What is Cued Articulation?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Cued articulation is a method for early language instruction developed by Australian Jane Passy in the 1980s. It is extensively used in Australia to promote phonological awareness and teach children, as well as English language learners, about the sounds associated with spoken English. Courses in this technique are offered by speech-language pathologists in Australia and can sometimes be taken outside this region in areas where cued articulation is in use.

In cued articulation, each sound in the English language is associated with a hand movement. The position and movement of the hand provides information about whether the sound is voiced or unvoiced, and how it is made. In addition, the practitioner also uses color coding with written phonemes, providing people with reinforcement as they learn cued articulation in the classroom. Australian classrooms sometimes integrate cued articulation into early training for all students, and students with learning disabilities may receive extra sessions to help them keep pace with other students in their classes.


This technique engages multiple senses, encouraging people to move as they learn in addition to observing and practicing their own speech as they listen to a teacher. Fully engaging students in this way has been shown to be beneficial, as it helps people concentrate and provides room for different learning styles. A person who has trouble differentiating sounds when listening to spoken English can pick up the differences with the assistance of the hand gestures and color coding. Students who struggle with learning spoken English and developing strong language school may be candidates for screening to see if they have disabilities that interfere with their ability to learn.

In addition to being used in classrooms to lay the groundwork for literacy, cued articulation can also be helpful for establishing communication with people with disabilities. People who have difficulty speaking or processing sound are sometimes not provided with appropriate interventions early in life, and can learn with cued articulation when they are older. People recovering from brain injuries may also benefit from sessions as they relearn speech.

This method is not a signed language. The hand movements represent sounds, not letters, concepts, or words. Some instructors may use cued articulation with sign language when working with students and patients, but the system cannot be used alone for communication. Australian sign language speakers usually use Auslan, also known as Australian sign language, a distinct language closely related to British and New Zealand sign language. When people have difficulty with spoken communication, sometimes they are able to learn and utilize sign language, along with other tools like communication boards.


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