How to teach the G sound



How to teach  the G sound?   This post is about the G sound….but I like to always tell parents that when a little one has trouble with the G sound….most likely they also will have difficulty with the K sound.  The K sound is very similar to the G sound.  Both sounds are made in the back of the throat….by moving the velum (soft palate).  Both sounds are considered to be velar sounds for that reason.  A velar sound is a sound that is made by moving the soft palate. 

So K and G are both velar sounds…..and they are both Stop sounds.  Remember a stop sound is a sound that does not continue…. a sound that does continue, for example, is the  S sound. 

K and G, then, are both velar-stop sounds.  So…..what is the difference between K and G?  Very simple….when you make the K sound your vocal folds do not move….so your motor is off.  When you make the G sound…your vocal folds do vibrate….so your motor is on.

The G sound is a stop sound that is made in the back of your throat.  It is a voiced sound…motor on…which means that your vocal folds move or vibrate.  When you make the G sound your tongue retracts to the back of your throat and touches your soft palate(where is your soft palate?… know the little thing that hangs in the back of your throat…that’s your uvula..and your uvula is attached to your soft palate).

Often times when children have difficulty with the  G sound they also have difficulty with the K sound.  Why??  Because both K and G are stop sounds that are both produced in the back of the throat with the retraction of the tongue to the soft palate .  So the K and G sounds are both velar sounds (velar or velum is another word for soft palate) that stop.  As I said above…when you make the G sound your vocal folds move…when you make the K sound they do not move.  So the K sound is a motor off sound and the G sound is the motor on sound. 


Can’t say the K or G sound:

Typically when children can’t produce the K  sound they will substitute the T sound.  When they can not produce the G sound they will typically say the D sound.  Now I find this particularly cool…because D is a voiced sound just like G and T is the unvoiced sound just like K.  How amazing is it that when children substitute a sound for another…they typically replace it with a sound that is similar with regard to voiced and unvoiced.  Also amazing to me is that most kids that can’t make the K sound…substitute it with the T sound…and typically most kids substitute the D sound for G.   




Physical Cue/Visual Cue:

I’m trying to find a good visual picture to describe this physical action….but have not found one yet.  So I am going to do my best to describe how to use the physical cue.  First….pretend you are doing the hand movement for a choo-choo train (but do not call it the choo-choo sound because you may confuse her and make her think that you are working on the production of the CH sound).  Okay….so back to the position of your arm and fist……remember the hand movement for choo-choo train: You know with your fist in the air….and then you move your arm up and down.  Well…keep the same position with your arm and fist…however….move your elbow back and down behind your body.  I apologize if this description does not make sense…I will work on getting a picture included.  Anyway…the goal of this cue is to show that your tongue is going back in your mouth…to the back of your throat….just like your arm is going back and down.  You will use this cue while saying the G sound. 

Tactile Cue:

Since G is a vibrating sound you can have your little one feel the vibration on the back of your throat.  This cue will let her know that when you make the G sound your motor is on.  You can use the physical cue above (and have her do the physical cue as well) while she is feeling the vibration on the back of your throat.

Get your mouth ready:

Okay….so you have shown her the physical cue…and she felt the vibration…but now what…how do you get your little one to get her mouth in the correct position.  Especially if she is making the D sound for G….because when she makes the D sound instead……her tongue has not been retracting to the soft palate…instead it has been moving forward to the bumpy spot (the alveolar ridge) that is right behind the teeth.  So what can you do….

1. Tell her to open her mouth wide

2. Tell her to say ahhhhhhhhh

3. Then practice the G sound



If she is really struggling to get her tongue in the correct position…lie down on the floor….on your back and practice saying ahhhhhh…..and then try making the G sound.  Why?  Because in this position your tongue naturally moves to the back of the throat….and this may make it a bit easier.  You even can use the physical cue…a little awkward due to position…but it can be done.

Once she is able to make the sound in isolation…the G sound all by itself…follow the order of articulation below:



Practice in syllables such as:

Ga, ga,ga

Ge, ge, ge

Gi, gi, gi

Go, go, go

Gu, gu, gu


Then in single words

Then in short phrases

Then in sentences

Next in longer sentences

Finally  in conversation.


Click on this link for “G IN INITIAL POSITION WORKSHEET”. 

Remember to follow the order of articulation process…after the sound is mastered in isolation…practice in syllables…..then the word in isolation….then the word in a phrase….then a sentence…then a longer sentence….then in conversation.  INITIALGWORDS

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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