Practicing the “th” Sound at Home

The “th” sound should be mastered around 6-7 years of age. Interestingly, because the sound is very visual, many children are stimulable for accurate production well before then. If your child is stimulable and motivated, here are a few things you can do to practice at home!

Articulator Placement

  • First of all, the “th” sound is one that is wonderfully transferable to home practice because it is such a visual sound. Your child will likely be able to imitate you making this sound.
    • Place your tongue between your teeth.
    • Blow air while your tongue remains in this position.
  • Once the articulator placement is understood, you can teach them to make “noisy ‘th’” (as is “the” and “that”) and “quiet ‘th’” (as in “three” and “thank”).

Practice the Sound by Itself

  • As with every sound, it is crucial to practice the sound alone, by itself, first.
  • Using a toy/game such as a puzzle, you can take turns properly making the “th” sound, and then picking a puzzle piece.

Practice the Sound in Syllables

  • Using the same principle, add a vowel following the “th” (the, they, tha, thee, thy)
  • Then, add the vowels to the front of the “th” (oath, eeth, ayth, eyeth)
  • Finally, add vowels to both ends of the “th” (eethee, aathay, oothee)
    • I find that this part can be extra fun for the kids, as they can make up silly words while they are practicing their sounds!

Practice the Sound in Words

  • Again, make sure to incorporate a game or toy to keep the practice positive and fun!
  • Start with words that imitate the syllable shape with which your child had the most success (i.e. if he or she was successful with the “th” at the end, practice “th” final words such as math, both, with, teeth. etc.).
  • Use about 15-20 target words so your child is not overwhelmed.

Practice Sounds in Sentences

  • Using the same sentence during practice for continuity
    • This also limits the stress put on your child trying to create a sentence while also making sure he or she produces the “th” sound accurately.
  • Some sentence examples are
    • “I see ___________”
    • “He has a ____________”
    • A simple sentence works great for this practice

Practice Sounds in Conversation

  • Once your child has had consistent success at the sentence level, you can start to introduce practice at the conversational level.
  • There are some great activities that you can do to incorporate “th” words into general play/conversation
    • Using the pictures of the target words, create a story with your child
    • Using hand puppets to tell stories while using “th” sounds


Remember, to decrease frustration, make sure to limit practice to 5-10 minutes. We want to keep speech practice fun!