Teaching F in Isolation & Syllables


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

As you can see by the attached image, this chart puts ‘F’ at about age 4 for most children.  In other words, by age four, 90% of children can produce the ‘F’ 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 ‘F’, he is substituting ‘P’ or ‘B’ instead.  He may say ‘bear’ instead of ‘fair’, or ‘nipe’ instead of ‘knife’.

To teach your child to say ‘F’ correctly, show him that his top teeth need to be touching his bottom lip while he blows out softly.  Model that for him, and then ask him to try. It is very helpful to have a mirror so that he can see what he’s doing as he tries to make the sound.  The ‘F’ sound is soft, and his voice should not be on.  If his voice turns on, that makes the ‘V’ sound instead.  If he makes the ‘P’ or ‘B’ sound, he is letting his lips touch, and that shouldn’t happen for the ‘F’ sound.  Tell him not to let his lips touch, and to make sure his top teeth are touching his bottom lip.  I would avoid using the term ‘biting’ his lower lip, because that’s not really what happens.  The teeth should barely touch the bottom lip as the air is blown threw them.

When your child can produce ‘F’ in isolation with 80% accuracy, you can start on syllables, like ‘Fah, Fay, Fee, Fye, Fo and Foo.’   (Or if you’re reading Jack and the Beanstalk, Fee Fi Fo Fum!   😉 )

For instance, you can start with ‘Fah’. 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 is putting his teeth on his lower lip and blowing to make a good ‘F’ 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, ‘Fee’, 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 ‘F’ syllables correctly 80% of the time, you can move on to Initial ‘F’ in words.  From there, continue to work your way through all the ‘F’ levels, as outlined in the How to Teach Your Child Speech course. 

You’ve got this!