Speech therapists often use a Speech Sound Developmental Chart to allow them to see when sounds typically start developing. The F sound usually emerges in a child’s language around 2.5 years old. By age 4, this sound should be mastered. For the V sound, a child may start producing it around 4 and should have the sound mastered by 8. Why can the V take longer to master? This is most likely because it is a “voiced” sound (one where the vocal cords vibrate). Go ahead, you try! Produce the F and V sound and lightly touch your throat. Do you feel the vibrations when you produce the V sound? Good! If your child is above this age and still not appropriately producing these sounds, don’t panic! Here are a few tips to help your child articulate them correctly. Keep in mind, this is NOT in place of a speech therapy. Only speech therapists are trained to most efficiently correct anarticulation disorder.
I enjoy teaching the F and V sounds because placement of the teeth and mouth are visible for children to see! (Unlike other sounds including the R).
First, ask the child to easily bite down on their lower lip. Modeling this position for the child will better allow them to do it themselves. I also use a mirror so that the child can see what I’m doing as well as their own teeth and lip placement. Slowly blow air out to produce the F and V sounds. Have your child try this as well. I often like to have children repeat the sounds (ex: Fa Fa Fa, or Va Va Va).
When your child can produce the sounds in isolation, then use words with F and V as initial sounds ONLY. Once your chid can produce these sounds in initial position, you can incorporate words that have F and V in medial position and final.
Ex: initial position: violin, fish, frog
medial position: beaver, laughing, severe
final position: leave, leaf, brief
Second, auditory discrimination is important for these two letters. Have your child feel the vibrations your mouth makes when you produce the V. Have them place their hands or fingers on their throat just like you did in the beginning. Practice in front of the mirror both the F and the V so that they can not only hear the difference between the two sounds, but also feel the difference between both sounds when producing it.
Print out some materials online if available so that you can practice a variety of words with your child!
Have questions or comments? Please feel free to contact us!