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Articulation Speech Therapy: Favorite Activities, Games and Books to Target the L Sound
The “L” sound is one of my favorite speech sounds to target in speech therapy. Since it’s a visual sound you can see the tongue elevate to the alveolar ridge. This visual support makes it so much easier to treat! Also, there are numerous ways to help people achieve correct articulatory placement.
Background Information About the “L” Sound
- L is a consonant not a vowel. Stopping the airflow in the mouth with the tongue, lips, or teeth forms consonants.
- L is a voiced sound. The vocal cords vibrate when this sound is made.
- L is a sonorant not an obstruent. Sonorants are sounds produced with the vocal cords coming together to vibrate and produce a continuous sound. Sonorants have more acoustic energy and sound louder than other consonants. The sonorants in English are y, w, l, r, m, n, and ng (Britannica, n.d).
- L is a liquid. This is a consonant that acts like a vowel because the airstream flows over the sides of the tongue and the sound can be prolonged.
- L is an alveolar sound. The tongue tip is placed on the alveolar ridge and the sides of the tongue are in a horizontal, open position.
- L is in a group of speech sounds known as The Late 8. These consonants are the last ones acquired by children learning English and are considered the most challenging (Medbridge, n.d.).
Where to Start?
Typically I start by teaching how to produce the “L” sound by showing proper tongue placement. This is particularly important for those who do not know anything about the sound or how it is produced. Seeing and finding this “magic spot” on the alveolar ridge with the tongue facilitates production of the “L” sound. Using mirrors, taking pictures, or even video-recording can help the person move his or her tongue to find the correct articulatory placement.
*Once my client finds the spot, I usually move onto the syllable level. This means I have him or her say “L” with a vowel. For instance, “Loo”, “Lah”, “Low”, “Lee” “Lie” etc.
Then when there’s success at the syllable level we move onto the word level. The complexity increases as my client’s accuracy increases. The end goal is for the client to say the “L” during spontaneous conversation without any support, reminders, models, or feedback from others or myself.
*This traditional articulation approach is not the only way to treat speech sound errors. Individualize treatment based on the needs and abilities of the person receiving speech therapy.
Why Use Activities, Toys, and Games in Speech Therapy?
Speech language pathologists are known for incorporating toys, games, and playful interactions into their speech therapy sessions. This is done not only so children enjoy the process but also to achieve a high number of repetitions to encourage skill acquisition and skill learning so it eventually carries over to everyday speech.
This is probably why it’s so common for young classmates of students in speech therapy to ask the visiting clinician, “Can I go to speech too?” when he or she is entering a class to pick up the student!
Production of the “L” sound naturally emerges while playing these games or participating in these activities. These organic appearances make therapy more productive and less of a hassle because elicitation and production of the target sound is more voluntary and less forced. This is ideal when a high number of trials are needed and the student, child, or client is reluctant to participate in drills.
Now let’s move onto the list of some of my favorite games, activities, toys, and worksheets to target the “L” sound!
Another quick note, before getting started. This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to make a purchase using my link.
Activities and Games to Target L in the Initial Position
- Make lemonade or squeeze lemons
- Play the game Lemonade Shake Up!
- Watch Disney’s The Lion King
- Play with a Lite Bright
- Do search and find worksheets loaded with the L Sound
- Play the game Gooey Louie
- Play the classic game Chutes and Ladders
- Play Limbo to see “How Low Can You Go?”
- Build something with Legos or Lincoln Logs
- Pick up some leaves and compare them to each other. All About Leaves Activity Packet is perfect for targeting “L” as well as other language goals
Love the variety of activities! I use this to target the L sound as well as work on language.– Jill Shook, MS, CCC-SLP
Favorite Books to Target L in the Initial Position
Books about lions, lobsters, lemonade, llamas, leaves, ladybugs, or lighthouses will provide many opportunities to say “l” in the initial position of words, but it’s essential that the target sound occurs frequently throughout the book. Books on this list have been tried and tested in my speech therapy sessions and at home.
- Llama Llama Learns to Swim or any Any Llama Llama book!
- The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch (this is part of the Lighthouse Keeper’s series – highly recommend any of these books).
Activities and Games to Target L in the Final Position
- Play the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
- Use these L Sound Compare and Contrast Cards – to describe similarities and differences between the pictured items
- Play with a Marble Run
- Play catch with a ball
- Paint seashells
- Make homemade pickles from cucumbers and dill
- Taste different apples and describe how they taste
Books to Target L in the Final Position
Books about a squirrel, a marble, a ball, a school, a snail, a shell, a whale, a pool, and a pickle will provide many opportunities to say “l” in the final position of words. The more frequently the target sound appears in the book, the better for skill acquisition. Books on this list have been tried and tested in my speech therapy sessions and at home.
Favorite Books to Target L in the Final Position
Activities and Games to Target L in the Medial Position
- Have a balloon volley and don’t let the the balloon touch the ground
- Launch a rocket balloon and watch it soar and blast around the room
- Make Jello
- Watch the family movie Free Willy
- Play memory or have a scavenger hunt using these L Sound Flashcards
- Catch butterflies by playing the game Elefun
- Play Alligator Ring Toss
- Count money and compare different dollar bills
- Make a watermelon craft or do an watermelon themed activity
- Make a delicious, healthy salad with a friend or family member
Favorite Books to Target L in the Medial Position
Books about elephants, alligators, buffalos, balloons, televisions, and watermelons, etc. will provide many opportunities to say “l” in the medial position of words. The more frequently the target sound appears in the book, the better for skill acquisition. Books on this list have been tried and tested in my speech therapy sessions and at home.
I hope this blog post has been helpful!
Since sounds and language are all around us, this list is certainly not endless. If I’m missing any must-have games, activities, or books to target the “L” sound, please let me know!
These are some L sound resources you may want to add to your speech therapy library:
- Articulation Speech Therapy: Favorite Activities, Games, and Books to Target the TH Sounds
- Articulation Speech Therapy: Favorite Activities, Games and Books to Target the L Sound
- Grouch Couch: A Great Game for Speech Therapy
- Social Communication and Speech Therapy: Interview With Allie Gallinger
- Christmas Activities for Speech Therapy