Free SLP

Speech Therapy for the Z Sound

Z / z

animated-zebra-image-0008
Z

ebra

The Buzzing Bee Sound  Zebra, Wizard, Buzz

Age of Mastery: 

4

How to make the “z” sound:

These are general tips for the /z/ sounds.  Lisping behaviors make up a large portion of /z/ errors.

Lateral Lisp (Daffy Duck. Slushy sounding “z”)
Interdental Lisp (“th” for “z”)

  • Tell the child to smile with their lips close together.  We want the lips to be almost touching each other and the top and bottom teeth to be almost touching each other.
  • Have the child place the tip of their tongue super close to the bumpy spot (alveolar ridge) of their gums behind their front teeth, but not touching it!
  • While still keeping the lips and teeth close to one another and the tip of their tongue close to the bumpy spot, have the child blow out a stream of air.  
  • Turn on your voice ( voice is the rumbling in your vocal folds.  Have your child/client place their hand on their/your neck during the production of “s” and “z”, and have them feel the difference between the two.  In the production of “s”, there should be no rumble or voicing.  While in the production of “z”, there should be a rumbling or voicing.)

Tricks and Tips for producing the “z” sound:

  • To try and emphasize that we don’t want the tongue to be between the teeth the production of “z”, tell the child that their tongue is a bee and their teeth is the beehive.  We don’t want to let the bee out of the beehive, so we should not see it during the production of “z”!
  • If the child can already say the “s” sound, tell them to make the “s” sound but “turn on their motor or make their throat buzz!”
  • A fun way to practice is to take turns and see who can buzz like a bee the loudest, quietest, or longest.
  • Although we don’t want the tip of the tongue to be touching the bumpy spot during the production of “z’, having the child know exactly where the bumpy spot is located is helpful.  A fun and tasty way to teach the child where it is  production is to put some Nutella, peanut butter, sour candy gel, or any other spreadable food they enjoy on the bumpy ridge. (rubbing a sucker on the target spot can work as well)  Once the child has felt the spot a few times, have the child place their tongue super close to the bumpy spot and blow out air.
  • If the child has siblings, they might be familiar with the phrase “I’m not touching you” where one of their siblings, in an effort to annoy them, puts their finger or hand close to them and says “I’m not touching you!”.  Tell the child to pretend their tongue is the finger and they are trying to get as close to the bumpy ridge as possible without touching it.  If we touch the bumpy ridge, we might get in trouble from our parents!
Z

ebra

animated-zebra-image-0008

Age of Mastery: 

4