Using Your Fingers To Help Children Learn Speech And Language


Your fingers can be powerful tools to help your young child develop speech and language. Following are three ideas that I have found to be helpful in my speech-language therapy practice. I hope you find them helpful too.

Finger Cueing

Finger cueing will help your child to watch the movement of your lips and tongue to see how sounds are made. Gently tap your lip with your index finger as you say words for your child. For short words tap once for every sound. For longer words tap once for every syllable.

Finger Pacing

Finger pacing will help your child: 1. Put more words together and 2. Understand more of what you say. As you are talking hold up one finger at a time for each word that you say. This helps your child to see how to put words together and to see that your sentences are made up of separate words. The more you do this the easier it gets.

To do finger pacing and cueing at the same time use repetition. Say either the single word with finger cueing first and then say the word in a phrase with finger pacing or the other way around. Either way the more you repeat the more your child will learn.


Expansion helps your child put more words together. When your child says a single word say two words back. For example if your child says, “ball” say back “red ball”, “my ball”, “ball gone” whatever fits. When your child says two words say back three, and so on. To make this more powerful use Finger Pacing as you say back the words.



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