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What would help this?


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Seeing the difference can help. Here is a good thread for e/i and a good website for the other sounds. My phonics lesson 6 may also be helpful.






Also, the great courses DVD "Understanding Linguistics" is very helpful for understanding this and other language information. Some of it has been directly helpful for my remedial students, other is just good background information.




It is currently on sale. (It is also on sale as a set with the History of the English Language if you are interested in that. That has no direct helpful info for remedial students, I just got them both because it sounded interesting to me.)



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At 8yo, he's really above the normal developmental curve for those sounds... I'm assuming he can't produce them himself, correct? He probably should have a speech evaluation, and maybe a hearing test (overall, he could hear just fine, but miss the slight differences between those sounds). Also, he may be having trouble producing other sounds you just don't notice as much (I took my dd in knowing she couldn't produce about 4 sounds... she really couldn't produce 12).


That said, here are some practical ways you can work with him at home on those sounds. You will need a hand-held mirror, and a lists of words with the sounds in each position they can be found (beginning of the word, first syllable, ending syllable, end) Using "F" as an example, "fun", "af-ter", "croft", "barf" (there are better words, it's late... and it's all i could come up with right now... since my computer ate this post once already!) Games using words to describe pictures/people/etc. are also good... you could play I-spy and have him describe things in a Where's Waldo book... as well as other toy-play that you guide with conversation around the sounds you are working on.


The goal here is to position the teeth, lips and tongue correctly, and voice when it's appropriate. Only work on a group of 2 sounds until your son can master them (75%-90% spoken correctly... you will have to monitor... you are also looking for SELF-CORRECTION. It is one thing for him to produce the sound when you correct him, it's another thing entirely for him to recognize and correct himself. You really need a minimum of 75% without self-correct to add on another group of sounds, and a minimum of about 90% right WITH self-correct to move on).


The sounds themselves will need to be articulated and enuciated S.L.O.W.L.Y. and with exaggeration. Yes, at first your son will look funny making the sounds, but once he becomes comfortable making it, the exaggerations will stop. After sounds, practice words WITH the sounds, again slow-ly, exaggerating your articulation and enunciation for each sound.


For "F" and "TH" unvoiced, you need to have him watch your lips/teeth/tongue (you may need to describe your tongue placement for "F"), only do one sound at a time in this grouping. You model the sound, he watches, you model, he tries...while looking in the mirror. Repeat several times until he can produce the sound (but not more than a 2-3 minutes at first). Then do the same with the unvoiced "TH".


For "V" and "TH" voiced, in addition to watching you, have him place his hand on your throat so he can feel the vibrations. Again, model the sound, tell him how things are placed (teeth/tongue/lips), have him watch, model again, then, while looking at himself in the mirror he tries. Repeat model/try for 2-3 minutes. Then do the same with the voiced "TH"


For "E" and "I" -- you will need the mirror, but really exaggerate the "E" sound -- have him "grin broadly" while making it, vs. "I" having him relax.


If after a few weeks you don't notice any improvement at all, that hearing test may be more necessary.


Best wishes.



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