How to teach the S sound


Emerges between 3 and 3 1/2 years of age

Mastered between 7 and 9 years of age

Post written for AK and his mama TK


If your little one is capable of producing the T sound…I will use this sound to shape the S sound….try this simple strategy yourself…produce the T sound repeatedly and fast…like this: TTTTTTTTTTTT….you will notice that it will sound like the S sound.  This will help your little one with placement of the sound.  Both the T sound and the S sound are made in the same spot…the little bump behind your top front teeth..(called the alveolar ridge).


Often times just telling your little one that the S sound is the snake sound will help them to understand what sound they are making….they typically are aware that a snake makes a hissing sound…and this cue helps them in production of the S sound.


Remind your little one to keep her mouth closed…and her teeth together…to prevent her tongue from protruding….ask her to make the snake sound.  I will also use this visual cue to show her that the S sound is a sound that continues:

Take your pointer finger…place at your lips….as you are making the S sound move your finger straight out away from your body…showing her that the S sound continues.


You can help her with positioning and production by putting your index fingers at the corners of her mouth and gently pulling them back to a retracted position (like a smile)…as she attempts to make the S sound.

Remember to start off with syllables….then simple words..then phrases…then sentences…and finally in conversation.

Hope this was helpful! (this is a great website with lots of free articulation pages you can print to work on your child’s target sound)

****”The S sound is among the most frequently misarticulated consonants, produced variously toward the TH (you will hear a lisp)…or toward the SH sound.  It is degraded by abnormal dentition and often with dentures, and is one of the first sounds affected by hearing loss.  The S sound is one of the most frequently occurring consonants in American-English speech.”

Donald R. Calvert Ph.D. Descriptive Phonetics

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
This entry was posted in Articulation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.