Tips and Tricks: /J/ Sound


How to Teach the J Sound

Today I am here to offer some tips and tricks for teaching that tricky /J/ sound.  This is something you can work on with your child at home (and in therapy with a qualified speech provider).  There are different errors that kids make for the /J/ sound.  One is called “deaffrication”, when they use “dz” instead of “J” (ex. “dzuice” instead of “juice”). This is something you can work on with your child at home (and in therapy with a qualified speech provider).

There are several levels of teaching sounds: isolation (only the sound), at the word level (ex.”jeep”), in phrases (ex. “blue jeans”), sentences (“I see blue jeans.”), and finally in conversation.  

This may take some time.  This is normal.  Try to be patient and don’t put too much pressure on your kiddo.  

Isolation Level

One way to practice this is “jjjjjj”.  Some kids can do the /J/ sound right away when you do this…some cannot. If they can’t quite do it yet, don’t worry.  Keep practicing. 

Before /J/ works, you might have to try /D/ and /SH/…then squish them together.  You can practice each of these alone….then together….making them closer and closer together until you get to /J/.  

Tips and tricks:

1) First…get those lips out into a pucker.

2) show them and tell them how to put their tongue on the roof of their mouth (“put your tongue near the bumpy spot”).  If they have a hard time, keep practicing, use a mirror, and be patient. 

3) Next…show them how to make the air come out.  I tell my students to make it “pop”…that way the air comes out quickly.  

Just before the word level comes syllables.  This is where you add in a vowel.  Examples: jo, jee, jaa, aj, ij, eej.  

Word Level

Once we’ve got isolation and syllables down, we can move to practicing in words. Some kids do better starting at the beginning of the word, some do better with the middle or end of the word.  You can determine this by trying some words.  I often start with kids where they are successful (this may sound backwards…but saying sounds wrong can get frustrating, so kids are excited when they get them right).  In speech therapy, we call this “stimulability” (if a child is “stimulable” for a sound….they are saying it right! yay!).  

Beginning Words (initial position)

  • Initial J: jelly, jersey, Jacob, J, jello, jelly beans, juice, jacket, jungle, giant, jeans, jeep, jewelry, jig, jump, Jupiter, jail, jar, jaguar, jump rope

Middle Words (medial position)

  • Medial J: blue jeans, emergency, badger, refrigerator, vegetable, angel, pajamas, oranges, gingerbread, jungle gym, magic, magician, pages, DJ, graduate, engineer, fire engine, detergent, banjo, pigeon

Ending Words (final position)

  • Final J: badge, fudge, sludge, carriage, bridge, sponge, stage, fridge, cabbage, orange, luggage, package, bandage, gar-age, cage, change, wedge, marriage, age, page, strange, courage

Once you figure out which of these positions is easiest, practice those words.  You can model the sounds for your child, emphasizing the part with /J/ in them…cheering for them if they get it right, but not scolding them if they get it wrong. 

Once your child has mastered the word level (consistently getting 15-20 words correct at least 75% of the time), you can try some phrases/sentences.  


I like to use this visual set to cue which part of the word we are targeting.  

Phrase/Sentence Level

We can sometimes use the same sentence to practice lots of words: 

Example: I see a _____. (jar, jaguar, jump rope)

Or you can make up sentences for each word.  

Again, make your /J/ sounds louder (we call this exaggerated modeling…fudge), encourage your child, but don’t scold.  Also, don’t do this practice all day every day….just a few minutes here and there is fine.  We don’t want kids to become sensitive about their speech.   

Conversation Level

This can be used from the start in modeling of your own /J/ sounds in your conversation (for a few minutes here and there).  Once a child has consistently mastered sentences (75% or more correct), you can start providing gentle reminders in conversation.  “Don’t forget your /J/ sound”, “oops, I think you meant “juice”…right?”  Don’t stress your child out….but remind them gently (some of the time).  


One of the best ways to model the /J/ sound is by reading stories.  You can read stories to your child that have a lot of /J/ sounds in them and exaggerate that sound for them while you read.  Here are some examples of books that have /J/ in them frequently.  If your child is old enough to read, you can practice with them reading too!

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw

Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christellow
I Just Forgot by Mercer Mayer

For Articulation Cards that you can play Memory and other games with, check out Teachers Pay Teachers.  

Free Articulation Printables are in the Freebie Library.  Join the Ausome Speech Club below to get the password. 

Initial /J/ One Page Black and White

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    My name is Elizabeth Hepler and I’ve been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 2005.  I am the mother of four great kids. Our household is neurodiverse: ADHD, Autism, Gifted, and more!

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