Expect to start hearing your child incorporate the /v/ sound into his or her speech between the ages of four and a eight. The /v/ sound is often associated with the /f/ sound because both articulations require the same mouth position. However, unlike /f/, the /v/ sound is voiced. This means the vocal chords are used to make this sound.
How it’s elicited
When making the /v/ sound, instruct your child to raise her bottom lip so that it is lightly touching the top front teeth. Be sure to pay attention to which part of the bottom lip your child is touching to their top teeth. It’s actually the backside of the lip that needs to be pressed against the front side of the teeth. Make sure the bottom lip isn’t disappearing behind the teeth.
Once your child has their mouth in the correct position for articulating the /v/ sound, encourage her to push air out through her mouth. Listen to the sound she makes when she does this. If it doesn’t sound like an /v/, pay attention to her mouth position. The problem will most likely be there.
How to Practice It
Once your child is stimulable—meaning he or she is able to directly imitate the /v/ sound when you make it—it’s time to push their skill and confidence level. Start by incorporating the /v/ sound into syllables.
Try starting syllables that begin with the /v/ sound (“vee, va, voo”). When your child is comfortable making these basic syllabic sounds, try moving up to some more advanced drills—ones that end with the /v/ sound, rather than begin with it. “ev,” “iv” and “oov” could be good practice syllables.
Next start testing your child’s ability to pronounce entire words that incorporate the /v/ sound—“vat,” “vase,” “very.” Try finding a variety of words for your child to practice, not just ones that start with the /v/ sound.
Sentences including the /v/ should be the next step in achieving fluency with the /v/ sound. Ask your child to repeat this sentence—“Very active voles are everywhere.” Try writing a few of your own sentences to practice with your child.
It’s important thing to remember during practice that repetition and the correct articulation are most important in mastering this sound. If you notice your child stumbling over the /v/ sounds once he begins incorporating it into words and sentences, make sure you step in and have him repeat the word correct before moving on to the next one. It’s okay to encourage your child to go slow at first when saying words or sentences.
If you are concerned with your child’s speech or language development, please contact Chicago Speech Therapy by clicking on the “Contact Karen” button on the upper right section of this page. Your online inquiry should be responded to within 30 minutes.
Karen George is a Chicago speech-language pathologist. Karen is a founding member and the current leader of Chicago Speech Therapists Connect, a group of Chicago-area speech-language pathologists. As of Jan 2012, the Chicago Speech Therapists group contained over 400 members. The private pediatric speech therapy practice Karen founded, Chicago Speech Therapy, LLC, provides in-home pediatric speech therapy in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Karen and her team of Chicago speech therapists have a reputation for ultra-effective speech therapy and work with a variety of speech disorders. Karen is the author of several books such as A Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language Milestones, A Parent’s Guide to Articulation, A Parent’s Guide to Speech Delay, A Parent’s Guide to Stuttering Therapy, and A Parent’s Guide to Pediatric Feeding Therapy. She is often asked to speak and has addressed audiences at Children’s Memorial and Northwestern University. Karen is highly referred by many Chicago-area Pediatricians and elite schools.