Treatment Strategies for the /y/ phoneme

  • I have had a few requests for how to teach the Y sound. Here is a brief explanation of how I teach the Y sound in speech therapy. I hope this helps.

    Learining the Y sound all by itself

    To teach the /y/ sound start by asking your child if they can say the /y/ sound all by itself. If they can, great. If not, have them say “ee” as in me or knee, and then have them follow the “ee” sound with “uh” as in what and duck. Saying “ee-uh” repetitively should elicit the Y sound.

    Practice the Y Sound in Syllables

    Now that your child can say the Y sound, have them practice it in syllables such as:
    Yay, Yee, Yai, Yo, You.

    Practice the Y Sound in Words

    Once they have been successful with this have them practice the Y sound in words such as: yawn, yard, yogurt, young, yell, yellow, yarn, yuck, your, yesterday, yams, year, yes, yummy, and yolk. You can download the picture cards I have created for words beginning with the Y sound on the downloads page.

    Practice the Y Sound in Phrases

    When they can say these words with about 80% accuracy have them practice these words in phrases for example, “Your yard, your yogurt, your year, your yams… .”

    Practice the Y Sound in Sentences

    After mastering these phrases have them put these words into sentences. You can either have them write their own or you can use a “carrier sentence” which changes with the target word, for instance, “Your yogurt is yummy. Your yolk is yummy. Your yell is yummy.”

    Practice the Y Sound While Reading

    Following successful sentence production have them practice the Y sound while reading aloud. If they are too young to read aloud you might try creating a story with the Y words mentioned above. Have them color pictures for the story and practice retelling it.

    Practice the Y in Conversation

    Finally, your child is ready to practice the /y/ sound in conversation. Now, you know they can make the sound so it is o.k. to correct them when they forget. You may want to be selective about when you correct them so you don’t embarrass them or make them self conscious. Most importantly whenever you are practicing new sounds make it fun so your child will want to cooperate.