How to teach the B sound…and a fun activity to elicit language in your little one!


Emerges before 2 years of age

Typically mastered by girls and boys by 3 years of age

I just updated under the articulation page strategies for the B sound.  When teaching the B sound be sure to use  two very important cues.  When your little one is shown thephysical cue and feels the tactile cue she will have an easier time in producing this sound.

The B sound is a bilabial sound…this means that you use your two lips together to make this sound.  The B sound is a non-nasal sound….this means that the air escapes out of your mouth NOT out of your nose as in the M sound.  The B sound is considered to be aSTOP sound….this means that it is a sound that stops and does NOT continue as in the S sound.  The B sound is also a vibrating sound…this means that your “motor is on”…….your vocal folds are moving/vibrating.  Please refer to the initial B worksheet for simple words that you can start off with when teaching the B sound.

The B sound is also considered to be a bilabial sound-this means that your two lips work together in order to make this sound-they are making closure (lips together).  The only difference between the B sound and the P sound is that when you make the B sound your vocal folds vibrate.  Sometimes I tell the children that their “motor is on” when they make this sound.

Visual Cue/Physical Cue and Tactile Cue:

Make a fist with your hand and gently bang on a table or on your thigh while producing the B sound.   You should ask your little one to do the same.  This cue is showing your child that the B sound is a sound that stops.  The S sound is a sound that continues during production, however, the B sound stops.  So be sure to demonstrate to your little one……by gently banging you fist on a table or your thigh.

While you bang your fist on the table place your other hand on your throat so that you can feel the vibration of your vocal folds.  Now when practicing with your child-you can do the movement with your hand making the fist and have her do the same with her fist…..and while you are both doing this….have her take her own hand and feel the vibration on yourthroat.  Be sure to explain to her that “your motor is on”.  By saying “motor on” you are telling her that her vocal folds are moving/vibrating.  The B sound is a stop sound…..and a motor on sound.

By using the physical cue (fist banging on table) and tactile cue (feeling vibration of the vocal folds) you are telling her two things: showing her that the B sound is a sound thatstops and does not continue like the S sound and that when making the B sound your vocal folds move.

Verbal Cue:

Be sure to always model the production of the target sound.  Remember this means that you are demonstrating how the B sound should sound like when produced correctly.  When she is ready….have her practice the B sound followed by vowels, then in simple words, next short phrases and then in longer sentences.

Melodic cue:

Remember to use melody as a cue when producing target words.  It is easiest when the word has more than one syllable.  Words like: baby, baker, butter, and birdie.  Be sure to change your pitch and inflection…..that will help her to say the word.




Remember when practicing target sounds…be sure to follow the order of articulation process:


I tell parents when working on syllables…be sure to use the target sound and go through all of the vowel sounds….as I started to above.  After you practice in syllables…follow the order below.







Speech therapy at home

 I thought I would write another post describing a speech therapy session.  This session’s activity specifically focuses on the use of bubbles during therapy.  If you look under my speech therapy toys page…you will see that bubbles are on that list….little ones love bubbles….and bubbles are a great activity to encourage spontaneous language….encourage social play…..and it really is a motivating activity.  Even the little ones that are sometimes extra shy…hard to motivate….and have difficulty in attending….I am sure to use bubbles during play. 

Below is a typical therapy session…I specifically describe the words I would use and how I would play with a little one to encourage language development….both receptive language (understanding of language) and expressive language (use of language).

Set up:  I usually keep my bubbles in a Ziploc bag…and then place the sealed bag in front of the child….and I do not say anything…why?…I am looking to see if the child will use any form of language (verbal or non-verbal) to make her needs known.  Sometimes the little ones will say…bubbles….sometimes they will say….open…..and some of the little ones that do not have verbal language…they will hand the Ziploc bag to me and non-verbally indicate that they want to blow bubbles.

THERAPIST: (now the session) Once this happens…the little one tells me either verbally or non-verbally that she wants to blow bubbles….I am sure to use the parallel talk strategy (filed under the teach me to talk page)….and I say: Open Bag.  The reason I say: Open Bag….even though she did not say open bag….is because she non-verbally is telling me that she wants me to open the bag.  The parallel talk strategy requires that the therapist say the words that the child can not…and tie those words with action.  So….saying the words: Open bag…as I am opening the bag will help your little one to not only understand language…but also to eventually use her own words to say: Open bag.

The parallel talk strategy bombards the child with simple words without placing any language demands upon her. Once the bag is open…next I would say: Bubbles out….as I am taking the bubbles out of the bag.  Remember when you tie words with action….you are helping your little one to understand language.  The more she hears simple sentences tied with action…the easier it will be for her to eventually understand language.  I tell parents if you were just saying the words: Bubbles out……and you do not have the bubbles in the Ziploc bag in front of you….so they are in her visual field….so she can actually see the bubbles…she may not have any idea as to what you are saying.  However…..if you are taking the bubbles out of the bag….as you are saying: Bubbles out….and she sees you doing this….you are improving her understanding of language.  This is because you are also tapping into the visual area of her brain…as well as the language area.
EXTRA TIP…..I have talked about music before….but will bring it up again….music stimulates language development.  Why??? because music is on the right side of the brain…and language is on the left….so when you tap into the right and left side at the same time…you are helping to stimulate language development.  Now, you DO NOT have to sing well…you do not even have to be able to carry a tune….just put some melody to what you are saying….a sing-song voice while you say: Bubbles out. After you have the bubbles out of the bag….use the self talk strategy (you can find this on the teach me to talk page)…..basically you will be describing what you are doing with simple words…so as you are opening the bubbles….say: Bubbles open…..then when you take the wand out….say:Wand out.

What is great about this strategy is that you are not placing any language demands on your little one….however you are bombarding her with language…using simple phrases….tieing action and words together and using music.  All of these strategies will help your little one to become a better communicator.

On a side note…what I love about the self talk strategy is that you can use this strategy inANYTHING you are doing….bathing….cooking….setting the table…folding laundry…on the slide….at the beach.  Wherever you are….you can use simple phrases…tying action and words together…incorporating music to help your little one communicate better and to understand language better.


Okay….so now back to the session… are ready to blow the bubbles….take the wand out….get ready to blow the bubble…and every-time you are ready to blow a bubble….use this carrier phrase (find out more about carrier phrases under the word finding page) here is the carrier phrase: “Ready…..set….________.”  Okay so initially she is not going to say GO….so you will fill in the blank and say: “Ready, set, go.”…..however…..after you have blown the bubbles a few times and used this phrase… will then use the same phrase…but omit the word GO… see if your little one will fill in the blank and say the word GO.

If she is struggling to make the G sound…I have the strategies filed under the articulation page…but to make it easier I will include them here as well and then get back to the therapy session.  So below you will find strategies to elicit the G sound….I included the K sound also….read below to find out why. 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.

So…what is the difference between the two…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.    


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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