Developing Early Speech

Developmentally, the first sounds a child uses are /m/, /p/, /b/ and vowels.  Sometimes /d/ is an early sound as well.

If your child seems to be making sounds but is slow to combine the sounds into words, practicing consonant-vowel combinations with the sounds that are in their repertoire is a good way to build a foundation of a few basic words.  Often, once this foundation is established, spoken vocabulary quickly explodes.

I use this methodology with children who are delayed talkers as well as with those who have documented motor deficits that affect speech production.  I start with pairing play with early sounds

  •  trains go “ooo-ooo”
  • cars go “bee(p) bee(p)
  • animals and babys “eee(t) eee(t)”
  • airplanes go “up up up”
  • swings, marble tracks and cars on a ramp go “wheee”
  • bubbles go “pop pop”

Animal sounds are also a great way to practice those early sounds:  “moo, baa, haha, meow etc.”

I recently flexed my creative muscles and made some materials to target these early sounds for some kiddos who really need the drill work.  I thought you might find these ideas useful as well.  I ordered blank books from Amazon and used printed graphics and stickers for the pictures.

This book targets /b/ + vowels:


The child touches each picture as he says the word.

This book targets /p/ and /m/ using a different format:


I also made practice strips using card stock and stickers.  These give repeated practice of a target word or two different target words alternated:

You could make similar materials to teach other other concepts or practice articulation sounds that are in error.  My older students enjoyed helping me make these and they got in some practice as well.

Try these ideas to give your little ones a boost in learning beginning sounds and words.  It will be fun!  One Word At A Time!





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