Articulation Therapy: The “SH” Sound
Speech 4 min read

Articulation Therapy: The “SH” Sound

Teaching the /sh/ sound can be a little frightening at first. Typically, children who have difficulty producing the /sh/ sound in words, usually don’t have any issues with it being said in isolation.

The easiest way to test if your child can produce /sh/ is by asking them to hold their finger to their mouth and say “SHHHHHHH,” as if they are trying to keep a secret. 

If your child can say the SH sound then you’re ready to practice the SH sound in syllables. If your child struggles with producing the SH sound clearly don’t worry, we can teach them.

Sound Elicitation

There are a few different ways of teaching the SH sound. You may want to begin with phonetic placement, which is when you teach the child how to position his/her tongue, jaw, lips and teeth for a good production of the target sound. “Or, you may try shaping the sound from another sound. Shaping is when you use a sound the child can already say accurately to teach a sound they are not able to say” (mommy speech therapy).

Phonetic placement

A few simple steps to teach the child where to place his/her tongue, jaw, lips and teeth for a good SH sound include:

  1. Have your child part his/her lips slightly
  2. Then touch your child’s tongue with a tongue depressor or his/her toothbrush just behind the tip of the tongue. Have him/her place the part of the tongue just touched on the roof of the mouth just behind the “bumpy part.”
  3. Next, have the child lower his/her tongue just a little. You may need to use a tongue depressor or popsicle stick to help your child lower it slightly.
  4. Finally, have your child hold this position, pucker his lips and breathe out through his mouth.

Provided your child has the oral motor capabilities and cognitive ability to follow these instructions this should produce a nice SH sound. If not, we may need to use other strategies and techniques to get the SH sound created. 

Show Visual and Audio Cues with the Help of Speech Blubs 

Speech Blubs App has multiple activities that you can use to target specific speech sounds. The games are fun and highly engagable so your child won’t even realize that they are working on speech sounds!

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Parents work on speech skills with their children using the learning app

To practice making the SH consonant here is the list of sections and words in them that you can practice with your child:

  • Wild Animals & Petting ZOO: Fish.
  • When I grow up: Chef.
  • Ride your Wheels: Ship.

How To Play Articulation Bingo?

  1. Use the button below to download our Articulation Bingo Board
  2. Print out the board and give it to your child or cut out the pictures and put them into a bag
  3. Let your child pick a word from the board / bag 
  4. Find the word in Speech Blubs App and practice it, play with fun filters and watch educational videos
  5. Your child is a winner when he practices three pictures in a row (across, down, or horizontally) or the entire board

Moving the SH Sound into Words, Syllables, Sentences and Conversation

Now that your child can say the SH sound, follow the steps on our articulation process blog for moving that sound from isolation (saying the sound all by itself), to syllables, to words, to sentences and finally conversation.

You want to make sure you are working on the sound in the beginning, middle and final position of words. Just because they have mastered the sound in one position, doesn’t mean it will be accurate in every placement of words!

You can also work on a sound when it’s in a rotating sentence. A rotating sentence is when the sentence stays the same, except for one word that changes. For example, the sentence may be, “Shave the _______ with shears.” The idea is that you can rotate all the word cards you have been practicing at the word level through one sentence. It would look like this, “Shave the shower with shears.” Or, “Shave the sheep with shears.” In this example you can see that sometimes the sentence will make sense and sometimes it will not. 

Mom Daughter Talking

The important thing is that the child is able to memorize the sentence, which allows for independent production of the target sound at the sentence level regardless of the child’s age or reading ability. The other benefit to practicing the sound using a rotating sentence is that you can target language at the same time. The child may say, “You can’t shave a shower!” Or, “That’s silly.” At this point you may just agree or open it up for discussion. “Why can’t you shave a shower?”

Finally you may also download simple SH stories targeting the sound in all positions of words. Each story has pictures that allow children of all reading abilities to practice and retell the story independently. Older children also benefit from specifically targeting the SH sound while reading a book of their choice aloud. This gives the child lots of practice in a concentrated setting.

If your child has difficulties with other sounds, here are the articles that can help you with speech therapy and articulation activities ideas:

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