Testing Times with Tongue Twisters – Part 3


Tongue twisters are a great way to enjoy language learning while improving your child’s pronunciation skills. Everyone can recall learning tongue twisters as a child. Tongue twisters are also a silly way to have fun making mistakes with the English language. It’s important that your student feels comfortable making mistakes as that sets them on the proper path towards success.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

The tale is nonsense and the words are not important but the flow and initial sounds are a challenge. Start by looking at the first sounds of each word and becoming comfortable with the initial “P” sound. Practice that for a while and make sure it’s a “P” sound coming out and not a “B”. Have your student try to come up with some other “P” words and make some sentences. Then get back to the tongue twister.

The trick is to start very slowly at first. Make sure that we’re pronouncing all the words correctly and with a good flow. You can take out the timer once your student is starting to feel comfortable and confident with the tongue twister. Take turns recording your times and try to ensure that you keep that perfect pronunciation. After that, do your best to get swifter and swifter and not slower and slower.

Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep.

The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed

shilly-shallied south.

These sheep shouldn’t sleep in a shack;

            To truly master tongue twisters, you must move on to digraphs. These are combinations of two letters that form one sound. Differentiating them from other sounds can be difficult. Tongue twisters are a great way to practice. Make sure that your student is pronouncing the “S” in “swiftly” differently from the “Sl” in “sleep”. Once you’re feeling comfortable and confident, take out that timer and try to speed up.

Luke Moos

Senior Teacher

I Can Read VietNam

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