Any Speech-Language Pathologist working in the schools will most likely have a slew of students with the /s/ sound.
And that sentence alone had 10 of the letter S!
Below you will find many therapy activities you can do with your students working on this phoneme.
Print this picture of “Sammy the Snake”.
Using the /s/ word lists from Home Speech Home, provide the children with auditory bombardment as they color the snake.
Home Speech Home has hundreds, wait, thousands of minimal pairs.
Pull up the list of minimal pairs for /s/ words. Go through the list and have the child hold up the snake when he or she hears the /s/ sound.
For easiest access on your iPhone or iPad use Word Vault Essential.
To make this game even more interactive, you can print a picture of another type of animal that begins with the letter they are replacing /s/ with.
For example, if they are replacing /s/ with /f/, have the child hold up the snake when they hear the /s/ sound and hold up a picture of a fox when they hear the /f/ sound.
Below is a list of minimal pairs for S/F.
You will find hundreds more on Word Vault Essential where you can take data and play the words aloud.
Once the child is stimulable for the /s/ sound, have them use it continually for many seconds at a time.
Have them hold the sound as they trace their finger all the way down Sammy the Snake’s body.
You can also do something reinforcing while they say the sound, like blowing one bubble at a time.
When the bubble pops, the child can stop saying the sound.
/S/ is an easy sound to find tools for because it is so common in the English language.
This would be a good opportunity to make a sensory box.
Fill a plastic container with rice. Use the following list for easy /s/ objects to find (at the dollar store) and place inside your sensory box.
In addition to these objects that the child can physically find in the rice, you can also laminate /s/ flashcards and place inside as well.
These words are non-blend words which are easier to produce during early initiation, however, there are many more objects you could add to your sensory box once the child is becoming more proficient with blends.
Visit Home Speech Home's /S/ word lists to find hundreds of words divided into initial, medial, and final placements, number of syllables, and different blends.
Explain that snakes smell through their tongue, and Sammy wants to smell (and eat!) all the /s/ words.
Using flashcards or printed words, have the child say each word 5-10 times and then feed it to Sammy.
You can do this by cutting a slit in near his mouth just big enough for the words to go through. Tape a blank piece of paper behind the snake to catch the words.
If you want, you can add other words that do not start with /s/ and the child can discriminate if Sammy will eat it or not.
If you have a group, this game would be great for practicing /s/ in phrases.
Use the tune to the cookie jar song, but change the words to “____ took a sandwich from the supermarket.” If you haven’t heard this song already, it goes like this.
Hollie starts...“Lindsey took a sandwich from the supermarket.”
Lindsey: “Who me?”
Hollie: “Yes you!”
Lindsey: “Couldn’t be!”
Hollie: “Then who?”
And Lindsey chooses a new person from the group and the chant starts over.
Children love putting a new spin on an old game.
Before playing it, talk about each of their favorite sandwiches using the carrier phrase “My favorite sandwich is ___.”
Take two white pieces of paper and cut them into the shape of two pieces of bread.
Then use flashcards or printed words to place inside the two pieces of “bread.” You can use a carrier phrase such as “I am putting ____ in the sandwich.”
Print a picture of Superman like this one and a picture of Super Woman like this one.
Cut them out and put a little piece of tape on the back. Give the child/ren a superhero and walk around the therapy room or the hallways at school placing the superhero in different places.
Then have the students practice saying...
“Super Woman is on the computer."
"Superman is sitting on the chair."
"Super Woman is on the light switch.”
All while paying close attention to their /s/ sounds.
There are many activities you can do using the superhero theme.
Have the children write /s/ words all around the superhero and then send it for homework.
You can make diagrams about what superheroes do...they save people, they soar through the sky, they have secret identities.
See how many /s/ words your students can come up with that relate to superheroes.
Home Speech Home has phrases and sentences for the /s/ sound in all positions as well as all blends.
Print ten sentences and cut each one out.
Flip them over so they are upside down on the table.
Wrap a piece of tape, sticky side out, around the child’s finger and have them pick up the sentences using their “sticky” finger and read them aloud (or repeat you if they aren't reading.)
A simple idea yet it keeps those kids motivated!
Have the child choose objects or flashcards from a sensory box or envelope. Then ask them to make a sentence using each word.
To add an element of difficulty, have the child make a silly story, adding to it with each word they choose. This is a fun game to play in a group.
Due to the frequency of /s/ in the English Language, nearly every spontaneous sentence will contain many /s/ sounds.
Use these conversation starter activities to elicit natural speech from the child with extra focus on the /s/ sound.
Home Speech Home has paragraphs and stories that contain a high frequency of /s/ sounds in every position and blend.
Read these aloud and have the child retell them to you.
Thanks for reading, have a great week!
Lindsey is an M.S. CCC-SLP from Salt Lake City, UT. She received both her B.S. and M.S. from Utah State University. When she's not chasing her 5 crazy kids around, she enjoys creating engaging speech therapy ideas and materials. Read More
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