Articulation Therapy Generalization Tips

Ahhhh...articulation therapy generalization. The ultimate goal of articulation therapy is to ensure that students can use the correct speech sounds not only in the therapy room but also in their everyday lives.

However, this is easier said than done. Today, I will share my favorite articulation therapy generalization tips with you!

Articulation Therapy Generalization Tips

My tips below outline the importance of moving through articulation therapy stages methodically and with purpose. Don't rush them!

1. Master Single Words/Drill

The first tip might surprise you!

It might seem obvious that a child has to be able to say their sounds at the syllable and word level before moving on to the next level, but sometimes we want a child to progress so we rush through some stages in order to get to the "generalization" phase.

So, DON'T RUSH! A child has to have decent accuracy with minimal cueing at the word/syllable stage before moving on!

2. Carrier Phrase Level

Once the child can say a sound at the word level, move to the carrier phrase level. This can mean two things for me:

  • The child says a carrier phrase that is the same for every turn. For example, if a child is working on SP blends, then say "my turn to spin" before taking a turn.
  • The child says the SAME sentence starter and adds in a word with their target sound. "I see a ______." The carrier phrase DOES contain the target sound."

3. Create Novel Sentences

My third stage is novel sentence creation. At this stage, the child picks one or two words with the target sound and creates a sentence. 

The higher language demand of creating a sentence helps move the newly learned motor skills to procedural memory.

Some ideas at this level are: 

  • Show the child a flashcard and have them create a sentence before taking a turn in a game.
  • Grab dot sheets and have the child create a sentence before dotting the sheet.
  • Grab two flashcards with the target sound and make a silly sentence

4. Reading - This is a NEW ONE for me!

I recently added this stage, and it has been a game changer. Of course, this stage is only applicable for students who can read 🙂

We all know the strong connection between articulation, phonology, phonological awareness, decoding, etc... So, it only makes sense to add reading into therapy programs at this stage.

I just added 68 reading/articulation/language packets to the membership site. 

  • For each sound in English & Spanish, there are 2 packets, one at a 1st-grade reading level and one at a 3-4th-grade reading level.
  • In the reading passage, every word with the target sound is bolded, so the child has a cue that the sound is coming up. This is key and gives them a chance at being successful!

These packets are also great for mixed groups because if one student is working on vocabulary, WH questions, and/or story retell, and one student is working on TH, you can grab the TH stories and target both!

5. Answering Questions With Target Sound/Vocabulary

This step is crucial because it starts to target conversational speech in a methodical way.

You can work on this step in many different ways:

  • Ask vocabulary questions with the answer being a word with the target sound.
  • Define a vocabulary word with the target sound.
  • After reading a story that has the target sound within key vocabulary (i.e., names, places, events), ask questions about the story.
  • Retell a story that has the target sound.

To do this, you can use my new materials! The stories are broken up by the target sound already, so it takes out all the guesswork.

6. Games with NO CARRIER PHRASE

This is a fun stage that takes some planning. 

  1. I pull up my no-print articulation cue cards just so the child a visual reminder to pay attention to their target sound.
  2. I pick a game that has a target sound "build into it." For exampke, if we are working on /s/ or /r/, I might grab "Sorry" or "Guess Who." 
  3. We play the game, and I give intermittent feedback on sound production. 

7. Conversation

The last stage is structured conversation! This stage has 2 phases.

I always pull up my visual cues cards just so the students have a reminder of what we are working on. 

First, we play some structured games such as:

  • I Spy
  • Would you rather?
  • 20  Questions

Second, we move on to conversation. Using conversation starter cards helps if needed.

Bonus - Home Practice

OF COURSE, home practice is crucial at each stage. I believe it is so important that it deserves its own page.

Until then, one quick tip for you is the "word of the week" home practice.

I have the family/child pick a "word of the week" which is a word that the child frequently uses to request something. The parent is instructed to correct/prompt for a correct production of that word before the child receives the desired object/action.

For example, if a child is working on S-blends, they have to say "Can I have SNack?" with a good SN blend before getting a snack.

Remember, the parent must know how to cue for a correct production, AND the child must have high accuracy at the word level for this to happen, or it will be quite cruel instead of effective.

Articulation Generalization Stickers!

Lately, I've been feeling that I needed more in terms of generalization! My students needed a visual cue that they would see throughout the day at school or at home to help remind them of their new motor habit.

So, I worked with an artist and created my new stickers for (S, R, L, K, G, CH, and SH)! I'm VERY excited and a bit nervous to share them with you. If you like them, I will continue with more sounds. I'm excited for your feedback!

For visual sticker cues, buttons, water bottles, and notebooks, please checkout our store.

Articulation Therapy Generalization Materials

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