Smart Tips YOU Need for Speech Sound Elicitation

I actually secretly love when my favourite tricks to elicit speech sounds DON’T work. It means that I get to problem solve, and try to figure out how that child learns.

Now let me preface this by saying that just as every child learns differently, so to does every SLP. I’ve tried to appeal to every modality of learning and broaden your perspective on how you elicit speech sounds.


The book Eliciting Sounds: Techniques and Strategies for Clinicians, is just one of those references I think every SLP should have on their bookshelf. I particularly like how it breaks down strategies according to different types of cues as sometimes I find that some kids are, for example, more stimulable for motor-kinesthetic cues. It also made me realise that sometimes I teach a few specific ways and actually need to expand my elicitation repertoire.

If you would like to learn some gestural cues, then Cued Articulation by Jane Passy is something that I have been using since I was a student. I personally find the cues to be very effective, and often times my kids will start self-cueing using these gestures. I love being able to send these pictures and instructions home to parents.


Most SLPs use cards with pictures of the mouth to cue their students on what they might need to do to achieve a specific sound. Even better, is when you stick the cards to the back of craft sticks, and hold them up to your face.

If you’re starting out using cards, then this free set of Speech Sound Cue Cards can be a great start. I must say, I use the Speech Sound Cards set by The SLT Scrapbook ALL the time. They are comprehensive and list verbal and tactile cues (great to send home with parents and carers).

using visuals to teach speech sounds

I also love the mirror, especially largers ones where I can get side-by-side with my student to compare and contrast what our mouths are doing. Now let’s be honest, sometimes the reflection of themselves in the mirror is just too distracting for some children! Another alternative is to take pictures of yours, or a parent’s mouth and zoom in on your phone or tablet to show them the mouth, and what it’s doing.

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS: Cue your child to watch your mouth. And get close. Sitting across from a table can be too far away, so stand opposite them and get down to their level.


A few years ago, I would never have mentioned looking on social media for speech sound elicitation tricks. But they are out there! If you have joined a speech pathology group on Facebook, I would suggest typing in the search bar and seeing what comes up for your tricky sound. You can always just put it out there and post “What are your favorite tips to elicit the ‘k’ sound?” and soak up all that SLP knowledge.

Use puppets to teach speech sounds

Instagram is another platform that has seen an increase in tips being shared. Every time I share a post over at @adventuresinspeechpathology about my favorite puppet to elicit speech sounds, I get a TON of questions and comments. It’s always fun to see what someone does.


There are a few blog posts that I keep coming back to. Caroline Bowen’s website is the first place that I look online for anything speech sound related. Download her Metalinguistic Cues and Imagery for different speech sound cues to use with your clients.

The Playing With Words 365 blog has a series of posts on sound elicitation techniques. I personally love to read the comments section because its full of creative ideas other SLPs have come up. These aren’t usually tips that you’ll find in a book, but real, on-the-ground SLP tips!

Follow my Pinterest board Sound Elicitation for Speech for even more links and ideas… I’ll add them as I find them!


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