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How to Help Preschoolers Pronounce the Letter L

by Kathryn Hatter, studioD

As a little one starts verbalizing, get ready for some exciting and energetic conversations. While chatting with your tot can be an amazing experience, it's also common for kids to have issues pronouncing some letter sounds. The letter "L" requires just-so tongue positioning, making it a tough sound for many preschoolers. Give helpful coaching and pointers to your little talker so she learns the "L" sound successfully.

Show your child where to place the tip of his tongue to make a proper "L" sound. The Mommy Speech Therapy website tells parents that the tip of the tongue needs to go right behind the front upper teeth. To make the sound then, show your little one how to move the tongue down from behind the teeth while making the "llll" sound. Demonstrate this technique as often as necessary until your child gets it. Use a mirror so you preschooler can see how her tongue position compares to yours.

Enunciate words with the "L" sound so your little one hears the sound clearly. For example, say words like "love," "like," "ladybug" and "lucky" with lots of emphasis and focus in the tongue position to make the "L" sound.

Encourage your child to say syllables slowly when words have an "L" sound. It's common for kids to develop speech and articulation habits that will take some time to break. Once you know your child can make the "L" sound, keep gently reminding her to replace the old articulation habit with the new correct one.

Try tongue exercises to loosen up your tot's tongue and help him get it in shape. The Healthy Child website recommends clicking the tongue quickly and moving the tongue back and forth fast. Don't fret if he doesn't get it right away -- most kids can't click their tongues until at least age 3.


  • Chill out about that pesky letter "L," recommends the International Children's Education website. Letter "L" is on the list of hardest letters to say because of where the tongue needs to be to say it. It takes many kids until age 7 to wrap the tongue around this letter.


  • Don't stress out your child about how she pronounces her "L"s. The International Children's Education website advises that unless a child seems frustrated or you can't understand her, speech issues rarely need intervention because they'll resolve naturally. Making an issue out of pronunciation could make matters worse instead of better.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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