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J and CH Sounds Articulation Therapy: Guide for Parents

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If your child struggles with producing the J and CH sounds, look no further! Here you'll find some fun activities to practice this sounds with your kid.

The /j/ and /ch/ sounds are pairs – which means they are produced in the exact same location, but the /j/ sound is produced with your voice “turned on.”

This means that the sound produced comes from both the vibration of the vocal cords and from the movement of air through the mouth. The /ch/ sound is voiceless, which means there is no sound coming out when the sound is produced.

The /j/ Sound

To make the sound, put your teeth together and pull the corners of your lips to the middle to form a pucker. The tip of your tongue should rise to touch the top of your mouth just behind your front teeth as air passes through your mouth. The air will temporarily be blocked by your tongue on its way out before being released from your lips.

When will your child learn certain sounds?
Consonant speech sounds and your child’s age.

Children usually produce the /j/ sound a bit later, around age 4. Because it’s a more difficult sound, children may not master this sound until around age 7. If by age 7 your child still has not mastered the /j/ sound, you will want to talk to your pediatrician about getting a speech and language referral.  

When practicing individual sounds with your child, it is important to begin by saying the sound slowly and clearly for your child: “/j/, /j/, /j/” This helps your child to understand what sound you are focusing on and gives them a good example to imitate. Have your child repeat the sound back to you three times.

Gradually, as she begins to master the sound in isolation, add vowels to the sound to form simple syllables, such as “jo, jo, jo,” “jay, jay, jay,” and “jee, jee, jee.” After some practice and a little bit of time, your child will be able to use the /j/ sound in words, phrases, sentences and in conversation. See the whole articulation hierarchy in 7 steps.

Activities for /j/ sound

When teaching the J sound, I usually give the kids the word, “jump” to practice. At home, you can place some washcloths, bibs or placemats on the floor so they look like lily pads on a pond. Have your kids jump all the way to the end of the “pads,” but they have to say “jump” three times correctly before moving on to the next lily pad. Soon, after some practice, he/she will master the sound!

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The /ch/ Sound

The “ch” sound is produced by touching the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth to block the passage of air very briefly before releasing it through the mouth.

Say “chicken.” Notice how the tip of your tongue touches the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth? You might also notice that your lips pucker slightly and that your vocal cords do not vibrate when pronouncing the “ch” sound. This sound is a voiceless stop consonant. It combines the “t” and “sh” sounds (speech buddies).

Children typically begin to articulate the “ch” sound by the age of three and a half (ASHA). They usually master the sound by the age of seven. If your child exhibits a delay in articulating this sound, seek the services of a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will likely provide you with homework to do between speech therapy sessions to accelerate your child’s progress.

Activities for /ch/ Sound

The easiest way to work on any sound is through games. If your child loves trains, play with them frequently, giving them plenty of models of “choo-choo” and having them practice after you. 

Make a game out of naming as many animals as you can with the “ch” sound. You and your child could draw these animals as both of you name them. Some examples are cheetahs, chickens, Chihuahuas, and chickadees.

Make a game out of naming everyday objects with the “ch” sound. Walk through your home with your child and encourage him to name objects like a chair, a couch, a slice of cheese, and the kitchen.

As your child masters the “ch” sound, encourage him to incorporate “ch” words in sentences. Make up a silly story about a little boy named Charlie who ate chocolate and had a pet Chihuahua who slept on the couch. Encourage your child to expand on your story.

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