The following is a guide as to when it may be good to work on different speech sounds.  Remember that all children develop differently.  There are no hard and fast “rules” for when specific sounds should be worked on.  The biggest thing to watch with young children is how well they are understood by strangers.  For older children sounds that are starting to affect early reading/spelling and especially if sounds are causing a child to be self conscious of their speech make it much more important to provide support.

If your child has trouble with the following at:

Age/GradeSounds – Those in the age range plus the ones above.What to watch for:
2 yearsM, W, Vowel Sounds (A,I,E,O,U)Should be understood by strangers 50% of time and by parents 75% of time.
3 yearsN, P, B, T, D, H

– Saying the beginnings and ends of words.

– Saying all the parts of most longer words.

– Doesn’t change Noisy Sounds (S,Z,F,V,Sh,Ch) into Stops (T,D,P,B).

Should be understood by strangers 75% of time and by parents almost 100% of time.  It is normal for children to be harder to understand if they are speaking very quickly or if they are excited.
4 yearsK, G, F, Y

Saying both parts of S clusters such as “snake”.

Should be understood by everyone almost all the time.
ECSL (end of ECS or early grade 1)


Children should not be embarrassed or frustrated by their speech.
Grade 1R, S, Z, V, Ng, as in “ring”.

Saying both parts of R and L blends such as “clown” and “frog”.


Sound errors should not be having much impact on early reading or spelling.
Grade 2Sh, Ch, J, Zh as in “measure”.
Grade 3ThChildren should be using all of the sounds accurately in conversation.


I hope this helps.  Let me know if you have any questions. You can reach through my Contact Page or email me at SLP@Speech-Therapyathome.com.