How to Teach the CH Sound

My little Scarlet is two months old now. Last night she finally slept for long enough that this morning I feel half way normal. Yay! I decided to sit down and write a post to celebrate a clear mind, which it seems (as of late), doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

In January I had a comment here on Mommy Speech Therapy from Christy, a mom who wanted to know how to teach the CH sound. I decided to share my response to her with all of you and finally post some worksheets that will make teaching this sound a little easier. I hope this helps.

CH Sound in Isolation:

When teaching the CH sound I begin by saying that it is the sound a train makes (choo-choo), or the sound of a sneeze (ah-choo!). Surprisingly, sometimes kids are able to make the CH sound by simply referencing these metaphors.

If this doesn’t work, and your child can say the /t/ sound and the SH sound, you can shape the CH sound by first making the /t/ sound and following it up with the SH sound. Doing this rapidly should produce the CH sound.

Another way of teaching the CH sound is by teaching your child where to place the tongue. Encourage her to place her tongue tip on the roof of the mouth at the bumpy ridge just before it goes down toward the back of the mouth. If she has a difficult time finding this spot you can stimulate it with her toothbrush or put a little dab of peanut butter on that spot and then have her touch her tongue to the peanut butter. After you have taught her where to place her tongue you need to teach her how to release the air. Have her hold her tongue in that position tightly and then have her release the air quickly.

CH Sound in Syllables

Now that you know your child can say the CH sound in isolation you are ready to put it into syllables. The reason behind practicing sounds in syllables before words is because it is a smaller step for your child to take after learning the sound in isolation. For example going from the CH sound in isolation to the “choo” syllable is easier than going from the CH sound in isolation to “chimpanzee”. The other reason I like to work on syllables is because it gives me a way to determine which position of words (initial, medial or final) in the CH sound I should begin practicing because it lets me know where the child is most likely to be successful. To practice the sound in syllables simply add each vowel after the CH sound for the initial position, before the CH sound for the final position, and before and after the CH sound for the medial position, being sure to practice the long and short form of each vowel. For example the initial CH syllables would be “cha, che, chi, cho, and chu. Final CH syllables would be “ach, ech, ich, och, and uch. Medial CH syllables would be, “acho, echi, icha, ochu, and uchee.

When you figure out in which position your child has the easiest time producing the CH sound you want to practice the CH sound in the same position of words. For example, if your child is the most successful with the CH sound in the initial (beginning) position of syllables I would begin work on the CH sound in initial position of words. If your child has more success with the CH sound in the final position of syllables then I would begin working on the CH sound in the final position of words. This should help your child make progress faster if you start where they are most successful and build from there.

CH Sound in Words

Once your little one can say the CH sound in syllables and you have decided which position (initial, medial or final) you want to target you are ready to practice the CH sound in words. Use the word cards I have created on the worksheets page to practice the CH sound. Once your child can say at least 16 out of 20 words correctly you are ready to practice the CH sound in sentences.

CH Sound in Sentences

Once your child can say the CH sound correctly in words practice them in sentences. My favorite way to practice sounds in sentences is with a “rotating sentence”. In a rotating sentence only the word card changes. For example, the final CH sentence would be, “I touch the ________ .” When you add a practice card to it, it reads, “I touch the watch.” Then you rotate all your practice cards through the sentence. This is an especially great way to practice sentences for young children who can’t read yet. They are able to memorize the sentence, or use visual cues to help them read it aloud. You are also able to maximize the production of your target sound when you use a sentence with two or three target words in it. You may find my sentences for the different positions of the CH sound on the worksheets page.

CH Sound in Stories

Once your child can say the CH sound with 80% accuracy in sentences you are ready for stories. For my younger children I like to prepare a story for them to practice using the sound cards they have been practicing. You may use the stories I have created on the worksheets page. I try to include as many picture clues as I can so young children can retell the story without being able to read.

I will usually ask the older kids that I work with to write their own stories using the word cards. They usually come up with very creative stories that are very entertaining for both of us.

After the child has mastered reading the story aloud with 80% accuracy I have them retell me the story without reading it. This is just another small step toward getting an accurate production of the target sound in conversation. Once they can do this I move them to conversation.

The CH Sound in Conversation

Having mastered the CH sound in isolation, syllables, words, sentences and stories you are finally ready to practice the CH sound in conversation. At this point in the process it is ok to correct an inaccurate production of the CH sound in conversation. Hopefully, if we have done our job right, you shouldn’t have too many errors to correct.

For more details on to how to carry the CH sound through this process, read the post “The Process of Articulation Therapy” . Use the CH sound worksheets on the worksheets page for practice.

With these tools and a little patience I am confident you will have success teaching the CH sound just as Christy did. Thank you Christy for sharing your success with us in teaching this sound on my post, “How to teach the SH Sound.” Best of luck to all of you, and three cheers for a good night sleep!


Heidi - Mommy Speech Therapy Heidi Hanks, M.S.CCC-SLP has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 2000. She graduated from Utah State University where she completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She began her career in early intervention and eventually started her own private practice where she has worked primarily with pre-K through school age kids. She is the founder of Little Bee Speech, and is currently developing apps for speech and language. Heidi lives in Utah with her husband and 4 children.


21 Responses to “How to Teach the CH Sound”

  1. Kristina says:

    Heidi,
    I am so glad I found your website. We have twin girls who are six. They seem to have created their own language between themselves which has made it very difficult for others around them to understand. They understand things that are said to them they just can’t get a lot of the correct sounds out themselves. They have a speech therapist at school but she only works with them once a week for 15 minutes so I am glad you have some worksheets I can work with them on outside of school. Lately they have been doing really well but they still can’t make the G sound. Any suggestions on how I can help them learn it?
    Thanks, Kristina

  2. Elena says:

    Just wanted to thank you for your blog and all your worksheets! I’m a new SLP (completing my CFY year) working with 3-5 year-olds and have loved using your activities recently, especially the story level practice. :)

  3. Diana Gonzalez says:

    Heidi,

    Would you have any information or recommendations for working with preschoolers that have PDD?

    • Heidi says:

      Diana,

      There is no one set treatment plan for preschoolers with PDD since they each come with their own unique set of challenges and strengths. There are a few things that I have found to generally work with most kids with PDD. Outlining a schedule of our daily activities usually helps therapy run more smoothly. I also have a little book I refer to with my expectations of behavior during therapy. In that book I have outlined exactly what I expect of them and what they can expect in return. When they get off task I simply pull out my book and have them read through the expectations. That usually helps us get back on track.

      Lately I have found that the ipad is especially reinforcing. Kindergarten.com has some really good ABA apps that I have enjoyed implementing. I hope this gives you a few ideas.

  4. Mariah Reyes says:

    I am a SLPA working with early intervention kiddos, and follow your blog constantly! THank you for all of your helpful posts, articles, and suggested resources! You help so many people, especially when I refer your blog to them :) Thank you!

  5. Bibliosophy says:

    Thanks for a great website! I’ve enjoyed looking through your resources as we decide how to proceed with our 2 year old. He has been evaluated, and diagnosed with a “mild expressive language deficit,” and a “moderate articulation deficit.” We may not be able to pursue treatment with a therapist, so do you have any recommendations for things we can do with him at home?

    • Heidi says:

      Have you looked into early intervention? If you are in the U.S. your 2 year old will likely qualify for early intervention services provided by the federal government. If you do not have access to those I would recommend reading some of my posts under Early Language Development found in the side bar to get started. I hope this helps!

  6. Jane says:

    Hi, Heidi.

    I’m a SLP, and I LOVE your website – THANK YOU for all of your great information and materials!

    I noticed that the links for s sentences, s story, and sk story are not working.

    Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge -

    Jane

  7. priya says:

    im an SLP.all of the articulation worksheets are very good.it helps most of the clients…thank you once again for your information and therapy material

  8. Rachel says:

    Thank you soooo much! My daughter is 7 and just could not make this sound. Even her speech teacher could not get her to do it. Your peanut butter tip worked! We are so excited that now she can make the CH sound.

  9. Sandra says:

    Heidi,

    Thank you so much for this website..what a treasure. I am so excited to find it. I have been taking my grandson to speech therapy now for 7 months. He is 4 years old. His speech is very difficult to understand, and we want to help him enunciate better before he starts school. Thank you again. God bless you!

  10. Marina says:

    Heidi,
    I just found your wonderful website and I am really greateful for all the information and worksheets you provide.
    I have a six year old son who is having trouble with the sound of ‘th’ , ch, sl and sometimes j.
    The problem is English is not my first language and thus I have an accent so he is copying some of my lazy sounds, like in birthday which sounds like birdday :).
    Thanks again for this wonderful resource!!
    Marina

  11. Meagan says:

    I have a 5th grader that has a very hard time with ch and sh. She is not all that stimulate. Any ideas? I dont know what else to try.

    • Heidi says:

      Hi Meagan,

      It is tough to know what to recommend without knowing more about this 5th grader and what strategies you have already tried. Can she say the /s/ sound? Can she say the j sound? Have you tried shaping the sh from the /s/ sound? Or the ch from the j sound? Maybe we can work this out together. We have all had clients that stump us at times.

      Awaiting your reply,
      Heidi

  12. Miriamhoo.com says:

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. It is a wonderful resource for all SLPs, old and new. I am a school-based SLP in the field for 10 years and just wanted to comment on the first technique you mention, and provide another technique that I find helpful. Often a child can’t produce a clear CH but rather produces a “slushy”, or lateralized one. In that case, he/she will likely lateralize the “SH” as well, and will need to be taught proper placement, as you mention in the second technique, for both sounds. I often teach the students to keep their tongue in the “cage” (their teeth) to minimize lateralization. I do, however, find these sounds very difficult to generalize without a tremendous amount of practice…!

    • Heidi says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience when working with the ch sound! That is a great suggestion to keep the tongue in the teeth when the child is struggling with lateralization and a good reminder that generalization can requires a lot of work at times.

  13. Mihaela says:

    Hi, thanks for all the great resources! My four year old still often replaces the “t” sound for the “k” and “g” sound. I have been working with him for some time now and have seen improvement. However, he now exaggerates the “k” and “g” sound in his normal course of conversation. I think he does this because that is how I have emphasized the sound. What suggestions do you have for making him elicit a normal sound rather than an exaggerated one?

    • April says:

      Hi Mihaela,
      Sorry for our delay in response. Great job on working with your son on the /k/ and /g/ sound. That is great that he is able to produce the sound correctly now. If he is emphasizing the sounds at the conversation level, you can go back to practicing at the word level and work on saying the words without the emphasis. Just provide him with a model of the way you want him to produce it and see if he can do it that way. A nice way to practice this if you have an iPhone/iPad is to get our Articulation Station app and have him listen to the audio model of the words and then use the record feature to have him record himself saying the word and then let him listen back to it and see if it sounds like the model. Often times letting the child hear themselves and see what they sound like saying the word is a big break through point for them. Once he can do it correctly at the word level you can move on to short sentences and then expect to hear it correctly in conversation.
      Best of luck!