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The BEST Gliding Activities for Speech Therapy

If you are a speech language pathologist working with children who have articulation disorders or phonological disorders, chances are you’re always on the lookout for engaging gliding speech therapy activities! Keep on reading, because this article provides suggestions for gliding speech therapy activities, as well as some tips and tricks to try out during speech therapy sessions while working on communication skills.

This is an article for SLPs about the best gliding speech therapy activities to use!

This post contains affiliate links, which means we could receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended.

What is Gliding?

Gliding is a phonological process, which falls under the umbrella of a speech sound disorder (reference: american speech-language-hearing association). Phonological errors involve rule-based error patterns, versus a single sound error. Gliding is an error pattern that SLPs may encounter often, especially if working with preschoolers and kindergarteners. A child’s speech intelligibility can be impacted when a phonological disorder is present.

Gliding occurs when liquid sounds (l, r) are substituted by glides (w, j). Examples could include saying “wed” for “red” or “weg” for “leg”.

Read about the different phonological processes.

How To Treat a Phonological Disorder

Speech therapists have research-based phonology treatment approaches available to try in speech therapy.

To learn more about various approaches, keep on reading!

Research-Based Phonology Interventions for Speech Therapy

Picking an effective intervention strategy can make a huge difference when treating phonological disorders! There are several options that speech pathologists can use to treat this type of speech sound disorder.

Fortunately, this article from The Informed SLP deep dives into all of the speech sound production intervention strategies that can be used to treat articulation and phonological disorders! SLPs will also appreciate the free printable download that accompanies the article.

Some interventions discussed include the complexity approach, the cycles approach, and core vocabulary words. If you are having a hard time deciding what approach to take, that article is a great starting place.

The Complexity Approach

Wondering how to implement the complexity approach in speech therapy? Speech pathologists may find this article on the complexity approach useful. The complexity approach may be combined with maximal oppositions, which are pairs of words that differ by multiple elements.

Targets in the complexity approach may include more complex, later-developing sounds or clusters.

The complexity approach can be beneficial for highly unintelligible children who are demonstrating a moderate to severe phonological disorder.

The Cycles Approach for Phonology

The cycles approach was developed by Barbara Hodson. Check out this CEU course to learn more about how to use this approach.

As suggested in the name of the approach, phonological processes are targeted in a “cycle”. The focus may be on one specific process (such as gliding), for weeks, so a lot of time is set aside to ensure success and understanding. The next pattern addressed might be stopping.

The session could begin with auditory bombardment.

Auditory bombardment is used in each session, and amplification is recommended if possible. Auditory bombardment involves reading a list of words or a book. The SLP would read a list of words to the student with the target sound, or pattern, for that session.

When implementing the cycles approach, the SLP chooses a small set of 3-6 target words to address in a speech therapy session. Those targeted words are practiced throughout the session, using play-based, interactive activities.

The speech pathologist would provide modeling and cues throughout the session, then finish by probing for the next session’s targets.

Articulation Word Lists for Gliding

Speech-language pathologists often need ready-to-go speech sound word lists to use during speech therapy sessions. These lists can be useful for students with articulation disorders and phonological disorders. Check out this list of r words for speech therapy, and here are l words for speech therapy.

How Do I Use Minimal Pairs in Speech Therapy?

Using minimal pairs in speech therapy can be a very effective way to help students with articulation and phonological disorders. Minimal pairs differ by only one sound or feature. An example might be “wed” and “red”.

There are many simple ways to utilize minimal pairs in speech therapy. I like to pair these grab ‘n go minimal pair sheets with motivators such as play dough, a magnetic wand and chips, or daubers.

Gliding Minimal Pair Words

Speech pathologists can use these minimal pair words in speech therapy! Simply bookmark this post and reference during a speech therapy session.

SLPs may also enjoy these handy minimal pair sheets.

R vs W Minimal Pairs

  • red vs wed
  • run vs won
  • rich vs witch
  • ring vs wing
  • rock vs walk

L vs W Minimal Pairs

  • lake vs wake
  • low vs woah!
  • late vs wait
  • leap vs weep
  • lemon vs women

3 Gliding Speech Therapy Activities to Try

Need some gliding speech therapy activities to try during your speech therapy session? These are my 3 favorite activities to use while targeting the phonological process of gliding.

Grab ‘N Go Minimal Pair Worksheets

Are you a school SLP that is sick of trying to find the right minimal pair cards in that crazy pile?

I totally get it.

That’s why I created these handy grab ‘n go minimal pair sheets.


Everything I need is on one page- the auditory bombardment list, mouth picture cues that can double as an auditory discrimination activity, and minimal pair pictures.

Jennifer H., SLP, left this review: “Love this! I love that it is all on one page and very easy to print and pull out in a hurry. The pictures are great and it is so comprehensive. I did not really have any GOOD minimal pair card decks but I do now. Thank you so much for this great resource!”

Try out the minimal pairs bundle. So many different phonological processes are included in the bundle, including:

  • gliding
  • backing
  • fronting
  • stopping
  • cluster reduction
  • voicing
  • devoicing
  • initial consonant deletion
  • final consonant deletion

Plus, here is an easy storage idea for those handy minimal pair sheets.

how to organize minimal pairs for phonology
how to organize minimal pair sheets

Magical-Themed Minimal Pair Activities for Gliding and More!

Do your students love wizards, dragons, and all things magical? If so, speech pathologists should definitely check out these Magical-Themed Gliding Minimal Pairs. No worries, this gliding activity also comes in a money-saving bundle.

This is a gliding worksheet for speech therapy. It targets r vs w minimal pairs.

These fun activity sheets come in color and low-ink versions. They can be paired with daubers, play dough, or anything motivating!

Articulation Picture Cards

Your new go-to articulation picture cards are here! Not only do these articulation mouth cards double as adorable speech room decor, but they are absolutely motivating for students with articulation and phonological disorders!

Talk about the perfect visual reminder- these articulation mouth cards are in the shape of lips!

gliding cards for speech therapy that target the r sound

Sharon A, SLP, reviewed, “I love that I can just grab this and go with it. The words are great practice and having the visual reminder of mouth production is so helpful when you have to go outside the speech room. I feel like I have everything I could need at once. I really love this resource.”

11 different speech sound mouth visuals are included:

  • k
  • g
  • sh
  • ch
  • f
  • v
  • s
  • z
  • voiceless th
  • l
  • r


Short on time and need a quick summary of this article? For gliding minimal pair word lists, simply scroll up.

Speech-language pathologists will love these gliding speech therapy activities:

  1. Minimal Pairs Bundle (No Prep Activity Pages)
  2. Magical Themed Minimal Pairs Bundle
  3. Articulation Mouth Picture Cards

Finally, check out these related SLP articles:

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