Teaching L in Isolation & Syllables

LEARN 3 WAYS:  The lesson is provided in Video, Text, or Audio format below.

Teaching L in Isolation & Syllables

To practice with your child, you can watch the video or view the practice documents.

In this lesson, you will be learning how to teach your child ‘L’ in isolation and in syllables.

As you can see by the attached image, this chart puts ‘L’ at about age 6 for most children. In other words, by age six, 90% of children can produce the ‘L’ sound correctly in speech.

However, I believe in working with children as soon as possible so they don’t develop bad speech habits.

Most of the time, when a child mispronounces ‘L’, he is substituting ‘W’ instead. He may say ‘wittle’ instead of ‘little’, or ‘wike’ instead of ‘like’.

You’ll need to teach him not to put his lips together, which makes the ‘W’, and instead keep them apart for the ‘L’. The tip of his tongue should touch the place where his top teeth meet his gums on the inside. This area is called the alveolar ridge.

If you have a mouth hand puppet like ‘Mr. Mouth’ (my name for it), you can use it to help show the correct tongue placement. Or you could use a tongue depressor or lollipop to touch the correct area.


Have your child put the tip of his tongue there and then vocalize. That is the ‘L’ sound. To help him feel how that works when speaking, have him say ‘AH’, and then raise his tongue to the correct spot behind his teeth. Then lower the tongue again to ‘AH’ and repeat. If he can do that, he can try saying ‘La, la, la’ slowly. Theses exercises should help him learn to keep his lips still for ‘L’ and not round them into a ‘W’.
When your child can produce ‘L in isolation with 80% accuracy, you can start on syllables, like ‘Lah, Lay, Lee, Lye, Lo, and Loo.’



For instance, you can start with ‘Lah’. It might help to use a mirror in front of both of you, or to at least give your child a hand mirror to look at.


Make sure your child puts his tongue in the right place to make a good ‘L’ to start the syllable. Try to make it fun and reward your child for any effort to produce the sound correctly. Practice this at least 3 times.

Then you can move on to the next syllable, ‘Lee’, and do the same thing. You may find that some syllables will be easier for your child to produce, and that’s OK. You can come back to the harder ones later. Move on to as many syllables as you can, trying to get as many correct productions as possible.

When your child can produce ‘L’ syllables correctly 80% of the time, you can move on to Initial ‘L’ in words. From there, continue to work your way through all the ‘L’ levels, as outlined in the How to Teach Your Child Speech course.

You’ve got this!

Start helping your child today!

Just 10 minutes a day can make a difference in your child’s speech and language.  Subscribe to our convenient Materials Library to find digital resources for Speech and Language organized and at your fingertips.