3 Tips for Teaching S blends in Speech Therapy

3 tips for teaching s blends in speech therapy

Do you have a student who’s finding s blends extra tricky? Try these tried and true tips for getting those pesky S blend cluster reductions. For students, especially the younger ones, I’ve found visuals super helpful with reminding them to add their ‘snake sound’ (or whatever label you have for ‘s’).

free s blends visuals for speech therapy

Here’s a FREE S blend Visual that includes two different visuals you can use with students. There’s a ‘snake sound’ visual and one with just the letter S. These are super great for getting the motor pattern down at the beginning of treatment. I get the students to trace the paths with their finger and provide a quick verbal or tactile prompt if needed to get the correct sounds.

no prep s blends practice worksheets

After establishing the motor pattern, I find it helpful to teach s-blend minimal pairs. By showing students how the meaning of the word changes with and without the S, it helps build their understanding. These S blend Practice Worksheets are great for that! They combine the visual for remembering their ‘s’ with the meaning of the words.

Depending on how easily the student is picking up this sound, I might try a few of these tips:

1. S blend Tip: Add a Pause

If your student is inserting an error sound, or omitting the second sound after they’ve done the long ‘sss’, try adding a quick pause. For example, sss…pause…tick. After going through a few of the words with a pause, try reducing the pause little by little until they’ve ‘glued’ the word back together. 

Sometimes I find it also helpful to use hand gestures to make this concept clearer. I might start with my hands far apart with ‘sss’ represented on one hand and the rest of the word on the other hand (e.g, ‘tick’). As we work on reducing the pause, I bring my hands closer and closer together until we’ve ‘glued’ the word together.

2. S blend Tip: Backwards Chain

Sometimes students understand what they need to do, but they just can’t link the ‘sss’ sound with the second part of the blend. In that case, try backwards chaining. Have them repeat just the last part of the word, then add the ‘sss’. For example, “tick …tick…tick…ssstick”. Sometimes switching up the order helps get them unstuck.

3. S blend Tip: Minimal Pairs

minimal pair sentences flashcard activity

I find one of the best ways to work on s-blends is to use minimal pairs (especially if it’s a phonological error). This S blend Minimal Pairs SENTENCES Activity is perfect for this. Students fill in the blank of the sentences by choosing between two S blend minimal pairs. These flashcards (or worksheets if you don’t cut them) can be used for younger or older students since they have visual supports. It’s a great time to discuss the meaning of the word and how the ‘sss’ sound changes it. 

Students love picking the answer by putting magnetic chips, play doh, mini erasers, and more on the correct picture. You can also print and laminate and use dry erase markers for a reusable activity all year long.

data sheets for speech therapy minimal pairs s blends

My favorite part about this activity is that it comes with a data sheet. The data sheets have a list of 10 words for a quick probe. It makes data tracking SO easy during the session. There’s also a blank data sheet so you can select your own target words if needed. 

Once they’ve mastered minimal pairs, I quickly move on to fun and engaging practice at word level and then sentence level. I might try this Articulation Say and Find for S and S blends activity, or make this Articulation Cootie Catcher for S and S blends. For students who love crafts, I might try this Articulation Paper Chain Dog Craft. For older students at conversation level, I love these S blend Would You Rather Cards or these S blend Sound Loaded Paragraphs with Data Sheets.

Try these tips out next time you have a student stuck on S blends. Hopefully these no prep worksheets help you out a bit as you plan for the next week!  Continue changing the world one voice at a time, Super SLPs! 

SLP Carry Over Data Tracking Hack

SLP Carry Over Data Tracking Hack

We’ve all been there right? Your student is great at word level and even sentence level…but the second they hit conversation level, it all falls apart! I’ve found a super great bridging activity between sentence level and full conversation level is to use sound loaded stories or books or even poems. It provides just enough support with the visual cues to remind students to watch for their sounds as they read. The bonus? It’s also a great data tracking hack for carryover sessions.

It can be tricky to take data for sounds during conversation or even structured games when there isn’t a word list. This can be especially difficult if you are tracking in different sound positions. Listening for the errors, writing it down, and managing the session can be a lot! Next time, try these Sound Loaded Stories with Data Tracking Sheets or these Sound Loaded Poems with Data Tracking Sheets. These are great for upper elementary and middle school students (Grade 3 or 4 and up!)

Try: Sound Loaded Stories with Data Tracking Sheets

Carry over articulation data sheets

These Sound Loaded Stories have two unique stories per sound position including two bonus stories for mixed positions. Each paragraph has AT LEAST 30 target words. The data tracking sheet that comes with each story allows for super quick progress tracking. I’ve even used this as a pre-treatment and post-treatment probe. 

Data tracking hack: Sound loaded stories with data sheets

Not only can you use them for data tracking, they’re also great for articulation carryover. Here are some more ideas;

  • Have students highlight the target sounds if they need more support
  • Have them track YOU reading for auditory discrimination
  • Have students track themselves (or even record themselves reading and listen back!)
  • Coach students to read slowly or quickly to increase or decrease the challenge

Grab this bundle to save some time and money…or check out these sound loaded stories for the following sounds:

Try: Sound Loaded Poems with Data Tracking Sheet

Sound Loaded books poems with data sheets

Sometimes, I have students who might not be able to sit through a whole story or I’m tight on time (we’ve all been there right?). That’s where these Sound Loaded Poems come in handy. Once again, there are two unique poems per sound position including two bonus poems for mixed positions. Each poem has AT LEAST 10 targets plus a matching data tracking sheet. 

Data Tracking Hack SLP Data sheets

This is my go-to if I need a quick carry over probe or want to squeeze some carry over practice in at the end of the lesson. These are also super great to send home for extra practice!

Both activities can be used digitally or in print. For digital use, simply show the pdf on the device and scroll to the next story. Data sheets are best printed.

I hope this tip helps you track data easily for your next session. The goal is always to decrease your stress a little so you can enjoy your sessions even more. If you want more ideas for articulation sessions, check out this blog post. Continue changing the world, one voice at a time, Super SLPs! 

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3 Quick Thanksgiving Speech Therapy Activities

3 quick no prep speech therapy activity

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Check out these Thanksgiving speech therapy activity ideas for your articulation sessions. These are fun ways to spice up your sessions the week before Thanksgiving while getting those trials in! 

Therapists are often tired by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Grab these ready-to-go articulation activities for your entire caseload and ENJOY thanksgiving week with your students this year.

Here are three ideas for all types of students on your caseload. The bonus is that each speech activity is NO PREP! Win-win!

1. Speech Therapy Activity For the Connect-the-Dot Lovers

No prep thanksgiving speech therapy activity

Get tons of trials into your sessions by having students complete this Thanksgiving Articulation Connect the Dot Activity. As they connect each number, have them practice the target word. Need sentence level practice? Have students make a silly sentence with each word as they connect the dots. These are also super easy to send home for engaging homework practice. There is an ink-friendly worksheet for all sounds in all positions. I love keeping these on hand to pull out for quick sessions throughout Thanksgiving week (and sometimes afterwards too).

2. Speech Therapy Activity For the Students who Love Coloring

no prep thanksgiving articulation speech therapy game

Some students on my caseload LOVE coloring. Build on that with this Thanksgiving Turkey Pie Articulation Worksheet. Students help ‘hide’ the pies from the pie-loving turkey by coloring them in. Each page has 12 targets for students to color. You can customize the number of times a student practiced the target before they color the pie in. You can also have them make a sentence with the words for sentence level practice. SLPs love this resource since it covers all speech sounds in every position including mixed position.

3. Speech Therapy Activity For the Students who Love Puzzles 

no prep thanksgiving speech therapy activity

Those students who love a good mystery will love these Articulation Color by Number Mystery Reveal Worksheets. Each number corresponds to a color, target word, and square. As they color each square, have them practice the target word…that’s 100 trials per page! Once all the numbers are filled in, the mystery picture will be revealed. There are two designs for every sound position including each vocalic R and s-blends, l-blends, and r-blends. Students love guessing what the image will be and SLPs love the number of trials they get in. Win-win!

If you want to check out some more year-round no prep speech therapy activities, check out this post: 5 Last Minute Speech Therapy Activities. Hopefully these activities can help you have a fun Thanksgiving week with students while hitting all those trials. Continue changing the world, one voice at a time, Super SLPs!

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    5 Last Minute No Prep Speech Therapy Activities

    5 last minute no prep speech therapy activities

    Need a last minute activity for your speech therapy sessions this week? Look no further! Here’s a list of 5 no prep speech therapy activities for articulation I use all the time. These are quick to print and grab for any student on your caseload. 

    The best part is that all these activities can be used for word level, sentence level, or conversation level. This means they can be used for mixed groups, any session, or even homework.

    1. Articulation Fill in a Blank Activities 

    Mad libs for speech therapy activity

    These Artic Fill-in-the-Blank Worksheets (Mad-Lib style) are super fun for students in elementary or Jr. high. Students fill in the words on the first page following the prompts (e.g., an adjective). Then they transfer the selected words to the story on the second page. The bonus? Each story is embedded with 20+ target sounds. You can encourage students to choose words that include the target for even more trials. Have them bring the story home to share for some extra practice! 

    Grab this bundle to save some money or get only the sounds you need: 

    2. Speech Therapy Articulation Tic Tac Toe

    Tic Tac Toe game for speech therapy

    These Articulation Tic Tac Toe Worksheets are the best for students who love competition. It’s easy to target word level or sentence level with these. Simply ask students to either repeat the target word 3x before their turn OR have them make a silly sentence using the word before their turn. You can even laminate these and use dry erase markers to play over and over again! Check out this FREE Articulation Tic Tac Toe for F.

    Grab the bundle HERE or find the sounds you need for the week:

    3. Articulation Word Search Packet for All Sounds

    artic word search worksheets for speech therapy

    This Articulation Word Search Packet is my go-to for last minute sessions. Keep a stack of these with you at all times, and you will be ready to target any target sound at a moment’s notice. There are separate word searches for all sounds including each vocalic R as well as each separate S-blend, L-blend, and R-blend. Once again, there are instructions on each page for practice at word level or sentence level. These tend to work better with older students who can read…I get requests for this activity all the time! Check it out HERE.

    4. Monster Treats No Prep Articulation Packet

    monster articulation worksheet for speech therapy

    This fun Monster Treats No Prep Articulation Packet is another resource that encompasses all the sounds. Students help ‘hide’ the candy from the monster by coloring them in. Before they color each candy, they can practice the target word. For extra fun, I’ve had students cover the target words with mini erasers, small treats, stickers, and even sticky notes!

    5. Articulation Roll a Silly Sentence

    articulation speech therapy activity with dice

    This Articulation Roll a Silly Sentence Activity is another super fun and engaging way to practice target words. There is a little prep involved…you’ll need to grab a dice. If you don’t have one, you can also use a free online dice (like this one) or even just write numbers on a piece of paper, cut them up, and pull them out of a bag. Students roll the dice to determine which target words they must include in their silly sentence. This worksheet includes two levels so both older and younger students can play. Get ready for some hilarious fun!

    Grab the bundle or these individual sounds:

    Students love these engaging and fun speech therapy activities. Plus, all these activities can be used any time of the year. I hope these can save you some stress and time this year! Continue changing the world, one voice at a time, Super SLPs! 

    Want some more resources? I’m on TPT!

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