l and r minimal pairs

48 Free L and R minimal pairs cards and word list

L and R minimal pairs

Here are some free resources for teaching R and L minimal pairs. There are picture and word cards, word lists, and some fun practice sentences.

These printables and lists are just what you need to help both young learners and ESL students who are having difficulty pronouncing the L and R sounds.

First of all, we have flashcards that have these minimal pairs in the initial, medial, and final positions along with some consonant blends. They are great because they have interesting pictures that help keep learners engaged and can be used to play fun learning games.


The printable pages above and below have minimal pairs in the initial position (at the start of the words). They include the pairs of –

Lake – Rake

Lamb – Ram

Lamp – Ramp

Lane – Rain

Lap – Wrap

Lip – Rip

Lock – Rock

Lute – Root

The next set of cards has minimal pairs in the medial position. This just means that the focus sounds are in the middle of the word.

The cards have these words – 

Called – Chord

Collect – Correct

Pallet – Parrot

Pilot – Pirate

Below we have L and R minimal pairs in the final position (At the end of the words).

The words on these picture cards are – 

Ball – Boar

Eel – Ear

Fall – Four

Stall – Store

The last 2 pages feature minimal pairs with consonant blends. In this case, the target sounds are joined with another consonant.

Learners with issues pronouncing the L and R sounds should move on to these once they have mastered the words in the initial position.

The L and R blend words on these PDF pages are – 

Bloom – Broom

Cloud – Crowd

Clown – Crown

Flame – Frame

Flute – Fruit

Glass – Grass

Glow – Grow

Splint – Sprint

L and R minimal pairs word lists

Next, we have some word lists for the R and L minimal pairs. These can be useful if you want to make your own activities, exercises, and games.

The word lists are in alphabetical order and have been broken up into sections with minimal pairs in the initial, medial, and final positions along with some consonant blends.

Initial Position

lace race

lack rack

lag rag

lagging ragging

laid raid

lair rare

lake rake

lamb ram

lamp ramp

lane rain

lank rank

lap wrap

lash rash

late rate

lather rather

law raw

lay ray

laze raise

laze raze

lead read

lead red

lead reed

leader reader

leap reap

led red

leech reach

leek reek

leer rear

lentil rental

lib rib

lice rice

lick rick

lid rid

lied ride

lies rise

light right

light rite

lighter writer

limb rim

lime rhyme

link rink

lip rip

list wrist

lit writ

load road

loam roam

loaves roves

lob rob

lobe robe

lock rock

locket rocket

look rook

loom room

loot root

lope rope

lot rot

lout rout

lows rose

loyal royal

lubber rubber

luck ruck

lug rug

lump rump

lung rung

lush rush

lust rust

lute route

Medial Position

alive arrive

aloe arrow

bald board

belate berate

belly berry

called chord

collect correct

elect erect

files fires

hallow harrow

healing hearing

jelly jerry

mallow marrow

mandolin mandarin

mislead misread

pallet parrot

pealing peering

pilot pirate

stalling storing

teller terror

walled ward

Final position

ball boar

call core

eel ear

fall four

owl our

scowl scour

shell share

stall store

tell tear

well wear

Consonant Blends

blacken bracken

blew brew

blight bright

blue brew

blues bruise

blush brush

clash crash

climb crime

cloak croak

clown crown

clue crew

flee free

flees freeze

flock frock

fly fry

glamour grammar

gland grand

glass grass

glow grow

glue grew

plank prank

play pray

plop prop

ply pry

splat sprat

splint sprint

Practice sentences with R and L minimal pairs

Here are some fun practice sentences that can be used to help learners enunciate the R and L sounds correctly.

There is rain in the lane.

A pirate with a parrot and a pilot with a pallet.

She played a prank as he prayed on a plank.

A boar with a ball.

Peeling a mandarin while peering at a mandolin.

Our owl has a berry in its belly.

A clown with a crown holding a lamp on a ramp.

Now see if you or your students can come up with some more silly sentences using the word lists. Aside from pronunciation practice, this can be an enjoyable way for learners to create sentences.

For more ideas like this and practice with these sounds, have a look at the L tongue twisters, and the tongue twisters with R.

Related activity

For some extra resources to help practice the L sound, have a look at the L and W minimal pairs page. Here you will find more free picture cards, a word list, and sentences.

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