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  • Rainbow Fairies

    Fairies represent magic and wonder. The word “fairy” is a magic because it helps students transition from consonantal /r/ to vocalic /r/. The intervocalic /r/ in medial position allows us to produce /r/ at the end of the first syllable and the beginning of the second syllable, “fairrrr-- -rry”. We can teach the postvocalic /r/ through ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on June 29, 2016
  • Record It

    Cell phones and tablets allow for immediate audio and video recording. Students typically begin by making silly recordings of greetings and funny sayings. Since most of us are initially surprised at how our voice sounds on a recording, we watch British Radio 1 Scientist, Greg Foot’s YouTube video, “Why does your voice sound different on a ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on June 14, 2016
  • What Did You Learn This Year?

    Every school year we learn new things. I recently took a few minutes to ask each student the question, “What have you learned about your talking and your speaking this year?”Here are a few of the different responses:•    “I learned that I can do good R’s fairly consistently.”•    “I learned a different kind of R and ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on June 9, 2016
  • 'Dear Tongue...'

    “We need to write a letter to your tongue so that it will know what to do. What directions do we need to give your tongue?” The students generate directions and tips that we write on a card. A “Dear Tongue” letter for /r/ might be:“Dear Tongue,•    Remember to go to the back of the mouth•    Lift up the sides a little ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on May 31, 2016
  • Spelling /r/

    How do you say, “Squirrel”? Does your pronunciation truly match the spelling of “squirrel”?A bright student and I were practicing the postvocalic /r/ sound in “first”. I re-spelled the word (incorrectly) as “ferr—st” to show how it’s pronounced with an emphasis on the underlying vowel and a prolongation of the /r/. “Even though it has an ‘i’ in ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on May 4, 2016
  • Politics of Mastery Charts

    Do you have an emotional response to consonant mastery charts for age of acquisition for speech sounds? I do. Just the mere mention of late mastery of sounds makes me bristle. Do you use the Poole study from 1934 or the Templin study from 1957[1] as a means to determine whether or not a child is demonstrating an articulation delay? The ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on April 19, 2016
  • Hearing Two Phonemes

    A child who is substituting /w/ for /r/ makes progress producing /r/. He is now using /r/ in initial position in words. Surprisingly, he is also now substituting /r/ for /w/. He is producing “right” correctly, but now he is no longer saying “white”. My colleague shared this story with me and explained how she needed to provide specific ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on April 5, 2016
  • Recovering From an Angry Email

    I received an unfriendly email message from a colleague. The message started nicely with kind words, but ended with criticism and complaints. I felt stung. The whole situation was a misunderstanding and I had not even caused the problem. “I’m innocent,” I wanted to proclaim. “It wasn’t my fault. We didn’t even know that there could be a problem.” ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on March 16, 2016
  • There’s a Zombie on Your Lawn

    “There’s a zombie on your lawn.” This catchy refrain is from the theme song for the video game “Plants vs. Zombies.” Even though I’m not personally a fan of zombies, it’s easy to see how zombies have become part of the current cultural landscape for children. I held out as long as I could before I finally invited zombies into therapy using ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on March 8, 2016
  • Sounds, Syllables and Stress

    Spelling is misleading. The orthographic system does not reflect all aspects of pronunciation. Word stress, syllable breaks, articulatory placement, and co-articulatory processes affect speech production. In General American English, 80% of words in conversation have stress on the initial syllable. Stressed syllables are typically produced more ...
    Posted to Speech in the Schools (Weblog) on February 22, 2016
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