How to engage little hands with Final Consonant Deletion

There are so many different approaches and methods to support our little ones who show final consonant deletion. And the tricky thing for us as therapists is how to know which one will best suit our kids.

Well, you don’t know.

One of the ways that I might talk about final consonant deletion in a way that a three-year-old will understand is by using metaphors and metaphonological cues so that it makes sense. 

“Some animals, like cats and dogs, have tails. They would look pretty funny if they didn’t have a tail, wouldn’t they? Some words have sounds on the end of them too. We call them tail sounds. Just like those animals would look funny with no tails, our words can sound funny, and not make sense if we don’t say our tail sound.”

Because I love getting visual with children as part of therapy, I have created a whole range of animal ‘tail sound’ resources to help teach this idea. Very often, this idea of a ‘tail sound’ makes sense and my students can transfer that idea that some words have tails to other words.

Listening for tail sounds

Sometimes I’ll start with some listening and looking to see if my little ones can hear how it sounds when you forget the tail sound. These Listening for Tails boards are a fun way to work on auditory discrimination and develop student’s awareness. 

I usually start here with therapy and see if they can tell me if they notice anything funny about the animals? I then introduce the concept and alternate in a random order “mou_, mou_, mouse” and get them to put a counter on the pictures. We talk about how silly the animal looks and sounds without its tail. 

Puzzles for final consonant deletion

I’m going to admit that these Tail Sound Puzzles are a hit!  When your child matches the animal together, we practice saying the name of the animal. When I join the ‘tail sound’ on, I try to draw out the sounds “caaaaaaat” instead of “ca-t”. Sliding my finger across the animal helps. If the child deletes the final tail, I take the ‘tail’ picture away and tell them that they have forgotten to say the animal’s tail sound. This can be a POWERFUL visual. It can help your students see the concept that you are teaching. 

I also have cute little flipbooks work in a similar way to the puzzle as it is easy to flip the tail sound up if the child forgets to put that last sound on.

Draw the tail sound on

Once my little ones have this idea down, I love sending these Drill & Draw sheets for home practice (I’ve even uploaded them onto my iPad!). Your child will have five practice attempts at saying the name of the animal WITH its tail sound before they can ‘draw’ the tail on the animal.  


It comes in both color an black & white. f you feel that you need to go more in-depth in teaching this concept and want to use real words, my Teach Phonology Final Consonant Deletion packet contain a metaphonological story and minimal pairs cards.


  • Minimal pairs are a common contrastive approach to working on final consonant deletion.
  • The multiple oppositions approach developed by A. Lynn Williams can be used. I have used this when many sounds are missing.
  • Target VC and CVC patterns using a cycles approach based on the work from Barbara Hodson.
  • Go more in-depth using metaphonological cues with the metaphon approach with the work of Janet Howell & Elizabeth Dean.


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Hi, I'm Rebecca.
I encourage SLPs to feel more confident treating speech sound disorders, and make faster progress with their students.


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