BlogTherapy‘L’ sound articulation: A Parental Guide for Home Practice

‘L’ sound articulation: A Parental Guide for Home Practice

Does your child say “wook” for “look”? Or have you heard them say “wowipop” instead of lollipop”?

For some children, the /L/ sound can be difficult to master. One of the most common errors you would find is that your child substituted the /L/ sound for /W/. The /L/ speech sound starts developing in children when they are around 3 years. It is mastered by the time children turn 6 years of age. If you have a child that has difficulty with the /L/ sound, this blog will help you understand how to help your child say the sound.

How is the /L/ sound produced?

When we say the /L/ sound, our tongue tip touches the alveolar ridge which is just behind the upper front teeth. The air then flows around your tongue. Simultaneously, when you produce the /L/ sound, your vocal cords vibrate, thus making it a voiced sound.

If your child is older than 6 years and is having difficulty with producing the /L/ sound, please consult a certified speech-language pathologist. The earlier you treat speech errors, the better the outcome.

How to say the /L/ sound?

Model the correct placement of the /L/ sound to the child. Use a mirror and ask your child to sit in front of the mirror. Sit behind your child and produce it yourself. Say it slowly and show the placement of the tongue to your child. This is called modeling. Ask your child to imitate the sound after you. Imitation is an important skill that is needed to learn the /L/ sound.

What techniques can I use to help my child?

  • A fun way to work on speech sounds is to use a mirror. Ask your child to sit in front of the mirror. Then, sit behind your child and produce it yourself. Ask them to watch how you are making the sound. This visual feedback will help your child understand how to produce the sound correctly.
  • You can also use tactile feedback to elicit the /L/ sound. Use a tongue depressor or a toothbrush by holding it at the point of contact where the tongue meets the alveolar ridge while producing the /L/ sound. Then as your child touches the same area with their tongue and says the sound.
  • You can also try using your child’s favorite snacks to elicit the /L/. sound. Use some Nutella or peanut butter and stick it to the point of contact where the tongue meets the alveolar ridge while producing the /L/ sound. Have your child reach the spot by moving their tongue. This activity is specifically helpful to help your child understand tongue placement.
  • Here is a method you can try if your child can say the voiced /TH/ sound as in ‘that’ or ‘they’. Have your child say /TH/ and slide their tongue up from between the teeth (/TH/ production) to the alveolar ridge (/L/ production) while still voicing the sound. This can help them the /L/ sound.


 How to use the /L/ sounds in words and conversations?

When we work on speech sounds, we follow a hierarchy. Your speech therapist may use the following depending on in which areas your child needs support:

  • At isolation level:/l…..l…..l…./.
  • At a syllable level:la, li, lu, lo, ol, il, etc.
  • At the word-initial, medial and final level: lion, airplane, ball, etc.
  • At the phrase level:lonely lion, large ball, etc.
  • At the sentence level:The lonely lion played along with a large ball
  • At a conversation level:Using stories, narration tasks, picture scenes, etc. With an /l/ sound.

In this way, your child will work their way through this hierarchy. Always consult a certified speech-language pathologist for these concerns regarding your child’s speech and language skills.

Some points to remember:

  • Not all the techniques mentioned above may work for your child.
  • Speech therapy is individualized. Consult your child’s speech-language pathologist.
  • Each child is different and will learn in different ways. Identify the technique that works best for a child.
  • Be patient. Speech therapy progress takes time.
  • Follow the home training and practices recommended by your child’s speech-language pathologist.
  • Be creative and make speech practice fun!


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