SH Words for Speech Therapy (Word Lists and Activities)

If you’re a speech-language pathologist looking for a quick list of initial and final sh target words to practice during therapy, this article is a must-read! You’ll also find fun ideas for making speech therapy more fun with a variety of engaging games, resources, and articulation activities for teaching the sh sound. This blog post provides a list of sh words, including initial sh, medial sh, and final sh words. This articulation article also suggests a variety of strategies for teaching correct placement for the sh sound.

SH word lists for speech therapy- for use in articulation therapy

How To Say the SH Sound

The SH sound is a lingua-palatal sound. It is a fricative. It is also a voiceless sound, meaning the vocal folds do not vibrate during production. When we produce the sh sound, the lips are protruded. The correct production of sh involves the front of the tongue (the tongue tip and tongue blade) angling toward the lower front teeth. The sides of the tongue make contact with the upper molars. The tongue is raised, flattened, and has a wide groove, which is much wider than it is for the s sound. Air is directed through this wide opening.


Peña-Brooks Adriana, and M. N. Hegde. Articulation and Phonological Disorders: Assessment and Treatment Resource Manual, PRO-ED, Austin, TX, 2007.

Bauman-Wängler Jacqueline Ann. “Chapter 8: Therapy for Phonetic Errors.” Articulatory and Phonological Impairment: A Clinical Focus, Pearson, Harlow, Essex, 2014.

Common SH Sound Errors

Sometimes, students with articulation disorders or phonological disorders have difficulty producing the sh sound. A student with a lisp, such as a lateral lisp, may have difficulty with the production of the sh sound. Read about the different types of lisps, and make sure to check out these lateral SH tips for speech therapy.

Another error may involve the phonological process of stopping. A student might substitute “t” for “sh”. The result would be saying “two” for “shoe”. Stopping minimal pairs might be beneficial if this occurs. Read more about the different phonological processes.

Reference: Bauman-Wängler Jacqueline Ann. “Chapter 8: Therapy for Phonetic Errors.” Articulatory and Phonological Impairment: A Clinical Focus, Pearson, Harlow, Essex, 2014.

How To Teach the SH Sound in Speech Therapy

A speech language therapist might find it beneficial to try giving this sound a silly name. It could be something like “your quiet sound”. Raise a finger to your lips as an additional reminder.

A speech pathologist could try to shape SH from S. Have your student say the s sound, then pucker the lips (or make “fish lips”).

Try incorporating minimal pairs. For example, if a child says ‘t’ for ‘sh’ (“two” for “shoe”), try using stopping minimal pairs. If a child says the s sound as a substitution for the sh sound (“Sue” for “shoe”), try using fronting minimal pairs.

A mirror may be helpful to provide visual feedback.

And don’t miss these tips for lateral SH.


Author’s clinical experience

Peña-Brooks Adriana, and M. N. Hegde. “Chapter 8- Therapy for Phonetic Errors.”Articulation and Phonological Disorders: Assessment and Treatment Resource Manual, PRO-ED, Austin, TX, 2007, pp. 300–301. 

SH words for speech therapy

Speech Sound Word Lists for the SH Sound

The following word lists contain words with the initial sh sound, medial sh sound, and final sh sound. These SH articulation word lists allow the SLP to easily work on a target sound in speech therapy. Quickly pull these SH word lists up during your speech therapy session and pair them with the game or activity of your choice. Check out the best games for speech therapy here. These lists are helpful for a student with an articulation disorder. To practice at the sentence level, have students combine words and generate sentences.

Initial SH Word List for Speech Therapy

Here is a list of initial sh words (sh at the beginning of a word) to use in speech therapy:

  1. show
  2. shoe
  3. she
  4. sheep
  5. chef
  6. shake
  7. shark
  8. shave
  9. shelf
  10. shine
  11. shore
  12. shut
  13. shadow
  14. shaky
  15. shamrock
  16. shiny
  17. shopping
  18. shuttle
  19. sugar
  20. shampoo

Medial SH Words for Speech Therapy

Here is a list of medial sh words (SH in the middle of a word) to use in speech therapy:

  1. action
  2. caution
  3. cushion
  4. dishes
  5. fashion
  6. fiction
  7. flashlight
  8. glacier
  9. lotion
  10. machine
  11. Nashville
  12. ocean
  13. seashore
  14. special
  15. tissue
  16. washer
  17. addition
  18. attention
  19. collection
  20. emotion

Final SH Word Lists for Speech Therapy

Here is a list of sh occurring at the end of the word (sh at the ends of words, final position):

  1. bush
  2. blush
  3. crash
  4. dash
  5. dish
  6. fish
  7. flash
  8. fresh
  9. hush
  10. leash
  11. wish
  12. splash
  13. eyelash
  14. finish
  15. goldfish
  16. hairbrush
  17. paintbrush
  18. skittish
  19. toothbrush
  20. Swedish

5 Best SH Words Speech Therapy Activities

Speech-language pathologists are often looking for fun ways to work on the sh sound in speech therapy! Here are the top articulation activities that include sh words.

Speech Sound Mouth Articulation Cards

How about a nice change from traditional articulation drill cards? These speech sound mouth articulation cards are the answer! Your speech therapy students will be excited to see articulation cards in the shape of lips! The picture of the mouth is very helpful as a visual cue. Even better, these articulation cards can double as speech room decor. Prep them once and hang them in your speech room for everyday use!

SH words articulation picture cards for speech therapy

Several speech sound targets are included in this resource, including sh initial, sh medial, and sh final.

Articulation Manicure

This creative articulation activity is going to be a HIT in your speech therapy session! Banish boring and try an articulation manicure instead! Your student simply picks a play dough color (aka, a nail color), while you pick the target speech sound. Your speech therapy student will say the target word, then smash a small piece of play dough on a “nail”. Your student continues to say each target articulation word and each time she gets to smash a small piece of playdough onto a fingernail. Before you know it, the manicure will be complete!

This is a play dough sh words articulation activity for speech therapy

Articulation Card Game Companion

Your students love playing that very popular color-coded card game- and you’d like a way to incorporate that into articulation therapy. No problem!

Speech-language pathologists will absolutely love this articulation card game companion because it makes data collection a breeze. Not only that, but it ensures an engaging session for your elementary speech therapy students.

initial sh words articulation activity for speech therapy

Here’s how it works: before your student puts down a blue card during his turn, he must say the sh articulation word that is listed under the blue section. If he draws a yellow card, then he must say the sh articulation word that is assigned to that target color. It’s fast, easy, and motivating!

SH Sound Speech Therapy Minimal Pairs

Need some easy-to-use minimal pairs for speech therapy? Speech therapists will love how simple and organized these minimal pairs are to use in therapy! If you aren’t a fan of searching through hundreds of cards in. a pile, trying to find exactly the words you need, then give these a try!

Everything you need to implement a successful minimal pairs session is available on one page. First, there is an auditory bombardment word list that you can read to your speech therapy student. Then, your student can complete an auditory sorting or auditory discrimination activity. Finally, have your student practice saying the 6 minimal pair target words per page.

stopping minimal pairs for speech therapy that target sh vs t initial

Try these fronting minimal pairs or stopping minimal pairs to target the sh sound. Or, just grab the bundle so you’ll always be set!

Articulation Activity for Older Students

Do you have older students working on the SH sound? This Type & Say Articulation Challenge is a hands-on activity that your students will love! No, it doesn’t involve using any laptops or tablets.

Here’s how it all works: your student will pretend to “type” the word using the ”keyboard” on the paper, then they will practice saying the target word. This can also open up great conversations about how speech sound targets can be represented in print in various ways.

This is a carryover articulation activity that targets the SH sound in speech therapy - it targets SH words.

More Articulation Words for Speech-Language Pathologists

Are you in a hurry and need this article summed up? To see the SH words, simply scroll up. Next, make sure to try out these best-selling SH sound articulation resources:

  1. Speech Sound Mouth Articulation Cards
  2. Articulation Manicure
  3. Articulation Card Game Companion
  4. Minimal Pairs Bundle
  5. Type & Say Articulation Challenge

Don’t miss these other articulation word lists!

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