Letter X Sound

Introduction

The letter /x/ is another sound near the end of the English alphabet and most phonics programs, as it does not appear as much in English words. This sound can be a bit harder for students, as it’s actually two sounds “k+s” combined for the /x/ sound. Be sure to practice the /x/ sound with your students! Get your teeth ready to make the letter x sound!

Phonics Pronunciation of the Letter X Sound

The letter /x/ sound is usually taught to students as pretending to shoot an x-ray gun, with the sound ks, ks, ks. As this sound is the combination of the two sounds, start off with the /k/ sound with the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth to make the sound. Then with the /s/ sound as with your mouth in a smile shape and saying the /s/ sound. The hardest part for most students in blending this /ks/ sound together, and the transition between the two sounds. If this happens, you should slow down the sounds independently and work on the base /k/ and adding the /s/ by blending these together. You can even blend the word k-i-ss with them, and saying it faster and faster for the /ks/ sound.

Once the students can blend and remember the /x/ sound well, you can move on with the vowel variations as in ax, ax, ax, ox,ox,ox and ix,ix,ix. The blending with /x/ will normally have /x/ and the ending sound, as there are not many word to easily blend with /x/ at the beginning. Make sure not to rush the /x/ sound, and only move on with the three letter CVC blending when they can pronounce it well.

Checkout this letter x sound video for more help!

Visual hints

As the /x/ sound can be harder for students to say and remember, use visual hints to help them say this sound. You can use your hands to make an /x/ shape with your students, while saying the x-x-x sound. This may help them start with the initial /k/ sound when your hands touch together, and also for them to remember the shape of the letter /x/.

Activity hints

While most students find the /x/ sound a bit harder, use more activities to reinforce their learning and understanding of this sound. You can have students play tic tac toe with Xs and Os, and have them say each letter when it’s their turn. Alternate letters so each can practice the /x/ sound. You can also pretend to shoot a gun with the /x/ sound. This can be fun and also students can practice saying the sound when playing!

ABC Sound Books

Here are some ABC books to help with learning the alphabet:

ABC (Letterland Picture Books) on Amazon

letter x sound, Letter X Sound

My First ABC on Amazon

letter x sound, Letter X Sound

A is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace-And-Flip) on Amazon

letter x sound, Letter X Sound

Letter /x/ Blending

The letter /x/ can be more difficult for students, especially for younger students, so take more time to practice saying and blending this letter. You can even go back an review how to say the letter /k/ and /s/, if students are struggling to remember or pronounce the sounds.

There are convenient guides for each letter on our website, so feel free to look at how to say these sounds. You can even use blending for the /k/ + /s/ sound to help them say this sound. Also be sure to checkout some good phonics books for proper revision of the sounds.

Once the students can pronounce this sound well, they can move on with the vowel variations as in ax,ax,ax, ox,ox,ox, and ix,ix,ix. As stated again, it’s better to blend the /x/ sound with it at the end of the word. After the students can blend these sounds well, you can introduce them the three letter CVC words as in b-o-x, f-o-x, s-i-x. As the letter /x/ is not as common as the other letters in English, it may be harder to find many words that have the letter /x/. Up until now, the students should be able to blend the three letter CVC words independently with little help.

Another way to help students with blending /x/ is to have them say the plural of words ending in /k/. This will have the same sound as the letter /x/, but be something they are familiar with with their blending. You can try with your students to blend with words such as d-u-ck-s, s-o-ck-s, b-oo-k-s. If they are able to say the plurals of these words, you can apply this to the /x/ sound and blending.

Everyday English

As /x/ is a less common letter for students, it may be harder to find many /x/ words for your students. Be sure to review how to say the /x/ sound before introducing these everyday words!

The most common /x/ words for students are fox, box and six. You can draw pictures a picture of six boxes and try to say these together.

Other objects have the letter /x/ in them, such as axe, wax and sax. You can pretend to be still as a wax figure.

Letter /x/ sentence reading

After learning how to say and blend words with the letter /x/, it’s good to introduce basic sentences to the children to read. These sentences are meant to be basic for students learning the alphabet letters and phonics as their second language.

Here are some short sentences you can read together with the students.

A fox.

Max the fox.

A fox on a box.

Rex has six boxes.

Rex has six socks.

It’s important your students practice reading short sentences, so they gain the confidence and can practice their blending skills. Therefore, encourage your students to read these sentences to improve their phonics and blending with the letter /x/ !

Letter X tongue twisters

The letter /x/ tongue twisters can be one of the most fun and difficult to say. Get your tongue ready for some fun /x/ sentences!

Extra, Extra, read all about the extremely fast oxen at the zoo.

The fox keeps six socks in his box.

The fox keeps six socks in his box.

The fox keeps six socks in his box.

Be sure to check out our Resources Page for more information on BabyKidsBooks!