Gliding and Speech Therapy

The phonological process of gliding is quite common in speech therapy! I am here to review what gliding is and then give my best tips and materials to treat it!

Keep reading to learn more. 

What is gliding?

To answer this question simply, gliding is when a liquid (/l/ and /r/) is replaced with a glide (/w/ and "y").  

However, to really learn how to treat this process, I want to dive a little deeper into the phonetics of liquids and glides. How can we treat a process if we don't understand the science behind it?!

Liquids (/r/ and /l/):

  • Sonorant sound: sound is not stopped or partially stopped
  • Tongue position: is necessary for sound production,
  • /r/ Front Airflow: air escapes over front of tongue
  • /l/ later airflow: air escapes over sides of tongue

Glides (/w/ and "y"): 

  • Sonorant soundsound is not stopped or partially stopped
  • Semivowel: almost a vowel but starts a syllable instead of being in the middle of it

Is gliding normal?

Gliding is a normal part of development! Many children will demonstrate gliding as speech develops. 

However, by the age of 5 years, the process should disappear. If a child is still gliding past the 5, an evaluation and/or treatment is recommended. 

How do I treat gliding?

There are many evidence-based treatment approaches to treat a phonological disorder. 

Please refer to my Phonological Disorder Overview page to review treatment options and grab a free handout!

However, on this page, I am going to review the materials I have created, and how I use them to systematically treat gliding!

Gliding & Speech Therapy Materials

Minimal Pairs

No matter which approach I use, I almost always use minimal pairs during treatment. 

Minimal pairs are two words that differ by one one phoneme. I use minimal pairs to target sound perception (can they hear the difference?) and production/awareness (say the correct sound and error sound together to hear and feel the difference).

So, for gliding, I use minimal pairs (/r/ vs /w/, /l/ vs /w/, /l/ vs /y/) to teach the difference between the correct sound and error sound.

For my membership site, I have print and no-print materials that target minimal pairs in a variety of ways! Some include fun games and some are simple flashcards. 

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness plays a key role is articulation and phonology treatment! We know this!

For my membership site, I have printable (worksheets) and no-print (Google presentations) that work on gliding while:

  • filling in missing sounds for both liquids and glides!
  • matching phonemes to pictures for both liquids and glides!
  • identifying initial/final phonemes for both liquids and glides!

I find working on phonological awareness for both the error sounds (/w/ and "y") and the target sounds (/r/ and /l/) can make all the difference.

In order to be able to say a sound correctly, the child needs to be able to identify which sound is which. 

Sentence Level Practice

Creating sentences with the error sound and target sound in ONE sentence is challenging but necessary.

I created a worksheet and no-print Google presentation to target just this.


I have added 18 more materials to the phonological process page. These materials target gliding. 

Currently, I have:

Gliding: /r/

  • R/W sound-picture match
  • R/W minimal pairs hidden picture game
  • R/W fill in the missing sound
  • R/W name initial/final phoneme
  • R/W create a sentence using both targets

Gliding /l/

  • L/W sound-picture match
  • L/W minimal pairs hidden picture game
  • L/W create a sentence using both targets
  • L/W fill in the missing sound
  • L/W name initial/final phoneme
  • L/Y sound-picture match
  • L/Y minimal pairs hidden picture game
  • L/Y create a sentence using both targets
  • L/Y fill in the missing sound
  • L/Y name initial/final phoneme


If you are not a member, don't worry! You can join today! For a small monthly free, 3,000+ materials are yours instantly.

FREE Phonological Processes Chart By Age

If you would like a FREE phonological processes chart organized by age, just fill out the form below.

I love it! It organizes phonological processes by the age they should disappear. It is one page and color coded for easy reference.

Free Phonological Processes Chart

Sign up below to grab a free copy!

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