The K and G sounds are some of the most difficult to elicit in speech therapy and some of the most common errors. Read ahead for some tips on how to elicit the K and G sounds in speech therapy from ruling-out oral motor disorders to carry-over help from parents.
Frist, let’s consider how the K and G sounds (or phonemes) are defined by their place, manner, and voice:
Rule-out oral motor disorders
Since the K and G sounds are velar phonemes, the dorsum or back part of the tongue is contracted against the soft palate. The sounds occur when the voiceless or voiced phonemes come through during that restriction. If a student is unable to engage their dorsum tongue muscles, retract their tongue, or lower their soft palate, the K and G sounds are going to be difficult to elicit. You could initiate therapy by showing your students how to make these phonemes with images or videos of the parts of the mouth needed to make the K and G sounds. Isolate each of these motor movements that take a lot of planning and coordination. In these phonetic placement teaching moments, you can assess if your student is able to move those parts of their mouth. If they are unable to or unable to do these movements consistently, stop here.
Make it part of your therapy to work on these movements. For example, you could strengthen the awareness and coordination of the motor movements for the dorsum using a coffee stirrer to lightly tap or stroke the dorsum for awareness and repetitions of timely gurgly throat sounds to build coordination. My Articulation Home Packet for the K sounds and the G sounds provide breakdowns on how to elicit the oral-motor movements for these phonemes in simple terms with visuals! The packet includes:
• A cover for binders or folders
• A parent Letter (editable)
• A quick guide to therapy
• A self-monitoring/tracking page
• An All About /k/ or /g/ info page
• General intervention strategies for articulation
• A parent script and student activity sheet
• Flashcards (8 initial, 8 medial, 8 final)
• Carryover strategies for conversational speech practice
• Worksheets for practice (10 included)
If your student is producing more frontal sounds like T, D, CH, SH, DJ in place of the K and G sounds consistently, this would be fronting. The fronting process or any other process becomes a habit. Phonological processes need lots of repetition to help break those bad habits. Starting therapy with bringing awareness to the correct placement in the mouth and then using minimal pairs with visual cues can be very helpful. Naming the sounds “the growl sound” or “the throat sound” also help provide a reminder of placement.
A key to reduction of fronting is to drill words that did not include the phoneme that the student was using. For example, if the student was saying “do” for “go”, you would try to remove any D sounds from drilling opportunities for the G sound to reduce confusion. Provide parents with the Phonology Home Packet which breaks down the reason for phonology errors and provides tips and fun activities to do at home.
Auditory bombardment is a great strategy for any phoneme really but since both the K and G sounds are so common in the English language, this can very easily be done. For instance, I like to provide a gesture cue of pointing to my throat whenever I am auditorily bombarding the K and G sounds. Auditory bombardment can be done while you are:
- Reading a book (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Hickory Dickory Dock, etc.)
- Playing (cars on a track “go, car!” “green car!”)
- Simply asking your student how their day has been (“Are you having a good day?” “Can you tell me what you did in computer lab today?”)
This can be an easy strategy to remind parents and other staff to do. Reminding other adults that they are a model for you student in need will remind those adults to become more aware of their speech and to slow down and provide those gestural cues for the K and G sounds only benefiting your student.
Make it fun!
It is easy to get frustrated for everyone involved when trying to figure out how to elicit the K and G sounds. Remember to make it FUN with play and tactile reinforcers. If there is frustration and confusion, it is okay to take a step back and take a break. Therefore, If parents are helping you with carry-over at home, please remind them to drill in short repetitions, to not be too hard on their children (learning new habits is hard!), and to have fun! Here are some of my most popular products that will be sure to elicit a ton of repetitions, opportunities for auditory bombardment, and progress!
- Fall Day: K Sound BOOM Cards for Distance Learning Speech Therapy
- Count & Say Articulation for G Sound: Sweets BOOM Digital + Print
- Say, Click, Color: Space “K” Articulation Boom Cards
Have any of these ways to elicit the K and G sounds worked for you in the past? Any other tips that you recommend?
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I am a CSD undergraduate student who discovered your page.
I like the idea of working on auditory bombardment, it seems like an easy habit to implement that helps the child form the link between their model and the sounds they are making. I think it would also make the child more aware of the sounds they are making and I will definitely use those kinds of books to aid in my elicitation of those sounds. This will be very helpful when I am in the field!