Bruce Murray, College of Education The Reading Genie


Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes

Melanie Hummer ( helps children learn phonemes by exploring their mouth moves and representing their sound analogies with hand gestures.  Melanie is a reading specialist at Green Ridge Elementary School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Most of her sound analogies begin with the same sound they are representing.

Phoneme Mouth Feel Gesture Sound Analogy
 /a/  Jaw and tongue are down. Rub eyes with fists. Crying baby
/b/ Lips start out together, then they open and a puff of air comes out. Voice box on. Pat chest. Beating heart
/d/ Tip of tongue touches above your top teeth.  Voice box on. Knock on table. Door knock
/e/ Mouth open, tongue behind bottom teeth. Cup hand behind ear. Hard to hear
/f/ Top teeth touch your bottom lip. Swirl open hand. Electric fan
/g/ Mouth is open, tongue humped at back of mouth.  Voice box on. Raise glass. Gulping milk
/h/ Air comes out of open mouth. Pant. Hot dog
/i/ Mouth is open, tongue is slightly lowered. Mouth open, tongue out. Voice box on.  Icky sticky
 /j/ Tongue is up, lips are open. Twirl hands.  Jumping rope
 /k/ (letter c) Tongue is humped in the back of your mouth. Pull index finger to click camera.  Click
 /l/ Tip of tongue touches above your top teeth and stays there. Hold up fist. Ready to lick a lollipop.
 /m/  Lips come together. Rub tummy.  Mmm mmm good
 /n/  Tongue behind top teeth, air comes out your nose. Swat at bug. Buzzing gnat
 /o/  Mouth open, jaw dropped. Open mouth.  Doctor says “Open wide”
/p/ Lips open and a puff of air comes out. Pop fingers open.  Popcorn popping
 /kw/ (letters qu) Back of tongue is humped in back of mouth, lips make a circle. Hands on hips.  “Quiet!” said the queen.
 /r/ Tongue curls up to roof of mouth.  Voice box on. Clench teeth.  Dog growls “Ruff ruff”
 /s/ Tip of tongue touches above your top teeth. Then blow a hiss of air. Hiss and undulate hand side to side  Snake
 /t/ Tip of tongue touches above your top teeth. Move finger like pendulum.  Tick tock
 /u/ Mouth is open, tongue is down. Pretend to punch stomach.  Punch
 /v/ Top teeth touch bottom lip. Voice box on. Push arm back and forth. Vacuum cleaner.
 /w/ Lips make a circle. Move from side to side. Washing machine
/ks/ (letter x) Begins with back of tongue humped in back of your mouth. Then hiss. Open a soda can. Soda can
 /y/ Tongue is touching side of teeth, mouth is open. Slap side of leg.  “Yah!”
 /z/ Tip of tongue touches above your top teeth. Voice box on. Pretend to zip up a coat.  Zipper sound

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Last modified: January 28, 2018