How to Teach the Y Sound

How to teach the Y sound

I have had a few requests for how to teach the Y sound. Here is a brief explanation of how I teach the Y sound in speech therapy. I hope this helps.

Learining the Y sound all by itself

To teach the /y/ sound start by asking your child if they can say the /y/ sound all by itself. If they can, great. If not, have them say “ee” as in me or knee, and then have them follow the “ee” sound with “uh” as in what and duck. Saying “ee-uh” repetitively should elicit the Y sound.

Practice the Y Sound in Syllables

Now that your child can say the Y sound, have them practice it in syllables such as:
Yay, Yee, Yai, Yo, You.

Practice the Y Sound in Words

Once they have been successful with this have them practice the Y sound in words such as: yawn, yard, yogurt, young, yell, yellow, yarn, yuck, your, yesterday, yams, year, yes, yummy, and yolk. You can download the picture cards I have created for words beginning with the Y sound on the worksheets page.

Practice the Y Sound in Phrases

When they can say these words with about 80% accuracy have them practice these words in phrases for example, “Your yard, your yogurt, your year, your yams… .”

Practice the Y Sound in Sentences

After mastering these phrases have them put these words into sentences. You can either have them write their own or you can use a “carrier sentence” which changes with the target word, for instance, “Your yogurt is yummy. Your yolk is yummy. Your yell is yummy.”

Practice the Y Sound While Reading

Following successful sentence production have them practice the Y sound while reading aloud. If they are too young to read aloud you might try creating a story with the Y words mentioned above. Have them color pictures for the story and practice retelling it.

Practice the Y in Conversation

Finally, your child is ready to practice the /y/ sound in conversation. Now, you know they can make the sound so it is o.k. to correct them when they forget. You may want to be selective about when you correct them so you don’t embarrass them or make them self conscious. Most importantly whenever you are practicing new sounds make it fun so your child will want to cooperate!


Heidi - Mommy Speech Therapy Heidi Hanks, M.S.CCC-SLP has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 2000. She graduated from Utah State University where she completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She began her career in early intervention and eventually started her own private practice where she has worked primarily with pre-K through school age kids. She is the founder of Little Bee Speech, and is currently developing apps for speech and language. Heidi lives in Utah with her husband and 4 children.


3 Responses to “How to Teach the Y Sound”

  1. McKenna says:

    I found your blog through a search engine and have been an avid reader. I LOVE IT and get so many great tips! I have a 3 year old daughter who has Down syndrome and am currently studying to be a Speech Language Pathologist. I have a blog for mommies called The Mom Crowd and I will be posting tomorrow an entry on your awesome site because I think every mom is interested in how to help their child’s speech development.

    Keep the great posts coming!
    McKenna
    http://www.themomcrowd.com

  2. Beth says:

    Thank you so much. I found this site from google, and it has been a blessing.

  3. Dean Trout says:

    That’s how I taught the /y/ sound, too! Might I also add that I called it the “karate” sound. The kids and I would get up and “karate chop” the air while saying the sound. the simple motor movement would help some of them make the connection of what I was wanting them to say.

    Love your site!
    Dean