how to pronounce y sound

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

Learning phonic sounds is important for children as this helps them to learn how to read. 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 x. This video lesson is the 25th in a row of learning the sound of letters. 

Why is it Important to Learn Letter Sounds Through Phonics?

Phonics teaches children how to decipher letters into their sounds. This is an essential skill to read unfamiliar words on their own. The goal of phonics education is to connect a child’s understanding of phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letter patterns). The children learn to recognize and use sounds to differentiate between words.

Even though young children know some words, most of them are unfamiliar to them. With the knowledge of letters and sounds, children can make connections between their knowledge of unknown printed words and spoken words. 

How to Pronounce the ‘y’ Sound?

Y is a consonant but sometimes sound as a vowel. Its phonetic sound is /yuh/.

To make this sound, the tongue extends forward and the body of the tongue is very close to the ridges and hard palate. The tongue is so high that the jaw remains relatively closed during the formation of this sound. The sides of the tongue touch the upper lateral teeth during tone. Lips are usually kept closed and not pinched or rounded. 

The sound of y is also similar to the sound of long e /i/ in both sound and formation. However, the tongue is held closer to the crest on the “y sound” /y/ than on the “long e” /i/.

What are the 3 Sounds of Y?

As mentioned above, y produces consonant and vowel sound 

There are three possible sounds for the letter “y”:

  1. y produces the /y/ sound as in yellow, yacht, Yale, etc.
  2. y produces the long ‘i’ sound as in bye, shy, etc.
  3. y produces the long e sound as in lazy, happy, ugly, etc.

Words that produce y sound

 The phoneme /yuh/ is usually written like a word with the letter “y” – yellow, yacht, Yo-Yo, yam, yarn, etc.

 Here are some words with a y sound in the end.

Army, bay, ugly, easy, lazy etc.

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

  1. Invite the child to the table and tell them, today we are going to learn the sound of the letter ‘y’ produces.
  2. Show the child what the letter ‘y’ looks like and the sound of the letter ‘y’.
  3. Say it several times by producing the /yuh/ sound as demonstrated in the video.
  4. Ask the child to repeat the sound after you.
  5. Show the child a picture or miniature of words starting with ‘y’ such as yard. 
  6. Repeat the sound of the letter y every time while showing the image of the yard. 
  7. Now show another picture and again produce the letter ‘y’ sound.
  8. Ask the child to pronounce the letter ‘y’ and practice it.

Fun Activities to Introduce Letter y Sound to Children

  1. Yellow Collage – Have the children bring yellow objects to glue to the class collage or individual collages. These can be scraps of fabric or paper, beads, buttons, ribbons, etc. all in yellow. Have them draw a yellow flower on a piece of paper. You can draw green stems or grass to complete the picture. As they continue to stick the objects and draw flowers, allow them to pronounce various words with y.
  2. Make a Yellow Book – Have each child fold a piece of yellow construction paper in half to make a book. Suggest that the children cut out pictures of yellow objects from magazines and glue them to the book. 
  3. Growing Yams Use her – marker to print a Y on a glass or clear plastic cup. Spin the yam and have the children examine it. Insert several toothpicks into the center of the yam. Balance the toothpick on the rim of the cup and fill the cup with water. Place the cup in a sunny location. Have the children examine the yam roots and leaves for signs of growth daily. Add water as needed. 
  4. Try a word sort and ask the child to place words under three categories → “y says yuh”, “y says i” and “y says e.”
  5. Have children pretend to be “Y Bandit” and find words in a text in the newspaper, or a old book, ask them to highlight/ steal the words that produce ‘y sound’ using a yellow marker.
  6. Y for yummy – Make your child’s favorite dish and once they start eating, encourage them to make the sound of y for yummy.

This video allows the child to explore the short consonant sound of the English letter ‘Y’ and learn words starting with it, such as yacht, yo-yo, and yam. 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 ‘z’

For more pronunciation and English language resources, click here

Video created by: Strykun Olena


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