W is an earlier developing sound. Typically, children master W by 3 years of age.
To learn how to make the W sound we must know what each articulator (lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, breath, and voice) does.
Lips: Lips do all the work here! The lips are rounded like the letter O
Tongue: Nothing! It is relaxed in a neutral position
Teeth: Nothing! They are relaxed in a resting position
Jaw: The jaw is centered and relaxed
Breath: W is very close to the vowel family. The breath is continuous.
Voice: W is a voiced sound so our voice box is turned on
Please say W in front of a mirror and look and feel what all your muscles are doing. Once you have a good handle on how to say W, you can now better teach your child.
How to use this section:
I will introduce all cues that I find helpful. Please read and become familiar with each one. You will not use all of them. Instead, when you are ready to start practicing, you will try a few and figure out which ones are most helpful for your child. Most likely, you will use a combination of a few. Please refer back to this section as needed!
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 W.
1. Make an exaggerated W while bringing attention to your lips
For visual cues to work, make sure your child is looking at you. I bring objects near to or point to my mouth to bring a child's attention to my mouth.
1. Say “round lips”
2. Say “make fish face”
1. Lightly squeeze the corners of your child's lips together with your thumb and forefinger to encourage lip rounding