how to pronounce x sound

This pronunciation lesson is designed for 3-6-year-old children to help them pronounce the letter ‘x’ using its phonic sound.

Learning phonic sounds is important for children as this helps them read faster and more fluently. This is the first step in learning spelling and vocabulary.

In our previous video lesson, we learned about phonics, the importance of learning phonics, and the phonic sound of the letter ‘w’. This video lesson is on the 24th in a row of learning the sound of letters. 

Why is Phonics Essential for Children to Learn?

A systematic approach to teaching phonics helps children learn how to pronounce new words and combine them with familiar words. It begins and builds upon it as the child grows. The next step in teaching phonetics is adding more complex vowel combinations. In structured phonics classes, children learn the sounds of words and develop reading and writing fluency. We have discussed this in the article “Is phonics the best way to learn a language”.

Reading and writing are closely related skills, and mastering both helps children become strong literates. Phonics helps bridge the gaps in reading and writing, as it builds general thinking skills. It also improves students’ reading comprehension. This means you can recognize familiar words and pronounce new words with less effort. The benefits of phonics education are many and well worth the investment. 

Why is it Important to Learn the Phonic Sound of x?

In American English, there are words that start with the letter x. Though the letter X exists, it is pronounced with the help of sounds of other letters. Generally, the sound of the letter ‘x’ is introduced with different combinations and pronunciations.

  • X has various sounds and is pronounced differently as per the letter that follows X like in an exam or extra.
  • X is typically pronounced as /ks/, which is a combination of /k/ and /s/. 
  • Letter X also has unique sounds with its counterparts /qu/, /y/ and /z/

How to Pronounce the Letter x Sound? 

Since letter X does not have any sound of its own, it is pronounced with sound created by a combination of different letters. Let us learn different sounds produced by x.

  • The most common pronunciation for the letter x is /ks/. If the x is at the end of the word, pronounce it as /ks/ such as fax, tax, etc.
  • It also produces /ks/ sound, when x comes after a stressed vowel, as in extra, taxi, etc. 
  • When letter x comes before, a stressed vowel is pronounced as a voiced /gz/. For example, exactly, exemplar, example, etc.
  • There are few least common words starting with the letter x, such as xenophobe and xylophone. In these words, the pronunciation of the letter x is /z/.
  • The sound of x is produced as /g/ followed by /z/ in words like luxurious, luxury, etc.
  • The sound of letter x produces /k/ sound followed by /sh/ in words such as complexion, etc, .
  • The sound of x is produced as /e/ followed by /ks/ such as x-ray, x-mas tree, etc.

Please note that some foreign languages ​​of English pronounce the letter x differently. For example, the French loanword faux is pronounced with a silent x. 

How to Introduce the Pronunciation of the ‘x’ to the Child?

  1. Invite the child to the table and tell them, today we are going to learn the sound of the letter ‘x’ produces.
  2. Show the child what the letter ‘x’ looks like and the sound of the letter ‘x’.
  3. Say it several times by producing the /gz/, /ks/ sounds.
  4. Ask the child to repeat the sound after you.
  5. Tell the child since the letter doesn’t have its own sound, there are no objects that have this sound.
  6. Ask the child to pronounce the letter ‘x’ after you.

List of Activities to Introduce the Sound of x to Children 

  1. X-ray Fish Craft – This X-ray Fish Craft is a fun activity that helps students master this tricky letter. You can use your own creativity in the design and materials used to create the x-ray fish, but for this example, we can use black paper and a white pencil to create the “x-ray” effect. While doing it, let the children pronounce the sound correctly for x.
  2. Fun Letter Collage Activity – Give your preschooler a collage idea sheet with pictures of objects that start with “x”. Ask the child to tear a collage paper and paste it in the image and let their creativity shine! When everyone is ready, you can decorate the walls with your ‘X’ letter collage. 
  3. Xylophone – The Xylophone can also be placed on a music stand. Allow the child to play and sound the letter correctly while playing.

This video allows the child to explore the short consonant sound of the English letter ‘X’. However, there are no words that start with the sound of the letter ‘X’ but a few words end with this sound. For example, books and foxes. The sounds are repeated for each word so that the child can hear and pronounce the letter accurately.

Related Pronunciation Videos:

  1. Pronunciation of the letter ‘j’
  2. Pronunciation of the letter ‘o’
  3. Pronunciation of the letter ‘s’
  4. Pronunciation of the letter ‘y’

For more pronunciation and English language resources, click here

Video created by: Strykun Olena


  • alphabet letters
  • english language
  • phonic sound
  • primary level
  • pronunciation