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  • Writer's pictureAimée Pharr

What sounds should my child say? What parents want to know about articulation development.

This is a great question and one of the most common questions parents ask. Below is a fantastic visual that was created and can be found here: McLeod, S. (2012). Summary of 250 cross-linguistic studies of speech acquisition. Bathurst, NSW, Australia: Charles Sturt University. Retrieved 12/6/2022 from http://www.csu.edu.au/.../multilingual.../speech-acquisition

articulation development for English speaking children

It is based on a systematic review published in 2020 in a peer-reviewed journal. It’s an open-access article for those of you interested in digging deeper: Crowe, K., & McLeod, S. (2020). Children's English consonant acquisition in the United States: A review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJSLP-19-00168 Basically, 90% of English-speaking children in the United States should be able to say the sounds listed under their age plus those under the ages below them.

For example, by age 3 years, most children (90%) should be able to say the following sounds:

  • /t/ as in “toy,”

  • /k/ as in “cat,”

  • /g/ as in “go,”

  • /ng/ like at the end of the word “running,”

  • /f/ as in “foot,” and

  • /y/ as in “yes.”

And, they should also be able to produce those listed under age 2:

  • /p/ as in “papa,”

  • /b/ as in “boy,”

  • /d/ as “dog,”

  • /m/ as in “mine,”

  • /n/ as in “no,”

  • /h/ as in “hat,” and

  • /w/ as in “water.”

If you have concerns about your child’s articulation development, speak with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at your child’s school, through a local hospital, or with one at a local private practice. While articulation therapy can be successful at any age, it is often easier and more efficient to address difficulties sooner before habits become second nature.


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