Earlier this month, I published a new product in my TpT store, Articulation Stories for Initial /sh/. It joins a complete series targeting the /r/ phoneme, allowing initial /sh/ to be practiced in academic (language) tasks, while also accommodating mixed groups of articulation and language students. In any of these units, the target sound (in this case, initial /sh/) will be targeted in:
– Generating definitions of words
– Summarizing a story
– Comparing and contrasting
– Cause and effect
– Story elements
– Synonyms and antonyms
– Homonyms and multiple meaning words
– Context clues
– Phonological awareness
– Predictions and inferences
– Social skills
However, this unit is most appropriate for students who have already learned and mastered placement in isolation and word levels and are now ready to contextualize production. What about your students still working on nailing down the sound itself? Here are a few tips for teaching your students placement!
1 | Shape the /e/ phoneme into the /sh/ phoneme.
Have your student prolong the /e/ phoneme in a whisper, then slowly draw the lips into a “pucker” or “kiss” shape without stopping the sound. The whispered /e/ is important here, as /sh/ is an unvoiced phoneme.
2 | Shape the /s/ phoneme into the /sh/ phoneme.
Have your student prolong the /s/ phoneme, then slowly draw the lips into a “pucker” or “kiss” shape while drawing the tongue back into the mouth.
3 | Talk about /sh/ being the “shhh” sound or the quiet sound.
Children are pretty universally familiar with “shhh” as a term for directing others to be quiet, accompanied by a finger to the lips. Because /sh/ is made with lips puckered, having the student hold his finger to his lips can help with lip placement. I sometimes ask the student to hold his finger just in front of unpuckered lips and hold it there while he puckers. Feeling his lips touch his fingers can give tactile representation of lip movement.
4 | Look in a mirror for lip placement.
Like the previous tip, looking in a mirror to see the lips puckered can help students better understand where their lips are. Practice alternating between an /s/ sound and an /sh/ sound or an /e/ sound and an /sh/ sound, watching the lips move. You can also practice pairs of words chosen to illustrate lip placement.
5 | Feel the air flow.
With lips puckered and tongue in place, a slight stream of air should be noticeable in the open, circular area of the lips. Have students hold their palm in front of their lips while making the /sh/ sound. Being able to feel air hit their palm indicates proper placement of articulators.
Looking for more resources for the /sh/ sound? I’ve enjoyed using I Can Say the SH Sound Speech Therapy Articulation Workbook by Peachie Speechie and No Prep Articulation Printables Using Functional, High Frequency Words for SH by Speechy Musings.
I also enjoy the videos How to say the SH sound by Peachie Speechie and HOW TO SAY “SH” & “CH” SPEECH SOUNDS: At Home Speech Therapy Exercises & Speedy Speech Hand Cues! by Speedy Speech.
What are your favorite tips for the /sh/ sound? Share below!