Friday, January 9, 2015

Teaching the “sh” Sound

This is an excerpt from Super Star Speech: Expanded Edition. Super Star Speech includes practice materials, picture cards, and games to teach almost every speech sound. More practice materials are available at

teaching sh


SH is produced with the tongue tip raised and placed just behind the gum ridge. The tongue position is slightly behind the tongue position for S. The tongue sides contact the upper side teeth so that the airflow is directed over the tongue tip. Lips are slightly rounded.


1. Demonstrate tongue placement and lip rounding, using a mirror.

2. Develop SH from S. Have the child hold an S sound while slowly sliding his tongue back until SH is produced. A drill of TH-SSS-SHH may be helpful. Use the analogy of a turtle sliding his head back into his shell.

3. If the SH is too “hard,” sounding like a CH, instruct the child to say it slowly and softly. Have him draw out the sound for several seconds, perhaps blowing on his hand or a feather.

4. If air is leaking around the sides of the tongue, producing a distorted or lisping SH, have the child practice widening and narrowing his tongue, using a mirror. The tongue should be widened in the production of SH. Touch the sides of his tongue and instruct him to press the tongue sides against the back teeth. It may be helpful to lower the tongue tip with a popsicle stick to allow airflow over the top of the tongue rather than around the sides of the tongue.


This activity will help your child contrast the /sh/ sound with /s/ and /ch/.

Say each word pair as quickly as you can:

Sea --- she

Sell --- shell

Sort ---short

Sin --- shin

Sue --- shoe

Sip --- ship

Ship – chip

Chin –shin

Cheat – sheet

Shoe – chew

Share – chair

Sheep – cheap

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