top of page

8 Basic Steps to Great Speech Sounds! - Step 4 - Word Level

It's getting real now!  Your child can say his sound in isolation, syllables and syllable-words! He is making progress and you both are feeling success!

These basic steps have lead us to a new and vast landscape… the world of real words!

The World of Words

Most sounds have tons of words that contain that sound at the beginning, middle or end of the word… just grab a kids dictionary and open to that letter - WOW! That’s a lot of words you could practice!

But don’t feel overwhelmed!

You don’t have to work on every single word in the dictionary. Some therapists focus on 3-5 words in a session, some pick 10 and others around 20. So, you have options! 

Your goal will be many opportunities each time you practice. Or should I say… play!

Build on Your Syllables!

What I like to do is make words from the syllables we’ve been working with! (need to see that post? Click here!)

Make a list of words that start with those syllables:

For example, remember ba-be-bi-bo…

     Long Vowels:

          ba: bake, bait, bale, baste, baby, bear

          be: beak, bead, beep, beam, bean, beet

          bi: bite, bike, bide

          bo: boat, both, 

     Short Vowels:

          ba: bath, bat, back, bad, bag, badge, 

          be: bell, bet, Ben, bed

          bi: Bill, bin, bib

          bo: ball,  boss, bop, Bob

     other vowel: book, boy, boot

Keep your words short at first! As your child successfully says the short words, then you can start longer words!

New Vocabulary Words??

You’ll need to balance familiar words with new words. I love teaching vocabulary. Actually, it’s one of my most favorite things, but if your two year old is learning to say the “b” sound, practicing “bide” requires a discussion of a phrase like “bide your time” and that may be a bit advanced! 

Or you may choose to introduce new words so they are developing their speech at the same time as language. You know your child best!

I would recommend that you pick words that are meaningful to your child!

Important Words

When I first start therapy with a new family one of the first tasks they do is write a list of “Important Words.” These are words that are important to the child; words that they want to say! These words usually are favorite toys, pet’s names, family names, friends, favorite characters or common words in their vocabulary.

If I went through that list above I’d probably select for a 2-3 year old: bear, beep, bead, bike, boat, bath, back, bag, bell and book. But if they had a brother named Bill or a sister named Bella, I’d swap those in!!

I pick words that are likely to be said frequently with the child. Hopefully, we are saying “book” to our child everyday and can encourage him to say it back while we select, read and put away the book. Most kids love to play ball. That is another one that can be practiced multiple times in a play session!

There are many resources that you can use to get ideas of words that you can say with your child if you are feeling stuck for which words to practice!

Practice the Words

This is just what it sounds like… say the word and say it often! 

You are having your child practice saying the word at the single word level. Don't expect sentences or even phrases yet.  Practice saying the single word you’ve picked!

Real Life or Pretend Play

Depending on your child’s age, you can do activities that involve the word. So if your child is working on the “k” sound (it doesn’t matter how you spell it: c or k!), and you are playing with cars, you can grab a box of cars and have your child say “car” each time you pull out a car and then you give it to him. 

Or if you are playing in the kitchen and you have food, you can find the plastic knife and have him “cut” the food and say “cut” each time he does! (you can do this at actual snack time too with a banana or other easy to cut food!!)

You can focus on one word or any of the words that also contain the sound you are working on. So in the kitchen for “k” I’d start with: kitchen, carrot, cake, cut, cup, can, cute! I’d add words as they naturally came up in play!

These activities can be imaginary or part of real life. If you are working on the “b” sound and are playing ball, you are actually tossing the ball (or balloon) as you are saying the word!


If you child is able to play games, there are many games that you can play and work on speech sounds! The game does not have to have anything to do with your sound! But if it does, that’s ok too! 

You can work on ”k” while playing Candy Land but you could also work on “p” or “r” just as easily!

Want some fun games that you can use right away?! Check out these posts:





I think flashcards are one of the most boring ways to work on … well any skill 😴 But some kids love them!

There are apps that have speech sounds, but I find those are so varied in their difficulty level that it can be challenging to see success.

What I’d suggest instead is to take pictures of your words!! Take your list of 5-10 words and find or draw pictures of the words! Then put those pictures in an album on your phone! Your child can scroll through the pictures and practice the words!

Have your child show the pictures to Grandma or Auntie, too! It's more practice and it’s super fun!!

Practice! Practice! Practice!

These mouth movements are getting harder, there’s real meaning behind them now AND you are probably doing an activity at the same time.

Start slow and build up to regular conversational speed. 

Don’t move to the next level if your child still needs to say the words slowly to say it accurately!

Once your child can say the words quickly and effortlessly, you are ready for the next step…. Simple Phrases!!

Happy Playing! -Lauren :)

PS: Pin this for later!

Get more ideas and activities like this delivered right to your email by subscribing below:

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I want to help my child with:

Lauren with CCC.jpg

About me :)
Hi! I'm Lauren! I'm a mom and a Speech-Language Pathologist. I'm so glad you are here! (more)

My Favorites:
(I think you'll love them too!)

When Should My Child Say - Display.png
Our Very Own Hungry Caterpillar - Display.png
Tying Shoes - Display.png

Just what you are
looking for:

bottom of page