Updated: Mar 14
How is the F sound made?
The F sound is made by lightly touching the top teeth against the bottom lip and breathing air out. The vocal cords are not vibrated when the F sound is made.
The V sound is very similar. In fact, it has the same placement as the F sound. The only difference is that the vocal cords are vibrated / the voice is turned on. Try placing your hand on your throat as you say the F and V sounds. You should be able to feel some vibration when you say the V sound but no vibration when you say the F sound.
When do children typically master the F sound and the V sound?
Children typically master the F sound between the ages of 2 and 3, and the V sound when they are about 4 years old. For a quick reference guide to typical speech sound development, download our "Speech Sound Norms" chart.
How do you teach a child the F and V sounds?
Let's start with the F sound. The first thing I do when teaching the F sound is take out my bunny puppet or bunny picture and a mirror. I introduce F as the bunny sound. It is the bunny sound because you touch your bottom lip with your top teeth, just like bunny. This particular bunny has two large front teeth!
After I model how to make the bunny sound by showing my top teeth, biting my bottom lip and blowing air out), I ask the child to look in the mirror and try to make the bunny sound too.
When teaching the V sound, I replace my bunny with toy cars or a car picture because the V sound is the Engine Revving sound ( V v v v v). As aforementioned, the V sound is almost the same as the F sound except for the vibration of the vocal cords. I model how to make the V sound, encourage the child to look in the mirror, turn on their voice and copy me. It often helps if you ask the child to feel your throat and let you know if your voice is turned on or off. Then they can do them same on their own throat to learn the difference.
I would advise teaching the F sound before the V sound if your child has difficulty with both. It is also important to teach the F and V sounds in isolation (on their own) before practising at syllable level, word level and sentence level. For more information on the process of traditional articulation/ speech sound therapy, visit our post on the topic.
When your child can say the F and V sounds on their own and at syllable level, it's time to practice at word level. Once they are quite consistent at word level you can move on to phrase level and then sentence level.
Articulation Arcade helps children to learn to say sounds correctly in words, phrases and sentences. It combines practice with fun, engaging games. Try the lite version of the app for free.
This blog post is intended as a guide to help you to teach your child how to say the F sound and the V sound. However, if you find that your child has difficulty copying you and if you also have others concerns about their speech, it is always best to contact a speech and language therapist/speech language pathologist for additional guidance.