Teaching SH in Isolation & Syllables

In this lesson, you will be learning how to teach your child ‘SH’ in isolation and in syllables.

As you can see by the attached image, this chart puts ‘SH’ at about age 7 for most children.  In other words, by age seven, 90% of children can produce the ‘SH’ sound correctly in speech.

However, I believe in working with children as soon as possible so they don’t develop bad speech habits.

Most of the time, when a child mispronounces ‘SH’, he is substituting ‘S’ instead.  He may say ‘seep’ instead of ‘sheep’, or ‘disses’ instead of ‘dishes’.

You’ll need to teach him to put his tongue farther back for the ‘SH’ sound.  Start by asking him to imitate you asking someone to be quiet by putting your finger up to your lips and saying, “Shhhhhh!’   If he can do it, you congratulate him and say that he just made a great ‘SH’ sound.   That will make it easy to then have him practice that sound in syllables and words.

If he can’t do it, then you need to get specific about how to produce it.  You can start with the ‘S’ sound.  Have him make the ‘S’ sound, then tell him to slide his tongue backwards just a little bit.  The tongue will be just a bit more relaxed for ‘SH’ then ‘S’.

 If you have a mouth hand puppet like ‘Mr. Mouth’ (my name for it), you can use it to help show the correct tongue placement.   Or you could use a tongue depressor or lollipop to touch the correct area.

Another fun way to teach them is to show them what happens when you start by smiling, making an ‘S’ sound, and then pucker your lips.  It should automatically turn into more of an ‘SH’ sound.  All that’s needed to perfect the ‘SH’ is to move the tongue backwards just a little bit and loosen it up

When your child can produce ‘SH’ in isolation with 80% accuracy, you can start on syllables, like ‘Shah, Shay, Shee, Shye, Sho, and Shoo.’  

For instance, you can start with ‘Shah’. It might help to use a mirror in front of both of you, or to at least give your child a hand mirror to look at.

Make sure your child puts his tongue in the right place to make a good ‘SH’ to start the syllable.  Try to make it fun and reward your child for any effort to produce the sound correctly.   Practice this at least 3 times.

Then you can move on to the next syllable, ‘Shee’, and do the same thing.  You may find that some syllables will be easier for your child to produce, and that’s OK.  You can come back to the harder ones later.  Move on to as many syllables as you can, trying to get as many correct productions as possible.

When your child can produce ‘SH’ syllables correctly 80% of the time, you can move on to Initial ‘SH’ in words.

From there, continue to work your way through all the ‘SH’ levels, as outlined in the How to Teach Your Child Speech course. 

You’ve got this!