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How to teach your child the S sound - speech therapy

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

How is the S sound made?

The S sound is made by placing the tongue tip just behind the front teeth. It needs to be close to the roof of the mouth without touching it. The teeth should be together and the lips should be slightly parted with the corners up, like a smile.

When do children typically master the S sound?

Children typically master the S sound when they are 4 years old. For a quick reference guide to typical speech sound development, download our "Speech Sound Norms" chart for free.

How do you teach a child the S sound?

Please note that this blog post gives you some advice so that you can help your child to say the S sound. However, if you do have concerns about your child's speech, it is always best to contact a speech and language therapist/speech language pathologist for more guidance.

The first thing I do when teaching the S sound is prompt the child to put their teeth together and blow. This helps them to get their tongue into the correct position. Using a mirror together can be very helpful. I usually refer to the S sound as the snake sound and I make a long hissing S sound.

Some children will learn to copy the sound quickly while others will require much more time and practice. If your child learns to say the S sound on its own, the next step is to practice at syllable level. Some children need more practice blending sounds together at syllable level (S + a vowel) while others will be able to move on to words more quickly (S + vowel + consonant e.g. "sun").

Once they are quite consistent at word level you can move on to phrase level and then sentence level. For more information on the process of traditional articulation/ speech sound therapy, visit our post on the topic.

Articulation Arcade helps children to learn to produce their sounds correctly in words, phrases and sentences by combining practice with fun and engaging games. Try the lite version of the app for free.


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