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Teaching the N Nasal Sound

The letter N is a nasal consonant sound, along with M and NG. The major difference between nasal sounds and other sounds is that the air moves through the nose instead of the mouth. Try some of these sounds. Try saying /m/ or /n/, and you'll see that no air passes through the mouth, but air passes through the nose. Now try /a/ /b/ /c/ or any other sound, and you'll notice that air only passes through the mouth and not the nose.

This /n/ nasal sound is made by having the middle part of your tongue raising up to touch the roof of your mouth to make the /n/ sound. Trying saying /nnn/ a few times. The major difference between this /n/ sound and the /m/ sound is that to make the M sound, your lips press together gently, whereas for the N sound, your mouth is slightly open. If you tried to make the /n/ sound with your mouth closed, it'll end up sounding like /m/.

Because of the subtle differences between the M and N sounds, some younger children may get them mixed up.

We had noticed that with our 2nd child, he had some difficulties with the /m/ and /n/ nasal sounds, where he sometimes used the two sounds interchangeably. For example, he would pronounce "net" as "met" or vice versa. But after a few days of practice, he was able to work through the differences. Keep in mind though, he was just a bit over 2.5 years old when he learned to read.

Try these N sound words:

NOT - /n/ /o/ /t/

NEW - /n/ /ew/

NUTS - /n/ /u/ /t/ /s/

Learning Activity for /n/

  1. Show your child how to make the N consonant sound
  2. Let the child practice the /n/ sound several times
  3. Pinch your noses together and try to make the /n/ sound - what happens?
  4. Explain that the N is a nasal sound where it is made by air passing through the nose. So when you pinch your nose, you cannot make that sound.
  5. Practice the /nnn/ sound using the above listed letter N words. You can also add your own to that list.
  6. Work on the printable worksheets provided below, and also the rhyme.

Letter N Worksheets



Letter N Rhyme and Song

Jan says: "Can we go to the moon?"

Stan says: "Yes yes, we can go to the moon."

"But how do we get to the moon?" Asks Jan.

"Here, hop on to my spoon and we'll fly to the moon." Says Stan.


So Jan hops on to Stan's spoon, and says:

"Let's go to the moon on the spoon!"

Stan says:

"We have to be quick on the moon.

I have to go home soon!

Because mom says I have to be back by noon!"