Searching for some effective voicing speech therapy activities? Speech-language pathologists often need voicing activities when working with young children or school-aged children who have articulation or phonological disorders. This article provides suggestions for voicing activities. Speech production can be impacted by a phonological disorder, and voicing can negatively impact the intelligibility of speech sound production. This blog post contains practical advice for speech pathologists who are treating voicing difficulties in speech and language therapy. Several effective speech therapy strategies are mentioned. Additionally, it provides a list of minimal pair words to try out during speech therapy sessions while working on communication skills.
What is a Phonological Disorder?
A phonological disorder is one kind of speech sound disorder.
In the field of speech-language pathology, articulation disorders or motor speech disorders (such as childhood apraxia of speech) are additional examples of speech sound disorders.
Phonological errors are patterns of sound errors.
A child who has a phonological disorder may consistently exhibit phonological processes in his speech, such as fronting, initial consonant deletion, final consonant deletion, voicing, devoicing, consonant cluster reduction of consonant clusters, and gliding.
A qualified speech pathologist can diagnose a phonological disorder.
Curious to learn more?
In a previous article, I provided a detailed list of the phonological processes that a child may exhibit. Check out the common phonological processes (list for SLPs).
What is Voicing?
Prevocalic voicing is a phonological process.
It occurs when voiceless consonants are replaced with their voiced cognate. This is the only difference; the vocal cords vibrate and say the “voiced” sound when they should not.
An example of voicing would be saying “big” when you mean to say “pig” (in other words, saying a voiced stop instead of a voiceless stop). Another example of voicing would be saying “dop” instead of “top”.
What is Devoicing?
Voicing is the opposite of devoicing.
Devoicing occurs when a child forgets to add voice to a voiced sound.
In other words, it’s like saying “pig” when you mean to say “big”.
You end up “taking the voice away”.
The Vocal Folds and Voiced and Voiceless Sounds
The vocal folds do not vibrate during the production of a voiceless sound.
The vocal folds do vibrate during the production of a voiced sound.
A fun way to help your speech therapy student feel the difference is by placing a hand on her throat.
Next, have your student say the “s sound”. This is a voiceless sound; there should not be any vibration of the vocal folds. Students might find it helpful to think of these as “quiet sounds”.
After that, try saying the “z sound”. This sound is voiced, meaning the vocal folds should vibrate during production. A student might find it beneficial to think of voiced sounds as “noisy sounds”.
When Should Voicing Be Eliminated?
Typically, voicing is eliminated by 3 years of age, though some children may still exhibit this process until 5.
Caroline Bowen: https://www.speech-language-therapy.com/index.php?id=31:table3&Itemid=117&option=com_content&catid=11:admin&view=article. (2011). Table 3: Elimination of Phonological Processes. Retrieved from http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/
How To Teach Voicing (Speech Therapy Strategies)
Younger children and older children alike can benefit from a variety of different teaching methods and strategies.
- Try using minimal pairs (for example, ‘pat’ vs ‘bat’)! Minimal pairs therapy can be a great way for children to both see and hear the slight differences when a voicing or devoicing error occurs. They can help students learn to discriminate the difference between voiced and voiceless sounds.
- Auditory bombardment provides a wonderful way for children to carefully listen to their target sound. Auditory bombardment is a listening activity that helps draw awareness to target sounds. When children repeatedly hear and see the speech-language therapist model the target sound, it may help them with their own motor production when they eventually imitate. An auditory bombardment activity, however, requires the child to listen carefully and not repeat the words while they are being modeled.
- Use auditory discrimination activities. Have your student listen carefully for a target sound. If they heard a voiced sound, they would give a thumbs up. If not, they could give a thumbs down.
- Tactile cues, like placing a hand to your throat during the production of a voiced or voiceless sound, can be beneficial.
- A speech therapist can provide accurate and specific feedback.
- Visual cues may also be useful. Mirrors, mouth models, or pictures to represent “voice on” versus “voice off” may be useful.
- Do a “voiced” or “voiceless” sorting activity with speech-sound picture cards.
What are Minimal Pairs for Speech Therapy?
Minimal pairs are pairs of words that are different by only one sound.
Here are some examples of minimal pairs based on the phonological process:
- Consonant Cluster Reduction: snail vs nail
- Velar Fronting: tea vs key
- Palatal Fronting: shy vs sigh
- Stopping: four vs pour
- Gliding: wed vs red
- Voicing: pig vs big
*This is not a complete list of phonological processes.
For more information, please read the different phonological processes (list for SLPs).
How To Use Minimal Pairs in Speech Therapy
It can be very effective to use minimal pairs during a speech therapy session.
Voicing speech therapy minimal pairs can be a great way to show students that by changing one sound, the entire meaning of the word changes.
I prefer to choose a small set of 4-6 target words for practice. For example, if working on voicing, I might pick minimal pair voicing targets such as:
- sip, zip
- Sue, zoo
- sap, zap
- see, Z
Once a speech therapist has chosen the appropriate minimal pair cards, your student will practice saying the different words.
Seeing the contrasting pictures, while also listening to or practicing the target words, can be a great way to reinforce correct production.
Learn more about minimal pairs for speech therapy.
Minimal Pairs for Voicing
Minimal pairs can provide a simple way for young children to learn to discriminate between the correct sound and the incorrect sound.
Need some target words to work on extinguishing the phonological process of voicing?
These minimal pairs of words can be useful during a speech therapy session. They contain minimal pairs for the initial position and final position.
Bookmark this post in order to have a ready-to-go word list available.
P vs B
- pear vs bear
- pug vs bug
- pig vs big
- pat vs bat
- cub vs cup
- cab vs cap
- lab vs lap
- tab vs tap
T vs D
- tot vs dot
- tip vs dip
- tan vs Dan
- toe vs dough
- mad vs mat
- wed vs wet
- bad vs bat
- sad vs sat
K vs G
- coal vs goal
- coop vs goop
- coat vs goat
- cool vs ghoul
- pig vs pick
- dog vs dock
- bag vs back
- wig vs wick
S vs Z
- sip vs zip
- Sue vs zoo
- sap vs zap
- see vs Z
- eyes vs ice
- knees vs niece
- pays vs pace
- buzz vs bus
F vs V
- fan vs van
- fine vs vine
- fairy vs very
- fence vs Vince
- save vs safe
- leave vs leaf
- have vs half
- wave vs waif
4 Voicing Speech Therapy Activities
Speech pathologists targeting speech and language skills will enjoy using these effective voicing speech therapy activities during speech therapy sessions. Voicing minimal pair activities are recommended. In addition, articulation cards and a manicure-themed articulation activity will be fun to use with your speech therapy students!
No Prep Voicing Minimal Pairs
Need some ready-to-go minimal pairs that don’t require any prep?
Your session is already planned with these organized pages.
That’s because each page contains an auditory sorting or discrimination activity, an auditory bombardment word list, and 6 minimal pairs.
Sarah T., SLP, reviewed, “I love using this resource with my students who exhibit voicing errors. Love the visuals along with a letter you can send home to parents explaining the phonological process. Highly recommend this resource!”
How To Use The No Prep Minimal Pair Pages
You can start your speech therapy session by first reading the list of auditory bombardment words to your student.
I remind my student that this is a listening activity. They do not need to repeat the words after me.
I want to make sure they are hearing the correct production of the target sound repeatedly before we begin our session.
Next, I like to have my students complete an auditory discrimination activity.
I will say each word in a minimal pair.
My student needs to determine if I said the target sound- the sound with voicing– or not.
They can give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down to let me know.
After that, I like to have my students practice saying their minimal pair words.
We make it extra engaging by pairing the page with motivators such as play dough, a magnetic wand and chips, or stackable mini erasers.
My student will say a word pair, then smash play dough on the target words.
Speech therapists will love the fact that these minimal pair pages contain a visual reminder for “voicing” on each page.
Finally, I end the session by reading the list of auditory bombardment words one last time to my student.
Magical-Themed Minimal Pair Activities
These voicing speech therapy worksheets and activities are the perfect way to practice the phonological process of voicing!
Are your students into magical things, like wizards, fairies, gnomes, princesses, wizards, and frogs?
If so, this magical-themed minimal pairs activity (also available in a money-saving bundle) is a great way to make your speech therapy session extra special.
The speech pathologist will choose the target minimal pair activity page.
The following voicing speech therapy minimal pairs are included:
- p vs b initial
- b vs p final
- t vs d initial
- d vs t final
- k vs g initial
- g vs k final
- s vs z initial
- z vs s final
- f vs v initial
- v vs f final
Each activity page contains a motivating game or activity.
For example, you might place one page in a sheet protector and pair it with play dough.
Another page might be perfect to pair with a magnetic wand and chips.
Your students might also enjoy playing a game of tic-tac-toe while practicing /t/ vs /d/ initial!
This phonology activity for speech therapy is definitely one you will want to check out with your younger students!
Speech Sound Mouth Articulation Cards
Need some engaging articulation cards to work on specific sounds? Trying to show the place of articulation in a different way?
These speech sound mouth articulation cards are unique and engaging!
To prep these cards, print them out, laminate them, then cut them out. You can attach the cards together after hole punching using a binder ring.
These cards are easy to store and simple to keep organized.
The best part is, they provide easy visual feedback because the mouth visual is included with each set!
There are so many fun ways to use these articulation cards.
I like to pair these cards with sensory bins. You could also use them during a “feed the monster” activity (make a silly monster out of a trash can with a flipping lid!).
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.”
By the way- these cards are awesome because they can double as speech room decor. Seriously! They’ll look great hanging on your wall.
Manicure Articulation Smash Mats
This fun manicure articulation activity is absolutely going to be a hit in your speech therapy session!
You can use these cards with your students who have articulation or phonological disorders.
They can be used with younger students or older students! That’s because picture versions and text-only versions are provided for the cards.
Here’s how it works.
You’ll pick a target sound.
Your student chooses a favorite “nail polish” color (but actually, they’re picking out a play dough color).
After your student says a target word, smash play dough on a nail!
Once all target words have been practiced, the manicure will be complete!
Trust me, your students will be asking to do this articulation activity over and over again!
Meghan L., SLP, reviewed, “I LOVE this resource, and so do my students! It is such a fun way to target goals, and I appreciate its function as a digital activity, printable activity, or laminated activity. Cannot recommend this resource enough!”
In summary, this article provided a definition for a phonological disorder and also explained what the phonological process of voicing is. It provided an age that the process of voicing should be eliminated.
Several effective speech therapy strategies for voicing were also listed. For example, speech-language pathologists might wish to try using minimal pairs, auditory bombardment lists, or tactile cues when teaching voicing.
Speech therapists will definitely enjoy the list of ready-to-use voicing speech therapy minimal pairs that were provided in this article. Bookmark this post in order to have that list on hand during a busy day! Minimal pairs were provided for the following targets:
- p vs b
- t vs d
- k vs g
- s vs z
- f vs v
Finally, 4 fantastic voicing speech therapy activities were mentioned. If you are a speech therapist looking for voicing activities, you will definitely want to check out these effective resources, which are available on teachers pay teachers: