Most sounds are grouped in pairs where one sound is made with the voice turned on and the other sound is
voiceless. The /k/ and /g/ are examples. Both sounds are called velar plosive sounds which means first there is a stop of the airflow and then it is released. To stop the airflow, the back part of the tongue moves up and touches the velum (the back part of the roof of your mouth). This produces a brief blockage and a build-up of pressure in the breath stream. Next, the tongue quickly lowers and a puff of air is released. A bigger puff of air is released when making the /k/ sound than when producing a /g/ sound. These sounds also differ in voicing (vibration of the vocal folds) with the /k/ being unvoiced (with your voice turned off and just air passing through your mouth) and the /g/ being voiced (with your voice turned on). You can feel your vocal fold vibration by putting your hand on your throat while producing the /g/ sound. When you make the voiceless /k/ sound, you should not feel any movement in your throat.
The most common /k/ sound error is when a /t/ is produced in the place of the /k/ sound. Similarly, the
/g/ is misarticulated as /d/. This sound pattern error is known as fronting.
Hints for producing the /k/ sound:
Using a mirror, demonstrate what a correct /k/ sound looks and what it sounds like. Ask the student to place their tongue firmly on their back lower teeth and keep it there. Then have them put their hand in front of their mouth and feel the short bursts of air on their hand as they attempt to copy your correct /k/. Sometimes it is best to help the child to understand how the /t/ and /k/ sounds are different. Talk about how the tongue position for the /t/ sound is forward in their mouth with their tongue tip touching the alveolar ridge while the /k/ sound is made by the tongue humps up to touch the roof of the mouth in the back of the mouth until it lowers to release a puff of air.
It’s recommended that students practice correcting their speech error at the isolation level for each sound. Move on to the syllable level when 80% mastery is achieved. After that, move to the word level once 80% mastery at the syllable level is reached. The word level is more complex with the sound being practiced at the initial position of words (at the beginning), in the final position of words (at the end) and finally, in the medial position of words (in the middle of words). After achieving mastery of the sound in words, move to the phrase level, then to short repetitive sentences, and finally to longer, more complex sentences as the student masters each level. Finally, reading stories aloud along with structured conversational activities will help the student move to the ultimate goal of correct production during conversational speech.