Correcting my child’s speech: /k/ or /g/ sounds
Many children who are under 4 years will substitute the /k/ and /g/ sound with the /t/ or /d/ sound as they consolidate their speech sound repertoire. This speech error is called “fronting” and is part of typical speech sound development. See below where I explain the 3 steps of how to correct your child’s speech sounds.
Learn more about speech sound development, delays and disorders here
What is fronting and when should it resolve?
This is where a child substitutes a back sounds (/k/ or /g/) with a front sound (/t/ or /d/). Typically, this error will naturally resolve by 3 and half years of age but if the error continues, it can significantly impact the child’s speech clarity and make it difficult for others to understand them.
3 Steps to correct your child’s speech and help them say /k/ and /g/ sounds:
Firstly, a child needs to be able to hear the difference between a back sound and a front sound.
Teach this by presenting a pair of pictures and getting your child to point to the picture they HEAR you say.
These pairs of pictures are called “minimal pairs”, whereby the words differ by only one sound. For example, ‘key’ and ‘tea’ differ by the initial sound; one starts with /k/ and one starts with /t/. While the vowel /ee/ are the same.
By presenting these minimal pairs, you can make sure your child can HEAR the difference. You would just ask your child “point to tea”. If your child points to “key” or seems to guess which one, then you know they need to continue focusing on differentiating the /k/ and /t/ sounds.
See below for some examples of minimal pairs for front vs. back sounds.
Secondly, help your child say the sound in isolation (on its own). Most importantly, the aim is for your child to use the back of their tongue, instead of the tip of their tongue. This can be difficult to teach, especially when your child has the habit of saying a front sound. As such, here are some instructions:
Correct your child’s speech sound: /k/
- Demonstrate how you make the sound using the back of the mouth – open your mouth very wide to start with. Moreover, practising in front of a mirror will also help.
- Demonstrate where you make the sound – make coughing noises
- Show your child that /k/ is a short sound.
- If your child keeps saying /t/, try holding the tip of the tongue down with their
finger while they make the sound.
- Practice the coughing sound, for example, ‘k-k-k-k-k-k’.
- Also, try producing the /k/ sound while lying down. This will help the tongue sit back in the mouth.
Correct your child’s speech sound: /g/
- Demonstrate where you make the sound using the back of the mouth – open your mouth very wide to start with. Practising in front of a mirror will also help.
- Demonstrate where you make the sound – Make gargling noises
- Show your child that /g/ is a short sound.
- If your child keeps saying /d/, try holding the tip of the tongue down with their
finger while they make the sound.
- Practice the gurgle drinking sound for example, ‘g-g-g-g-g’.
- Try also producing the /g/ sound while lying down. This will help the tongue sit back in the mouth.
Once your child can say the sound in isolation automatically without much effort, the next step is to say the sound in words. Start with the initial position (start of the word), within 1 syllable words. For example; Key, cow, car, cup, comb, king and corn.
Useful tablet applications for practising speech sounds
- App great for step 1 – Minimal Pairs Academy
- App great for step 2 to 5 – Articulation Station
- App great for step 2 to 5 – Speech Sounds 4 Kids
- Worksheet packs great for all steps. Best for kids who attend to tasks at a table and can colour in – BlackSheep Press
- App great for step 2 to 6 – Articulate It