Over the course of my career in the public schools, I have used many different visuals and techniques to teach speech sounds.
The one I’m sharing today is designed to help students who substitute /sh/ for /ch/. For example, they say ship instead of chip. The CH sound is an affricate, so you might hear SLPs calling this error pattern deaffrication.
Let’s take a closer look at what is happening during this sound substitution. Basically, the student is removing the “stop feature” of the CH sound and turning into an SH. The lateral margins of the tongue are lifted, which is great, but the tip of the tongue isn’t lifting up to the alveolar ridge, so pressure isn’t building for that explosive CH sound.
When I teach the CH sound, I call it a “burst of air”. It can be difficult for students to visualize this, and that’s where the water bottle comes in. I explain to the students that the SH sound is long and continuous, but the CH sound is a quick burst. I grab my water bottle and spray it, so they can see the burst of air (and water mist) puff out.
Tips for Teaching CH
- Tell students, “Tongue up, lips round, burst of air!” To see a video that uses these cues to teach the CH sound, click here.
- Explain that CH is a quick burst, not a long continuous sound. You can visualize this with water flowing from a sink faucet (like an SH sound) vs. water bursting out of a water bottle (like a CH sound).
- You can shape a CH sound from an existing SH sound by having your student hold out the SH (Shhhhhh) and then lift their tongue tip to stop the airflow for a moment. Then, have them release a burst of air as they lower their tongue tip. This can elicit a CH sound.
When you are working on affricate sounds, CH and J, you may also want my workbook, I Can Say the CH and J Sounds. This workbook is designed for SLPs to use during therapy sessions. It has elicitation techniques and practice pages to help guide you as you work with your students. It even includes a page for using a water bottle as mentioned above.
Best of luck with your speech sessions!
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