How to improve articulation skills in children



This post is written in response to a question that was posted on my FB page:

The question is in reference to the following sounds: ch, sh, j…..and the fact that a mom’s nine-year old child moves her jaw to the side and produces these sounds (ch, sh, & j) out of her right cheek rather than her palate.

My initial thoughts are that she needs some help with the actual oral placement of the target sounds.  She is not correctly positioning her jaw in order to accurately produce all three sounds.  First I want to give you some information regarding the CH sound and the SH sound…..when a child is having difficulty with the CH sound…usually I will see difficulty with the SH sound as well…..WHY….because the CH sound is made up of the T sound and the SH sound (pretty cool…..if you want specific information on how to help you help your little one with both the CH sound and the SH sound….you will find that under my articulation page indicated above)……

….however today’s post is to help the mom help her little one with regard to jaw placement for the target sounds……the strategies under the articulation page will be helpful too for the mom that posted on my FB page….anyway back to the CH sound and the SH sound.  Since CH is made up of T and SH…..I like to target accurate production of SH….because once I get that…..then I can add a T before the SH sound….and shape both sounds into the CH sound.

So for the SH use the following strategy to help with SH….have your little one make the long E sound as in BEE……her tongue will be in almost the exact same position that it needs to be for SH……next (after making the E sound)…have her make a kiss with her lips….and then ask her to blow the air out… should hear the SH sound….I think I am actually going to post the SH strategy right now….as I give more information than just described:


When teaching the SH sound….first I practice the non-speech movement…this means no sound…just oral motor movements….of smile to a kiss (a pucker).  My goal is for the little one to understand the position of her lips when in a smile and then the position of her lips when in a kiss.  This is going to help prep for the next strategy.

Now practice the speech sound: Long E….when you make this sound the sides of the back of the tongue are closed against the upper molars, the middle to front portion of the tongue is raised high, nearly touching the palate and alveolar ridge (bump behind your teeth), while the tip of the tongue touches lightly behind the lower front teeth.  Basically….your tongue is in almost the same position it needs to be in for the SH sound… let’s shape the Long E sound…into the SH sound……

I ask the little one to make the Long E sound and then make a kiss (she should understand this because you were practicing the non-speech oral motor movements above)….as she is moving to a pucker….ask her to blow……these cues work really well…and will give the little one a clear understanding of where their tongue needs to go.  As she is blowing while in the pucker position…with her tongue raised high…you should hear the SH sound.


One last tip:    

This visual really works to help elicit the SH sound….very often young children have heard and seen their parents use this cue to keep their little one quiet!


Please click on this link for some great SH worksheets:sh_binder

And thank you to the speech and language pathologists at:   PLEASE visit their website for amazing materials, resources and links.


How to help with jaw placement: 

Now when working on the SH sound….hold your child’s jaw midline….so that she does not move to the side and blow the air out of her cheek.

Once she has the SH sound….start working on CH…..I have those strategies under the articulation page above.  I can post them on FB in a little bit as well…..

My next post will be in reference to the J sound and how to help with production…specific to the question posted on my FB…remember you can also post questions at

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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