A Fun Approach to Speech and Sound Acquisition

Meet Casey

Hello lattes & laminating lovers! My name is Casey and I am a speech-language pathologist assistant (SLP-A) working with preschool kiddos on the autism spectrum. I have been a licensed SLP-A for about 6 months now, but have worked in the field of speech for almost 3 years. Additionally, I have been working with individuals on the autism spectrum for 7 years now [crazy how time flies]! The clients on my current case load vary in their language levels (both in expressive and receptive language), their social engagement, and their types and intensity of behaviors. I currently facilitate two group therapy sessions. In these sessions, goals centered on language, communication, social interaction, and learning readiness are targeted through activities such as book share, free play, music, and art. My afternoon kiddos are early functioning and two out of three are considered non-verbal. In the last few months, I have started focusing on speech sound acquisition and their language has started to blossom!

Letter Book

This tool is something I utilize in my programs for targeting isolated speech sounds. Activities can also be included to target joint attention, receptive language, and imitation!

Who Can The Book Be Used For? I typically use this book for clients that are starting to develop spontaneous sounds.  These can be recognizable sounds used either functionally or spontaneously during an individual’s play or another activity.  If you see more than one client at a time and feel that one client is already using functional language, it may seem that the book is not appropriate for their language level… BUT, later in the post, I will show you activities to target additional expressive and receptive skills within the construct of the letter book.

How Can I Make A Letter Book? The letter book can be made full sized (a 8×11 page) or mini sized (the size of a small notebook).  I typically use the full size during group because I have space to store it but I often send home a mini version with the client’s family so they can use it at home or on the go! Here are the materials you’ll need & the steps to follow:

  • Word processing program or BoardMaker
  • Color printer
  • Laminator or sheet protectors
  • Metal binder rings or a binder
  • Bin to store book and additional activity materials
  1. Create a title page (see my examples below)
  2. Print out pages for each letter of the alphabet (see below) *Tip: utilize pictures (i.e. lion for L) that your client is or would be interested in*
    • Remember: avoid items with “blends” such as ‘sp,’ ‘st,’ & ‘bl’ because those consonant blends are advanced
    • Focus on isolated speech sounds!
  3. Put it all together (utilize laminating techniques or page protectors)
  4. Have FUN!!
    • This is a great way to engage your client by singing a poem that goes along with it or just flipping through the book together to find different items and letters
  5. [Optional Step]
    • Print and laminate pictures of items in your book to hang around the area/home that you will read the book
    • Gather objects that correspond with the objects in your book (i.e. toy cookies)

Mayer-Johnson, Inc. (2002). Boardmaker. Solana Beach, Calif. :Mayer-Johnson, Inc.,

How Can I Use the Letter Book? Using this letter book can be done using the method below, but can also be adapted to fit any activity that is sparked by your own creativity!

  1. Sit with your client and have them face you in a chair with you sitting on the floor
  2. Have the book already in your lap or use the opportunity to target joint attention and direction following
  3. Open the book and read the poem for every page
  4. Use your finger or pointer to touch the object or letter that you are saying while singing the poem (i.e. “Apple, Apple, [ae], [ae], Apple”)
  5. Read until the end or build up your client’s stamina by only reading the first few pages and ass more as you go
  6. After you have practiced the book a few times, pause before renaming the object at the end of the poem to entice your client to fill-in the sound

*[ae] is the phonetic symbol for the “a” sound in apple. Understanding the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is not necessary to use the letter book but it may be helpful to understand the difference between letters and sounds as the book targets sounds not letters for the purpose of spelling.  Above is a user friendly explanation of IPA symbols.*

Completed “C” Page [& Activity]
Completed “J” Page [& Activity]

An additional, fun activity I like to include: Choose a few pages to PAUSE the poem for activities! Target joint attention with the laminated pictures around the room or target receptive skills such as identifying objects or directions with prepositions from your activity box. For example, on the lion page, read the poem and hold up a toy lion and a discriminator to have your client identify the lion or work on imitation by “walking the lion” and having your client copy it.

Completed “L” Page [& Activity]

Take this idea and run with it, guys. Let the creativity flow!

Thanks for reading! ~C~

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