Sh Articulation Homework

There was a moment Monday, before I started my first day of my full-time school internship, where I panicked. Heart fluttering, mind-numbing, terrifying panic. I couldn’t verbalize how to teach the “SH” sound. I couldn’t think of its place or manner of articulation. It was like the knowledge was lost in an ambiguous depth of space and time. *POOF* 4 years of undergrad and a 1.5 years of a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology, gone. Just. Like. That.

Now that my melodrama is over, it was truly only a momentary freak-out. Followed by a frenzy of technology, clicking, typing, and a slight hand-cramp from the manic episode. It happens to the best of us (that’s what I’m telling myself). So, what did I find you might ask? Allow me to share:

According to Secord in Eliciting Sounds: Techniques and Strategies for Clinicians (2010), the SH sound is a palato-alveolar, voiceless fricative. One must raise the tongue to touch the sides of the upper back teeth while the blade of the tongue is retracted. The creation of a shallow groove at the midline helps create the sound. The most common phonetic features are

  • Blade of the tongue nearly touches the front of the palate and back of the alveolar ridge
  • The lips are protruded, but not puckered
  • Air comes out like a bat out of hell, not really, but it comes out of the groove created by tongue placement
  • Close the velum
  • No voice…turn your ‘voice box’ off and throw away the key

My next stopping points were SLP blogs which I religiously follow (some might say ‘stalk’). There is a gold mine of information; the nuggets of knowledge remind me to be professionally thankful for the internet. Shall we…

  • 2 Gals Talk …about speech therapy Eliciting SH and CH :
  • Erik X. Raj (the X is for eXcellent, btw) – The Best Strategies for Articulation Speech Therapy:
    • His post includes 7 videos on the nitty-gritty of speech therapy for the following sounds: S, Z, R, L, SH, CH, and TH.
    • NOTE: You must subscribe to his blog in order to view. Trust me, it is worth the follow.
  • The Speech Mama – How to teach the SH sound
    • She gets straight to the point on the how-to stuff. Plus, there is a link to SH worksheets.

There were other stops along the way back to my SH sanity, however these were the ones I have bookmarked for those kiddos who need my skills. Do you have any to share? I still don’t know every trick for every sound, nor will I until I have more experience. Until then, I have the #slpeeps, #SLPbloggers, and #slp2b who will continue to be around. Thanks ladies and gents.

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Speech Therapy Activities
for the SH Sound

These speech therapy activities for the SH sound are sure to sharpen your students "SHkills" ;)

Of course all of them can be adapted based on the level of the child.

If the child is working on medial or final words, use medial or final flashcards.

If they are at the word level or sentence level, you can adapt the activity for each individual child. Have fun with it and get  a lot of elicitations in the process! 

1. Shaving Cream!

There is no better way to elicit the /sh/ sound than letting a child play with shaving cream!

(You could even use whipping cream and call it shaving cream… smells AND tastes better!)

Use a cookie sheet and have the child listen to the sound as the shaving cream sprays out. Have them imitate the sound with each little squirt.

Then you can have the child make designs on the cookie sheet… simple things that start with /sh/ like “ship” or “shell.” 

Another way to elicit the /sh/ sound is by talking about how you have to be quiet with a baby. Kids love saying “shhhhh” as if to shush somebody.

Talk in whispers and practice saying “SHHHHH.” You could hide a baby doll somewhere in the room and have the child search the room while they say “SHHHH!"

Take the Confusion out of Teaching Multiple Meaning Words

SEE ALSO: 8 Activities for Using Multi-syllabic Words

2. Shopping List

Tell the child(ren) they are going to make a shopping list, and all the things they need start with /sh/.

You can purchase notepads of paper that say “shopping list” at the top at many different stores, or print this one from your computer.

See how many /sh/ words the child can add to their list. Then go through the flashcard set and have them add even more words.

Here are some words I thought of for my list:








(Eye) Shadow

Shaving Cream

Once their list is complete, have them use the carrier phrase “I have _____ on my shopping list” as they go through each of the items.

Send their shopping list home for homework and they can go through the list with their parents.

3. Rain Shower

Print a picture of an umbrella like the one on this page.

Cut out raindrops or just draw them on the paper and write /sh/ on the umbrella. Have the child(ren) flip over flashcards and say each word ten times.

Then they can write the word on a raindrop (and glue it on if you are using blue construction paper for raindrops).

This is a great activity to send home for homework.

Once all the raindrops are filled up with /sh/ words, ask the child to say each word using the carrier phrase “My rain shower has a ____.” 

4.  Sea Shell Game

Purchase a pack of seashells at a local craft store (sometimes they even sell shells at the dollar store.)

Using a permanent marker, write a number between 8-12 under each shell.

Lay the shells out all over the table and give the child a stack of flashcards.

First the child will choose a flashcard, and then they will flip over the shell. The number on the shell is how many times they will say the word on the flashcard.

If you want to be really clever, have the number on the shells cumulate to 100 so you have REALLY easy data numbers. (You're welcome.)

Kids love nothing more than inanimate objects from the earth.

So, if you want to make their day, send them away with a shell of their own to keep.

But tell them they have to tell ALL their friends about the shell using their great /sh/ sounds! 

Articulation Therapy + Pirate Adventures = Awesomeness!

5. A Delicious Shake!

Bring a blender from home. (You don’t even need the base/motor, just the jar with the lid.)

Tell the kids they are going to make an /sh/ shake!

Using the flashcards in the positions they are working on, have them put “ingredients” (aka flashcards) into the blender.

Say the words many times each or use a carrier phrase such as “I am adding _____ to my delicious shake.”

When all the flashcards are in the blender, put on the lid and let a child shake it as hard and long as they want. (Kids love this part!)

When they are finished, you can even have them “pour” the flashcards into large solo cups and you can see who got which cards.

6.  Go Fish

This is a simple adaptation of the age-old game Go Fish.

Print 2 sets of ten flash cards (so you have 20 total). This is a huge benefit to purchasing downloadable flashcards!

You and the child each take four cards and put the rest in the pile.

Then play “Go Fish!”

This is especially helpful if the child is working on /sh/ in the final position. 

NEW! The Last Set of Flashcards You'll Ever Need!

7. Shiny Shoes

Okay so this activity is silly, but it will be well received.

Bring a pair of large shiny shoes to the therapy session.

I am picturing a pair of mens “church shoes” or even women’s high heels.

If you don’t have access to any shiny shoes, you could even purchase some for cheap at a thrift store. Have the child step into the shoes at one end of the room.

Then, moving down the /sh/ word list, tell the child they can take a step in the shoes after every ten accurate productions.

When they finally reach the other end of the room (or hallway etc.) they can receive a reward (sticker, treat, whatever you use a motivator.)

The kids LOVE wearing the large shoes and it will motivate them to work hard so they can take big steps in them. 

I hope these speech therapy activities for the SH sound help sharpen your child's "SHkills". Have a great day!

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About the Author

Lindsey is an M.S. CCC-SLP from Salt Lake City, UT. She received both her B.S. and M.S. from Utah State University. When she's not chasing her 4 crazy kids (soon to be 5) around, she enjoys creating therapy ideas and materials. Read More

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