How do Students Know WHEN to Produce the Target?

Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty) on Unsplash

Raise your hand if you have students/clients who will generalize their target sound into other positions of the word. ✋ I am definitely right there with you. Here's my thought: If a child doesn't know where to make the sound, how will the sound be made in the correct position? It's frustrating, I know. I've been there and I continue to be right there in the thick of it.

I am big on using children's books in my therapy. In fact, it's rare when I don't use one throughout the school year. I will use a book for several weeks before starting a new one. With my artic students, I start off the book by reading each page slowly, emphasizing the target by holding the sound out. The students make a mark on their sheet (see below) for every word they hear with the target. I have counted the targets ahead of time and put the number on a sticky note that is placed on the inside cover of the book. Then we compare the percentage to the previous book and see how they did. If I suspect a student is randomly marking, I will watch closely. If a mark is made when the target wasn't said, I will ask them the word they heard that had the sound in it. That usually does the trick and the student pays closer attention. If there are more marks than there are instances of the sound in the book, it doesn't count. 

Click on the picture for your free copy.

Every now and then I have a student who just doesn't "get it"; it just isn't clicking. I created a "Where in the Word" series (available in my TpT store) to aid students in determining the position of the target sound in a word. Digital (no internet required) and BOOM Decks are available. The BOOM Decks are ideal for assigning home practice. The digital version may be printed out. 

If only certain sounds are needed (and not the bundle), the following sounds are available as of 09/05/2022: /f, g, k, l, r, s/. 

If I have some extra time at the end of a session, I use Where in the Word as a review. It's quite telling when you have been working on a sound with a student but they have difficulty with this task. It will definitely aid with carryover if the student knows where the target sound is in a word. It's really just common sense.
I make it as simple as I can for my students: Only identifying if the target is in the beginning, middle, or end of the word is required. If the position is not correctly identified, all of the sounds in the word are broken down. Being able to identify beginning, middle, and end is a requirement.

Below is a preview of the digital version.

And the BOOM Version.
I regret that I didn't begin doing this at the beginning of my career. I get caught up in drilling my students that I forget this important piece. When using picture cards during therapy, I make use of the word under the picture by having the student look at the word and find the red letter (the target sound). Reminders are given that the tongue must be in the correct position where the red letter is. That works most of the time, but Where in the Word takes it to another level for those students who are in need of that skill.

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