How to improve pronunciation with young children

How to improve pronunciation with young children

In each cognitive stage of children, different phonemes (sounds) develop. For example, between ages 3-4 children begin to be able to pronounce vowels and sounds (P, B, and M). Sounds with the letters (R) and (L) also become difficult between ages 2-3. For 7-year-olds, consonant combinations with (Ble) and (Pri) also show difficulty in pronunciation.

In order to help children with pronunciation you can:

  • Play Sound Bingo
    • Using the target words found in the book Nacho Leo y Escribo 1 (pages 36 - 44 - 45) make bingo sheets with the words that contain (R) and (L). Then write the words on cards associated with the words you want to practice with your children or students. As you pronounce each card, remind the children to repeat the word and exaggerate its pronunciation. For example "RAAAATTTTOOOOONNN". At the end of the game, repeat the practice words with the children. To make this a lot more fun they can do it in a monster voice, low voice, or loud voice.
  • Oral exercises
  • Smile as much as possible and then relax your mouth.
  1. Fill your cheeks with air keeping your lips closed. Try it with both cheeks, then one at a time, then the upper and lower lip!
  2. Press your lips together as if you were going to kiss and move your lips from side to side.
  3. Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and smack it.
  4. Trace the perimeter of the lips with your tongue without moving your jaw. Do it to one side and then to the other.

To make it more fun, use a mirror to see all the faces you are making! These movements will help children to strengthen the muscles of the lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw. Other fun activities that involve oral motor exercises are blowing bubbles, blowing up balloons, using a whistle, or drinking with a straw. Playing with the expressions of the face and mouth helps children be able to draw in enough air necessary to say sounds, words and sentences.

  • To reinforce practice with problem sounds, the book Nacho Leo y Escribo 1 focuses on these sounds that children find difficult. On pages 65 and 96 they can use the practice activities to facilitate the use of words that contain the sounds (ble) and (pri).

Subscribe to the Rincón del Nacho Nauta for more activities and how to use our Nacho books!

Written by: Valeria Flores. University of California Los Angeles. BA. Spanish and Linguistics. Bilingual Teacher. 

Activities inspired by: Caro Villegas in Child Development

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