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Listening to sounds – activities for home

Listening to sounds

Learning to listen and sort speech sounds is helpful for children who find listening or saying sounds hard. It is important that your child is able to hear the difference between sounds. It will help them to know when to use the sounds in which words. In speech and language therapy your child may be practising sorting sounds in different ways. Your speech and language therapist will tell you which sounds or words to practise at home.

Listening at a single sound level

  • Practise listening to the difference between two sounds.
  • Use the sound pictures provided by your speech and language therapist or write the letters on two pieces of paper.
  • Say the sound to your child and see if they can point to the sound you have said.
  • To make the activity a little more fun and engaging, give your child some counters or Lego bricks to place on the sound they hear. Which sound will have the most counters or Lego bricks?

Listening to sounds in words

Sounds at the beginning of words

  • Practise listening to the difference between sounds when they are at the beginning of words.
  • Use the sound picture and picture cards provided by your speech and language therapist.
  • Place the two sound pictures in front of the child. Show your child a picture card and say the word. See if your child can sort the pictures into the correct initial sound.

Watch the following videos from the Barnsley and Worcestershire Speech and Language Therapy Services. These videos demonstrate initial and final sound listening games.

Bus initial sound listening game

Initial sound listening game

Listening to sounds at the beginning of words

Sounds at the end of words

  • Practise listening to the difference between sounds when they are at the end of words.
  • Use the sound picture and picture cards provided by your speech and language therapist.
  • Place the two sound pictures in front of the child. Show your child a picture card and say the word. See if your child can sort the pictures into the correct final sound.

Apple tree final sound listening game

Silent sorting

  • When your child is able to sort words you have said relatively easily, you may be asked to practise silent sorting.
  • In this activity the child is shown a picture, but the word is not said out loud. See if your child can say the word in their head and sort the pictures silently.

Silent sorting game (you only need to watch up to 1 minute 38 seconds)

Minimal Pairs

Minimal pairs are two words that sound the same apart from one sound. If you change the sound the word changes. These words have a different first sound but otherwise sound the same, for example,

  • key and tea
  • spell and bell

These words have a different sound at the end, but otherwise sound the same.

  • bee and beep
  • eye and ice

Minimal pairs – listening to sounds

Top Tips

  • These are listening tasks only. The adult should be saying the sounds and words.
  • Make sure you model the sound and not the letter. For example, when we work on the ‘s’ sound we would say ‘ssssss’ rather than ‘s’.
  • Use the cued articulation signs if you can.
  • Practise little and often.
  • Make it fun.
  • Praise your child for their attempts.
  • If they make mistakes, say the sound  or word again, emphasising the target sound.
  • Give them lots of help so they can sort the sounds correctly.

Contact us

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL205

Resource Type: Article

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