Minimal Pairs

For Speech Therapy

First, let's review the definition of minimal pairs. They are 2 words that differ by one sound.  For example, "cat" and "bat" are minimal pairs because they differ by only the first sound/phoneme /k/ and /b/.  

minimal pairs speech therapy

Minimal Pairs In Speech Therapy

Why are minimal pairs an important part of speech/articulation therapy?

That is easy to answer!

  • Positioning: I usually focus on explicit instruction of placement (how to say each sound) during minimal pair activities. It is a great way to have a client "feel" the difference between their error sound and the correct sound in a very focused manner. 
  • Auditory Discrimination: By listening to the error sound and the correct sound at the same time, the client begins to hear the difference between the two. This helps with awareness and self-correction. 
  • Drill: It is a great way to get some drill practice at the beginning of each session. 
  • Awareness: These tasks are usually "distraction free" and "focused." This way the child can truly work on how to say their target sounds in contrast with their current speech errors.

Practice Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ways to use minimal pairs in speech therapy:

  • I use them almost every session at the beginning to introduce/review goals.
  • I have the child be the "teacher" and tell me which word to circle. The client says one of the words and I circle it (you can do this in teletherapy too using an annotation tool).
  • Say a word and have the child point (in-person treatment) or circle (remote learning) the named picture. This helps with auditory discrimination!
  • Have the child name both words, one after the other, to feel how their articulators move differently for each sound.
  • Have the child use both words in one sentence (advanced!)

How To Access ALL the minimal pair decks

If you are a member of Speech Therapy Talk, then simply login and click on Fall Activities.

If you are not a member, please click below to learn about how you can join. For a small fee you will have access to HUNDREDS of speech therapy materials. Many are remote learning friendly such as these!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}