Z Articulation Guide

Below you will find:

  • Tips on how to say the Z sound
  • Tips on how to cue for Z
  • Practices at the word level
  • Practices at the sentence level
  • Functional games

How To Say & Teach Z

In order to teach Z to your child effectively, you must know how to say Z yourself. It is important to understand the mechanics behind making the sound. Once you have the language to describe how to say Z, you will be better able to teach your child.

Below is a brief explanation on what all the articulators (tongue, lips, teeth, jaw, breath, voice) must do to say Z correctly. Click to review

Speech therapists use a variety of cues during therapy including tactile (touch), verbal (words), and visual (visual models/mirrors) to elicit a correct sound production. Below are the most useful cues for Z.

Drill Practice & Flashcard Games

If your child can say Z, you are ready to work on saying Z correctly in words

Drill Practice:

Word List On Google Drive

How To Practice: (3 options)

  1. Have your child repeat words after you, using the flashcards or word lists. Make sure to cover initial, medial, and final words. Or…
  2. Have your child name pictures: initial, medial, and final pictured flashcards. You may need to name the picture first and have your child repeat. Or….
  3. If your child can read, have your child read the word list or name the flashcards.

Flashcard Games:

Practicing the Z sound during games is an important step for carryover of progress. Your child has to remember to say their newly learned way of saying Z while being slightly distracted by a game. The distraction encourages your child to move their new motor habit to their automatic/procedural memory (this is the end goal after all!).

Print some flashcards and a game below and get started!

Functional Games: Sentence Level

Throw away your cards because when your child sees “speech flashcards,” he or she goes in to “speech mode.” In “speech mode,” your child remembers to say Z correctly. However, when your child is not in “speech mode,” he or she may not say the sound right.

Therefore, your child now must work on Z during more “natural” games. This is how we transition all the great progress made so far into automatic, everyday speech!

I created games that naturally contain Z words. To be successful with these games, make sure to incorporate as many Z sentences as possible. Also, give appropriate verbal, visual, and tactile cues as needed.

My Best Practice Tips:

1. At first, model the correct word and/or sentence during games. Don’t force your child to repeat after you.

2. As your child improves, start prompting your child to say the words/sentences. If your child refuses, give them 3 opportunities to say the word. If he or she still doesn’t say it, move on. DON’T CAUSE FRUSTRATION!

3. Adapt games to the level of your child. If your child is  only using 1-2 word phrases, your phrases during a game should not be more than 2 words. We are working on speech not language here.

4. If your child is not speaking in sentences, don’t worry! You can practice these games with single words as well.  Just change the target sentences to single words.

Pick a game and get started: