sh words for kids

Sh Words For Kids: How to Teach Sounds to Your Child

Posted on
May 29, 2023
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The sh sound can be a trickier sound for children to make accurately. There are plenty of ways to support them with making sh words. Children tend to start making the sh sound between 3 years 6 months and 6 years 6 months old. Though there are always children who get the hang of sh words earlier or later than that. This blog will give you examples of sh words for kids to use and activities to support them in making the sh sound at home.

What are 10 words with sh sounds?

Children might be able to make the sh sound at one point of a word but then have more difficulty making it at another part of the word. A sound can be at the start, middle, or end of a word. It’s good to take note of which part of the word your child can make the sh sound at.

10 examples of words beginning with sh:

  • Shoe
  • Shiny
  • Shape
  • Shark
  • Shampoo
  • Shop
  • Shake
  • Shoulder
  • Shower
  • Sugar

10 examples of words with the sh sound in the middle:

  • Tissue
  • Cushion
  • Ocean
  • Fishing
  • Caution
  • Fish
  • Eruption
  • Cautious
  • Washing
  • Pushing

10 examples of words ending in sh:

  • Dish
  • Fresh
  • Wash
  • Smash
  • Fish
  • Wish
  • Squash
  • Finish
  • Eyelash
  • Toothbrush

What is the SH rule?

Sh sounds in a word can be spelled with a ch, ci, or ti. This can be confusing for children to figure out. For most words, they end with -cian, -tion, -cious, -tious, or -cial. The ci or ti sound will sound like a sh. Unfortunately, there’s no consistent way for children to know when to pronounce a word with ch with a sh sound, because of the irregularity of how we spell words in English.

If you feel that your child is ready to move past the simpler sh words above, you can practice some of the words below. Here are some words that are spelled with a ch, ti, and ci, but are pronounced with a sh sound.

Which word has an sh sound?

  • Chef
  • Machine
  • Parachute
  • Brochure
  • Chalet
  • Emotion
  • Station
  • Direction
  • Information
  • Special
  • Official
  • Magician
  • Musician
  • Delicious
  • Vicious

sh words
Where's the fish?

At home parent-led activities to improve the sh sound?

It can be frustrating for children when they don’t hear the difference between the sound they’re making and the sh sound. Here are 3 activities to help them understand the sh sound, make the sound accurately, and have fun doing it!

  1. During bath time or water-based play: have objects to play or interact with that have the sh sound in them. This can include a toy shark, a fish, a shell, shampoo, different shapes, or a toothbrush. Try and model using action words with sh sounds in them in sentences, such as wash, shake, smash, or finish.
  2. If they’re replacing the sh sound with a different sound: have pictures or objects of pairs of words that only have one different sound in them. The sh sound and the sound they’re replacing it with. Examples are Shop and Chop, shower and Tower, or Shell and Sell. Start with single words, and then see if they can put the sh word into a phrase or sentence.
  3. Do a cooking or baking activity with them or engage in pretend play around cooking or baking. Have them be the chef and give you instructions around objects with the sh sound in them, such as sugar, fish, dish, machine, or tissue. Try and model action words with sh sounds in them, such as wash, shop, push, and squash.

For more practice at-home, guided by a Speech and Language Therapist, you can sign up to noala and have fun with Speech Sounds. Starting with vowels, let's give it a go together. Sign up via this link.

References for sh sounds:
  • Ashby, P. (2005). Speech sounds (2nd ed). Routledge.
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