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8 Basic Steps to Great Speech Sounds! - Step 3 - Syllable Words

Ok... your child can say their speech sound in syllables, now what?

The next step is to move to Syllable Words!

Syllable Words? What does that mean? And how is a Syllable Word different than a syllable!?

Let's back up just a little bit...

We started with sounds in isolation. Then, we moved our child to sounds in syllables.

But those are just nonsense sounds: Sa-Se-Si-So   or...  Ta-Te-Ti-To   or ...  Ba-Be-Bi-Bo.

They don't mean anything. It's just a level to practice getting your child's mouth to move quickly and accurately from the speech sound to the vowel. Once your child has the motor movements required to do the sound+vowel, it's time to put some meaning behind it!!

This is an interesting step. Often the kiddos can do the nonsense syllables but then as soon as you say"hey, that's a real word!"they suddenly cannot say it correctly anymore!

That's because our language is stored in a different part of our brain, so a different part of the brain is activated. When it's a Real word, it also has more information attached to it. There is a concept that is part of it.

"sa" is nonsense. "Say" means you are telling something.

So our first example: Sa-Se-Si-So... that has a quite a few real words!

You can read a lot more about that in an activity to work specifically on "s" here!

But what about B or D or K or P? Or any other letter?

Well, there are multiple "little" Syllable Words to be found with those sounds, too!

Let me show you how!

Make a Word

First, put the speech sound with all of the different vowel.

If we do B, we get: ba, be, bi, bo!

B+a becomes "bay" like Down By the Bay!

B+e becomes "bee" like a little bumblebee.

B+i becomes "by!" like goodbye!

B+o becomes "bow" like a pretty little bow in her hair.

Now, let's do it backwards... put the vowel first: ab, eb, ib, ob (do any vowel! I usually start with long vowels...the vowels that say their name!)

A+b becomes "Abe" like the boys name.

Or a+b becomes "ab" like doing workouts to get great abs but just one ab!

E+b becomes "eeb" ok, that's not a word.

ib, ob, ub... not words. But that's ok! Practice the ones that make real words!!

Practice the Words

Draw pictures of the words! Or work together to find pictures that represent that word! Make sure to get all of the meanings of a word! We have "bee" but don't forget the letter B! (and if you can think of way to draw "be" add that too!! Hamlet, maybe 😜... "to be or not to be...")

Act out the words!

This is my favorite part! I love acting out the sounds. It's like a little game of charades!! For "bee" I'd probably draw my finger in the air to show the flight of the bumble bee!! For B, I'd do the sign language for /B/! For "Abe" I'd show his tall hat or sit just like him in the picture!

Be creative and have fun!!


It's the same mouth movements whether its nonsense syllables or real Syllable Words! So you know your child can do it!! It just gets a little more complicated when we call it a real word!!

If your child struggles with this level, step back a level!  Do that for a little while, then try these Syllable Words again!

If you child isn't making the progress you'd like, consider reaching out to a Speech Pathologist in your area! They can let you know if what your child is experiencing is typical or would indicate that an evaluation is needed.

Next well, talk about lots of different real words!

-Lauren :)

PS: Don't forget to pin this so you can come back to it later!

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