How To Say D & Cues

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How To Say D

Below is a brief explanation on what all the articulators (tongue, lips, teeth, jaw, breath, voice) must do to say /d/ correctly.

Lips: Lips are slightly open and in a slight smile.

Tongue: The tip of the tongue is pressed against the alveolar ridge (the "bumpy part" on the roof of the mouth behind the teeth). Say /d/ and feel where the tongue is located.

Teeth: Teeth have a VERY slight gap. Make sure the bottom teeth are behind the top teeth.

Jaw: The jaw must be up, centered, and stable. Some children move their jaw down or to one side and this can cause errors.

Breath: /D/ is a stop or plosive sound which means the breath bursts out of the mouth upon sound production.

Voice: /D/ is a voiced sound so the voice box is turned on. To know if your voice box is on, say /d/ while touching your throat. If you feel a "buzz," you are doing it right.

Please say D in front of a mirror a few times and look/feel what all your muscles are doing. Once you have a good handle on how to say D, you can teach your child!

Quick Printing


How to use this section:

I will introduce all cues that I find helpful. Please read and become familiar with each one. You will not use all of them. Instead, when you are ready to start practicing, you will try a few and figure out which ones are most helpful for your child. Most likely, you will use a combination of a few. Please refer back to this section as needed!

Speech therapists use a variety of cues during therapy including tactile (touch), verbal (words), and visual (visual models/mirrors) to elicit a correct sound production. Below are the most useful cues for D.


  1. Open your mouth wide to show how the tongue touches the roof of the mouth behind the teeth. Have your child imitate
  2. Point up to encourage your child to lift their tongue up
  3. Bite teeth to encourage child to close teeth or put tongue behind teeth 


  1. Say "tongue up"
  2. Say “tongue behind teeth"
  3. Say "close teeth"
  4. Say "tongue back"
  5. Say “tongue forward”
  6. Say "voice on"

*The verbal cues that you use will depend on your child's errors. Just use the ones that make sense!


  1. Push up gently on your child's jaw while holding the top of their head stable to encourage the jaw to lift up and close. 
  2. Tell your child to touch teeth with an index finger to make sure that he/she can't feel their tongue (prevent frontal lisp).

Printable Sheet

What's Next

Now that your know how to say D and what cues are helpful, head over to Teach D to start teaching and practicing!

› How To Say D


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