Speech-language pathologists looking for sn words speech therapy activities and word lists will want to bookmark this post! Young children with speech sound disorders often need to work on producing s blends in speech therapy. S blends can occur in the initial position, medial position, and final position of words. Speech production intelligibility is very influenced by the ability to produce s-blends. This article provides a definition for a phonological disorder and explains what cluster reduction is. In addition, there are 7 suggested strategies for teaching s-blends in speech therapy. There is also a link to an article with s blend words, including sn, and links to the best resources for targeting sn words during a speech therapy session.
What is a Phonological Disorder?
Children exhibiting a phonological disorder may have difficulty producing s blends or other consonant blends. A phonological disorder is a type of speech disorder that involves patterns of sound errors that are rule-based.
A child with a phonological disorder might exhibit the phonological process of cluster reduction. This involves omitting a consonant sound from consonant clusters (in other words, a child might say ‘no’ for ‘snow’), and can impact a child’s speech intelligibility. Check out the different phonological processes list for SLPs.
By 4 years of age, cluster reduction without s should be eliminated.
Cluster reduction involving s should be eliminated by 5 years of age.
Read more about cluster reduction.
Reference: Selected Phonological Processes. (2023). Retrieved 9 April 2023, from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/articulation-and-phonology/selected-phonological-processes/
Strategies to Teach S-Blends in Speech Therapy
There are many strategies that SLPs might use to teach s-blends. Here are a few of my favorites that I have found to be effective during speech therapy sessions:
- Try using minimal pairs! Minimal pairs can help children hear and see the difference between their own inaccurate production and the correct production. Try out these minimal pairs for cluster reduction.
- Give the sound target a silly name. For example, you might call the “s” sound the “snake sound”.
- A speech pathologist could trace her finger down her arm as a visual reminder to “use the snake sound”.
- Give accurate feedback. Tell younger children, “Uh oh! I didn’t hear your snake sound!”
- The speech therapist might try using a visual reminder of the snake sound. Try out these s-blend snakes. They provide initial and final s-blend activities.
- Try saying the first sound (“s”), pausing, then saying the rest of the word while modeling the target sound. For example, with the target word ‘snail’: “S…..nail.”
- If needed, add gestures and other actions. If you and your student are practicing the word snow, trace your finger down your arm while saying the s sound, pause, then say the word “NO” while shaking a finger back and forth. The word “sneeze” can be practiced in a similar fashion. Say the s sound, pause, then place both hands on your knees and say “KNEES”. Speech therapists could also try this with the word “snap”. After modeling the “s sound” and pausing, tilt your head and place it on your hands as if sleeping and say the word “nap”.
SN Words Speech Therapy List
Speech therapists may wish to check out these lists of s-blends, which include a word list for each individual s blend: sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, and sw.
Do you need word lists for the s sound? Check out this s sound article, which contains a list of s words in the initial, medial, and final positions of words.
SN Words Speech Therapy Activities
Do you need some activities and resources to target s blends, such as sn, in your therapy sessions? These resources will quickly become must-haves in your therapy room! They include activities to target cluster reduction, as well as a variety of articulation play dough smash mat activities.
Try using a snake visual to remind your students to use their target sound! Or, have a spa-themed manicure session in speech therapy! And, you’ll definitely want to make sure to check out the mixed goals / mixed group resource. It’ll be a complete game-changer in your therapy session.
Minimal Pairs Activities for Cluster Reduction
If your student is practicing sn words in speech therapy, there’s a good probability you’ll be targeting other s blends and consonant clusters as well. This minimal pairs bundle contains a huge variety of activities that will be perfect to address a phonological disorder. Speech-language pathologists will absolutely love the simplicity of these minimal pairs activity pages.
There’s no longer any need to search through a chaotic deck of cards, looking for specific targets. Each page contains 6 minimal pair targets. In addition, each page contains mouth visuals to help assist with the production of speech sounds, as well as an auditory bombardment list. Cluster reduction of s-blends, r-blends, and l-blends are targeted in the cluster reduction set.
Need another fun cluster reduction activity? This magical-themed cluster reduction set has low ink and color versions of a variety of activities to target s blends, r blends, and l blends. There are dice-rolling activities, printable game board sheets, and pages to use with daubers or a magnetic wand and chips. So if you have a speech therapy student who is into unicorns, frog princes, and all things magical, this is the resource for you!
S Blends Articulation Activity
This is the ultimate s blend activity! It’s the perfect visual support resource, as the “snake” shape of the mini smash mats will provide a constant reminder to your students to remember to use their “snake sound”.
Practice a variety of s-blends at the word level. However, you can also introduce practicing at the sentence level. There is one snake with a carrier sentence “I see the ____”. Your student can fill in the blank using a targeted s blend word. This resource includes s-blends in the initial and final positions of words. It will quickly become one of the most-used resources in your therapy room.
Alyssa S. reviewed, “These are the best visuals/flash cards for s blends!! So comprehensive, even for my kids working on final s blends. I use them probably every day and it helps the kids become more independent when I fade models and leave the visual cue of a snake. Printed more copies so each kid can have the cards right in front of them for groups too. Love it!!”
How To Assemble
To assemble, simply print out, laminate, and cut out the snakes. You can hole-punch each snake and attach them together using a binder ring. This will make it easy to take the s-blend snakes with you if you do push-in therapy. This s blend articulation activity can be used in individual or small group sessions. You can print out extra copies of the target snake if desired.
How To Use
Pair this s blend articulation activity with play dough! Your student will practice saying a word with a target consonant cluster, such as SN. A few of the sn words used in this resource include “snack”, “snail”, and “snap”. Your student may need reminders to “remember to use your snake sound” while practicing the target word. I trace my finger down my arm while modeling the ‘s’ sound as a reminder. The snake visual, of course, provides another visual reminder of “the snake sound” to your student.
The s-blends included in this resource include:
- sk initial, medial, and final
- sl initial, medial and final
- sm initial
- sn initial
- sp initial and sp final
- st initial and st final
- sw initial
- skr initial
- skw initial
- str initial
Try using this s blends articulation activity in your speech therapy session today! Print off an extra page for your student- this makes the perfect home program practice as well!
Mixed Groups SN Words Speech Therapy Activity
Are you trying to manage mixed groups in speech therapy? Or perhaps you have a student who has both articulation and language goals, and you’re trying to target too many objectives?
No need to go crazy or feel discouraged. This no-prep mixed group resource is the way to do it!
How does it work?
You print out one organized page. In the center, there are articulation pictures with a specific target sound. These words are arranged into noun pictures and verb pictures. You then use these pictures to target more specific receptive and expressive language goals.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say your student is working on sn words and describing. No problem- you’ll use the noun pictures. Your student will practice saying a target word (such as sneaker), and then describe that word by providing the category, object function, and appearance.
Manicure Play Dough Articulation Activity
Need a motivating sn words speech therapy activity? This manicure articulation activity is the answer! It targets a variety of different sounds, including s blends.
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!”
It is very simple to use.
First, your student would select a color of “nail polish”- in other words, play dough.
Next, the speech pathologist chooses the target sound or consonant cluster.
After a target word is practiced, smash play dough on that nail.
The manicure is complete when all target words have been practiced.
In summary, there are many strategies that can be used to teach s blends during a speech therapy session. Some strategies could consist of renaming the sound (“snake sound”) and tracing a finger down your arm while saying the “s” sound.
Children benefit from repeated practice of s blend words. There are several effective resources that can be used to target sn words in speech therapy, including:
- No Prep Cluster Reduction Minimal Pairs
- Magical-Themed Cluster Reduction Activities
- S-Blend Snakes Articulation Activity
- Mixed Groups S Blends and Language Activity
- Manicure Play Dough Articulation Activity
Speech-language pathologists may also wish to read these related articles: