Most children are able to say the “th” sound by between 7- and 8-years old. There are two types of “th” sounds; voiced and voiceless. Examples of the voiced “th” sound include the words; there and the. Examples of the voiceless “th” sound include the words; thumb and Thursday. Both sounds are produced the same way, however, with the voiced version the voice-box is turned on (the vocal folds vibrate).
Tips for producing “th”
1. To produce the “th” sound, your tongue goes between your teeth and you blow out air.
2. Show your child how you produce the sound and explain the position of the tongue.
3. Have your child practice putting his tongue between his teeth in front of a mirror. Then have him blow out air. Your child should now be able to produce “th” in isolation.
4. Once your child has an understanding up his tongue placement, practice “th” in syllables (“tha”, “thee”, “thoo”, “thay”, “thow”).
5. Next, move onto practicing “th” in words.
10 Voiceless “th” practice words (initial word position)
10 Voiced “th” practice words (initial word position)
“th” in phrases
Once your child has mastered producing “th” in words, you can move on to having him practice the sound in phrases. A great way to do this, is it write each “th” word on an index card. Put a little piece of tape on the back of each card. Place one card at a time on your child’s thumb. Have him say “(“TH” word) on my thumb”. For example, place the card with the word three on your child’s thumb. Then have him say “Three on my thumb”. Remind your child to use his good “th” sound when saying the sentences.
Remember, if you have concerns regarding your child’s articulation skills, contact a licensed speech language pathologist.