex ghost for the baby to play with, and repeat ghost several times. Practice with goblins (they know of them from Harry Potter). For the k , we of course have “candy!”
Second: When your child needs a reminder, point to your throat “k”. “Cat.” Point to your teeth, “t” “Tiger.”
Remember – only a few minutes a day. Play. Make it fun. If he tries and doesn’t succeed, say, “Good try.” Move on and wait for tomorrow. Always keep it fun.