Mikee Larrazabal 6 min read

Teach Your Child to Say the L Sound

The sound of the letter L can be a bit tricky for some kids to learn. While children try to master the L sound, they may produce different versions of the sound such as a lateral lisp or a frontal lisp. But with a little practice, your child will be saying this sound like a pro in no time! In this blog, we will talk all about the L sound and how to help your child produce it accurately.

Introduce the sound

L sounds

Naturally, the sound of L develops at the age of around 3 years old. This is the age when children are starting to produce sounds correctly and are learning how to use their mouth and tongue to make different sounds. However, the sound of L is mastered at the age of around 5 years old.

If your child has difficulties producing the L sound, don’t worry! Just introduce the sound to them and let them practice.

Teach them how to produce the sound

There are three Steps for Teaching the L Sound

1. To teach the L sound, teach your child to place the tongue tip on the alveolar ridge, or the area behind the front teeth. He/she may not understand or feel where to put their tongue at first. To help them do this, touch your child’s alveolar ridge with your finger or a lollipop. Then ask your child to place his tongue tip there.

2. After your child learns where to put their tongue, instruct them to produce air without moving their tongue. Then with his tongue tip in place ask him to relax and then let air flow out the sides of his tongue.

3. Now to make it like an L sound, all he has to do is make the sound “loud” by turning on his voice, or have them vibrate their vocal folds.

More tips to help your child place his/her tongue.

Without a doubt, your child will have a hard time at first placing their tongue in the right spot. If this is the case, here are some tips that might help:

Sound of L
  1. An easy way to find the alveolar ridge is to put your finger in front of your child’s teeth and then slide it back.
  2. Another way is to use a mirror for visual feedback. This way your child can watch himself and see where his tongue needs to go.
  3. You can also use a popsicle stick, lollipop, or peanut butter to aid in the placement of your child’s tongue.
  4. Have them suck on a straw and then place their tongue tip on the alveolar ridge.
  5. You might also try stimulating the tongue tip with an electric toothbrush. Then you put the electric brush at the alveolar ridge for awareness.

Teach them how to produce the sound in syllables

Once your child has mastered producing the L sound by itself, it’s time to move on to syllables. When introducing syllables, make sure to introduce all vowels with the specific sound in all word positions (initial and final word position).

Here are some L sound syllables to get you started:

  • La, le, li, lo, lu
  • Ill, all, ell

Teach them how to produce the sound in words

If your youngster can pronounce the syllables listed above with a pleasant /l/, he’s ready to go on and produce them in words. When introducing a new sound in words, it is better to start with the easier ones that have one or two syllables.

Here are some words in the initial word position to get you started:

  • lip, lap, log, less, let
  • led, leg, lid, list, lit

And here are some L sound words in the final word position:

  • ball, bell, call, fell, fill
  • sell, small, spell, still, tall

Finally, here are some L sound words that have the sound in the middle of the word:

  • bottle, little, kettle, model, metal
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Teach them how to produce the sound in sentences

The next step is to produce the sound of L in sentences. This will help your child learn how to use the L sound in different contexts and at a more natural pace. If your child can make it in the beginning of words, practice saying the initial L sound in sentences. For instance, “Liam enjoys learning about ________.” Fill in the blank with one of the initial L words you’ve been working on.

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If your child can say the L sound at the end of words, practice saying final L sounds in sentences. For example, “Pearl will call _______.” Fill in the blank with the last L sounds you worked on again.

If your child can make it in the middle of words, practice saying it in phrases. For example, “Mela follows the elephant to __________.”

Here are more come phrases and sentences you can work with too!

  • I’ll call you later.
  • The little girl is wearing a red dress.
  • Please spell your name.
  • My dad is taller than your dad.
  • I’m going to sell my bike.

Teach them how to produce the Lsound in stories and conversations!

Once your child has mastered producing L sounds in sentences, it’s time to move on to stories. This can be done by recalling events during the day and emphasizing words with the sound of L. This can also be done by retelling short stories or nursery rhymes that your child is familiar with.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

“Today at school, we read a story about a ________.”

“Do you remember what happened in the story ‘The Three Little Pigs’? The ___________ blew down the first two houses but not the third one.”

“Remember, we have to be careful when we use scissors because we don’t want to end up like Jack’s ___________.”

Make up your own stories as you go along and be creative! The more fun you make it, the more your child will want to participate.

Practice, practice, practice!

The key to success is practice, practice, practice! Make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your child to practice producing the sound of L. This can be done through some of the activities and games mentioned above or by coming up with your own. The more fun you make it, the more your child will want to do it! And before you know it, they’ll be using the each sound like a pro!

Tips to help your child master their sounds at home:

L sound
  1. First things first, make it fun! The more fun your child has, the more they’ll want to do it.
  2. Be creative. There are endless possibilities when it comes to activities and games. Get creative and come up with your own!
  3. Practice, practice, practice! The more opportunities your child has to practice, the better.
  4. Encourage your child to use it in conversation. This will help them get used to using it in different contexts. Encourage your child to practice saying the sound of L in words like “lake” or “lion.”
  5. Model correct production of the L sound yourself. This will show your child how it’s done and provide a good model for them to follow.

If you need additional help teaching your child the L sound, consider working with a speech therapist or other professional. With a little bit of help, your child will be able to say it like a pro in no time!

For more information, please contact us. We’d be happy to help!