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3 Practical ST Words Speech Therapy Activities

Are you a speech-language pathologist looking for st words speech therapy activities and word lists? Look no further! This article provides the definition of a phonological disorder, and explains what consonant cluster reduction is. SLPs will want to understand the difference between a phonological disorder and childhood apraxia of speech. Additionally, there are links to ST word lists for speech therapy sessions, as well as speech therapy practice ideas and resources. 

This is a blog post about ST words activities for speech therapy. 3 st words activities are suggested, along with speech therapy articulation strategies.

What is a Phonological Disorder?

If you are a speech language pathologist working with young children, it’s highly likely that you will have phonology students on your caseload!

Children exhibiting a phonological disorder may have difficulty producing s blends or other consonant sounds. A phonological disorder is a type of speech disorder that involves patterns of sound errors that are rule-based. Phonological processes may include consonant cluster reductionfrontinggliding, and more. 

If you need an extensive list, be sure to check out the different phonological processes list for SLPs

Phonological Process of Consonant Cluster Reduction

Have you ever heard a child say “tar” instead of “star”? This is an example of consonant cluster reduction.

Consonant cluster reduction can impact a child’s speech intelligibility. 

Basically, consonant cluster reduction involves the omission of a single consonant from a cluster. So, if you have two consonants together at the beginning of a word- like st in the word star- one of those consonant sounds gets left off. It could be “tar” or it might even become “sar”. Consonant cluster reduction can also occur on other consonant blends as well: l-blends (words like ‘play’ and ‘fly’) and r-blends (words like ‘grass’ and ‘friend’).

According to ASHA, consonant cluster reduction involving s should be eliminated by the age of 5.

Reference: Selected Phonological Processes. (2023). Retrieved 9 April 2023, from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/articulation-and-phonology/selected-phonological-processes/

This is a blog post that suggests 3 ST word activities for speech therapy (s blends articulation)

​Phonology vs Apraxia of Speech

A phonological disorder is based on patterns of sound errors.

Childhood apraxia of speech is a neurological speech sound disorder that is characterized by difficulty with planning and programming movement that is required for speech. 

CAS is often accompanied by other speech sound disorders.

Learn more about childhood apraxia of speech evaluation

List of ST Words for Speech Therapy

Need a list of ST words to use in speech therapy? Check out this comprehensive list of cluster words for speech therapy. It includes initial and final ST words, as well as other s blend targets. This list can be beneficial to have on hand during a speech therapy session. Use these words as targets during structured articulation practice activities.

ST Words Speech Therapy Practice Ideas

Minimal pairs can be a very great way to target s blends during speech therapy sessions! A speech therapist might use minimal pairs as a way to help students both see and hear the difference between two words that vary by one phoneme. Minimal pairs can be used during production tasks. The child would practice saying both minimal pair words (for example ‘stay’ vs ‘say’). Minimal pairs can also be used during auditory discrimination tasks. Speech students would listen to the SLP say a word and correctly choose the picture that matches. Check out these consonant cluster reduction minimal pairs

Target words can be carefully chosen during phonology or articulation therapy. A simple way is to start with s blends in the initial position of words. So, if the target is ST words, the speech therapist might choose words like “stay”, “stop”, “stool”, “stamp”, and “steam”. I typically stick with 4-6 target words or word pairs when first introducing a different sound or target. SLPs may also wish to target s blends in final positions as well. ST at the end of a word could include targets such as “best”, “cast”, “dust”, “east”, and “fast”. 

Give the sound target a silly name! I like to call the ‘s’ sound “the snake sound”. And if you really want to go with the “snake sound” theme, then you’ll definitely want to try out these s-blend snakes in your therapy room.

Trace your finger down your arm as the perfect visual for the “snake” sound.

Make a snake out of play dough, and trace your finger on the snake while practicing the “s” sound. 

Add a pause after the s and before the rest of the word. For example, if the target word is “stay”, the SLP might model this as “S…..Tay.” Try emphasizing the consonant immediately following the S as well.

Teach your student the correct tongue placement for s sounds. 

Try sending home target words for extra practice. 

Activities for ST Words Speech Therapy

Minimal Pairs S Blend Activities

Minimal pair activities are extremely beneficial for many students! They are especially useful to use with preschool and kindergarten speech therapy students. 

​It can be a little challenging to find the exact minimal pairs needed for a speech therapy session. I hated trying to sort through a deck of cards and feeling stressed when I couldn’t locate the right targets!

That’s why I created these No Prep Minimal Pair Activity Sheets. Everything you need to run a successful phonology session is included on one organized page! This has been a game-changer in my therapy room.

This is a cluster reduction minimal pairs phonology activity for speech therapy. It targets ST vs T minimal pairs.

I simply print out the page I need. I like to laminate these pages so I can use pair them with play dough, but you could also use these minimal pair sheets with a magnetic wand and chips. 

You can target ST vs S or ST vs T with these minimal pair pages, but many other targets are included! The Minimal Pairs Bundle targets a variety of different phonological processes, including backing, fronting, gliding, stopping, cluster reduction, voicing, devoicing, initial consonant deletion, and final consonant deletion. 

SLPs will love the mouth visuals included that provide visuals for speech sounds. In addition, an auditory bombardment list is included. I also use these pages for auditory discrimination tasks. My students give me a “thumbs up” if the word I said had their target sound, and a “thumbs down” if they didn’t hear it. You can’t go wrong adding these minimal pairs to your therapy room!

Snake Sound Articulation Activity

This snake sound articulation activity is about to become a favorite with your articulation and phonology students! If you’re looking for the perfect picture visual support system for s blends, you can stop searching now!

A variety of s blends are included in this resource, including ST words. These convenient articulation mini smash mats are easy to take with you on the go.

You simply print out the cards, laminate them, cut them out, and attach them with a binder ring.

I like to pair this snake sound articulation activity with play dough! My students have so much fun practicing a target word and then smashing play dough on the word. This articulation activity provides an easy way to collect data during your session. 

ST words activity for speech therapy- target s blends with this articulation activity

Mixed Groups Articulation and Language Activity

Need a way to simultaneously target language skills while also addressing articulation? Both articulation AND language goals can be targeted with this helpful Mixed Groups Speech and Language Resource. Seriously, it’s about to become your new SLP BFF. 

Curious about how it works? I totally get it. 

First, you’ll print out the specific speech sound target that you need to address that day. Then, you’ll figure out which exact language goals you’re trying to work on. You use the articulation words for each language objective. The articulation target words are sorted into two groups, nouns and verbs. 

Mixed groups articulation and language objectives on one page for speech therapy (this page targets initial ST words)

So let’s say your student is working on creating sentences and ST words. Pair the articulation pictures with a target conjunction, and your student can easily work on ST words at the sentence level.

That’s why these sheets could be used with a student who has BOTH articulation or language goals, OR as a way to target a variety of objectives in a mixed group session.


In summary, there are a variety of strategies an SLP might try to elicit s blends in speech therapy. Minimal pairs are often a useful tool with young children. SLPs might also try calling /s/ the “snake sound”. An additional strategy is saying the S sound, pausing, and then saying the rest of the word. For example, if practicing the word “steam”, the SLP might model “S…. (pause)…team”. 

Speech-language pathologists would likely enjoy using these beneficial resources in their therapy rooms to target s blends:

In addition, here are related SLP articles:

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