Are you on the hunt for a list of initial s words that would be a great way to practice with your child or student?
As a speech-language pathologist, I know articulation goals are frequently seen at the elementary level.
If you’re a parent or speech therapist on the hunt for a list of speech therapy words that include your child or student’s target sound then you’ve come to the right place.
A great way to work on sound production is through minimal pairs.
A minimal pair is two words that differ by only one phoneme, in this case, the initial /s/ sound.
For example, “sea” and “bee”.
When you pronounce these words side by side, it’s easy to hear the difference in the initial sound.
Having a list of initial s minimal pairs is a great way to work on correct production!
The /s/ initial sounds in the English language are made by lightly placing the tip of your tongue on the ridge right behind your upper front teeth.
Be sure to place the sides of the tongue against the upper side of your teeth to allow for the passage of air to go down the center of the tongue.
Then while smiling blow a skinny stream of air over the center of your tongue (you do not want the air to come out the sides of the tongue).
Here’s a list of initial s articulation sounds for you to use in therapy, practice at home, and with those who are diagnosed with articulation disorders.
- For Example: sea, soap, soup, sauce, search, set, sit, sew, soak, sun, suit, surf, sad, saw, side, sign, sing, sound, soothe, seek, sell, see, sack, salt, sock, and sail
See the full list of words, phrases, and sentences below.
Be sure to grab my one-page freebie of initial s sounds below. Simply scroll to the bottom of this post and grab your free copy!
One of my favorite speech therapy activities to work on articulation goals is to use board games!
There are a few different types of board games that can be great for working on initial s sound production.
The first type is a game where you simply play a game and when it’s your child or student’s turn they have to say one of their practice words from a list of words.
You can have them say their word once or five times before they earn their turn to play.
The second type of game is one where the game includes your child or student’s articulation sound within the game itself. This is a great way to work on initial s sound production in the context of a game format!
Word Positions: Initial S Words Speech Therapy
Initial Position of Words
The initial position of the initial s is at the beginning of a word. For example, “sorry” or “salt”.
Medial Position of Words
Some words have the s sound in the medial position of a word, such as “castle”, “Mississippi”, and “dancer”.
Final Position of Words
The final positions of words are when the target sound is at the end of a word. For example, “bus” or “horse”.
Word Level: Initial S Words Speech Therapy
There are a lot of initial s words that can be used at the word level.
You could have your child or student say each initial /s/ word as they search through a list to find where it belongs in their sentence.
Another way you could use initial /s/ words at the word level is by using a dot marker. Have your child or student place a dot under each initial /s/ sound in a sentence.
Look no further I’ve included a one-page freebie of initial s sounds below. Simply scroll to the bottom of this post and grab your free copy.
- 1 Syllable: sea, soap, soup, sauce, search, set, sit, sew, soak, sun, suit, surf, sad, saw, side, sign, sing, sound, soothe, seek, sell, see, sack, salt, sock, sail, safe, sake, sale, same, sand, save, say, seal, seat, seed, seem, seize, self, sense, serve, sick, side, sight, silk, sink, site, size, so, soft, soil, solve, some, son, song, soon, sore, sort, sour, source, south, such, sum, said, sip, six
- 2 Syllable: secret, seaweed, soccer, sandals, sailor, safety, supplies, silly, sibling, sister, sadness, salad, salesman, sample, sandwich, savings, season, second, section, secure, seldom, select, selfish, senior, sentence, series, servant, service, session, settle, severe, sideburn, signal, silence, silent, silver, simple, singer, single, social, software, solar, soldier, solid, sorrow, sorry, southern, subject, submit, substance, success, sudden, suffer, sugar, suggest, summer, sunny, sunshine, support, surgeon, sustain, soda, super, sidewalk, seven, sunrise, sunset, saddle, sequel
- 3 Syllable: sacrifice, salary, salesperson, saleswoman, sarcastic, satisfy, secretive, selection, semester, sensible, sensitive, separate, several, signature, similar, solution, somebody, somehow, someone, something, sometimes, somewhat, somewhere, substantial, substitute, successful, sufficient, suggestion, suitable, summary, seventeen
- 4 Syllable: satisfaction, secondary, secretary, security, separation, significant, situation, superficial, sustainable
- 5 Syllable: serendipity, supernatural, sensitivity, satisfying, socialization, situational, summarization, similarity
- 6 Syllable: superiority, simultaneously, semiannually
Practice in Flash Card Mode Right Here from Your Computer!
Initial S Words Speech Therapy
|1 Syllable||2 Syllable||3 Syllable|
|4 Syllable||5 Syllable||6 Syllable|
Short Sentences or Phrases: Initial S Words Speech Therapy
When working on initial s sound production, it’s important to use short sentences or phrases once your child or student has mastered the sound at the word level at or near 80% or higher accuracy.
Here is a list of initial s word phrases to try:
Initial S Words Speech Therapy in Phrases
|1 Syllable||2 Syllable||3 Syllable|
|blue sea||big secret||make a sacrifice|
|bubbly soap||seaweed tree||full-time salary|
|cold soup||soccer ball||kind salesperson|
|tomato sauce||white sandals||friendly saleswoman|
|lost search||tall sailor||sarcastic joke|
|set aside||safety first||satisfy your thirst|
|sit next to||school supplies||don’t be secretive|
|sew together||silly faces||make a selection|
|soak up||sibling rivalry||first semester|
|full sun||best sister||act sensible|
|blue suit||filled with sadness||sensitive person|
|rough surf||salad dressing||separate people talking|
|sad face||friendly salesman||several hours|
|saw in half||eat the sample||write your signature|
|side dish||warm sandwich||similar people|
|sign below||savings account||new solution|
|sing song||in season||find somebody|
|loud sound||second floor||somehow complete it|
|soothe the baby||section off||someone is waiting|
|hide and seek||secure on||bring me something|
|sell low||seldom visit||sometimes watched|
|see you soon||select from||somewhat liked|
|brown sack||act selfish||located somewhere|
|more salt||senior citizen||substantial amount|
|white sock||make a sentence||new substitute|
|low sail||series of events||successful career|
|safe and sound||servant heart||sufficient work|
|for the sake of||service dog||make a suggestion|
|for sale||in a session||suitable for|
|all the same||settle the problem||summary of events|
|big sandcastle||severe thunderstorm||seventeen girls|
|save the day||long sideburn|
|I say||flashing signal|
|baby seal||moment of silence|
|seat belt||silent treatment|
|flower seed||silver coins|
|seem to know||simple work|
|seize the day||great singer|
|normal self||single piece|
|sense of humor||social gathering|
|serve food||computer software|
|sick day||solar panel|
|side to side||brave soldier|
|in sight of||solid rock|
|silk hat||filled with sorrow|
|sink or swim||felt sorry|
|building site||southern states|
|bite size||subject of a sentence|
|so many||submit your work|
|soft touch||liquid substance|
|dark soil||make a success|
|solve the case||all of a sudden|
|and then some||suffer the consequence|
|oldest son||made with sugar|
|a song and dance||suggest a time|
|very soon||summer fun|
|sore throat||sunny day|
|sort out||sunshine in the sky|
|sour candy||support your friend|
|water source||talented surgeon|
|down south||sustain for long|
|such and such||delicious soda|
|sum total||super job|
|you said||stay on the sidewalk|
|take a sip||seven cute kittens|
|six pencils||watch the sunrise|
|get on the saddle|
|read the sequel|
|4 Syllable||5 Syllable||6 Syllable|
|feel the satisfaction||wonderful serendipity||calm superiority|
|secondary school||supernatural power||happened simultaneously|
|helpful secretary||extreme sensitivity||occurs semiannually|
|security team||satisfying drink|
|separation between||socialization with others|
|significant choice||situational location|
|situation changed||summarization of the text|
|superficial nails||common similarity|
Sentence Level: Initial S Words Speech Therapy
The next step after working at the word level is to work on the initial s sound at the sentence level.
For example, you could use picture cards and have your child or student choose the correct initial /s/ word that goes with each picture card. The child or student could then use their initial /s/ word to create a sentence about the picture.
Initial S Words Speech Therapy in Sentences
|1 Syllable||2 Syllable|
|The boy went to the sea.||She told her a secret.|
|The soap was extra soapy.||He planted a seaweed tree.|
|The soup was cold.||She plays soccer.|
|She added more tomato sauce.||He bought new sandals.|
|They went on a search.||He wants to be a sailor.|
|It’s time to set the table.||Safety is the most important thing.|
|You need to sit down.||They needed more school supplies.|
|I need to sew up the hole.||They were making silly faces.|
|She soaked up the sun rays.||They are siblings.|
|The sun was out.||Her sister is her best friend.|
|He wore a suit.||She was filled with sadness.|
|They went surfing together.||My favorite salad dressing is ranch.|
|She was feeling sad.||He is a friendly salesman.|
|The saw cut down the tree.||I like to eat the samples at the grocery store.|
|The fruit is a side dish.||The sandwich was warm.|
|He needed to sign the paper.||I have a savings account at my bank.|
|The girl loves to sing.||These strawberries are in season.|
|The bell made a sound.||Her apartment is on the second floor.|
|He tried to soothe the baby.||They will section off those chairs for the event.|
|They played hide and seek.||Let’s secure the pin on her shirt.|
|He wanted to sell his shoes.||Their grandparents seldom visit them.|
|They went to see her grandmother.||Select your favorite fruit.|
|She put it in the sack.||Please don’t act selfish.|
|The chef added more salt.||My grandpa is a senior citizen.|
|He lost a sock.||Make a sentence with your spelling words.|
|The sail on the boat broke.||What series of events caused the vase to break?|
|He was home safe and sound.||He has the heart of a servant and enjoys helping others.|
|Eat healthy foods for the sake of your health.||Service dogs work hard.|
|This house is for sale.||The meeting is in session.|
|These shells all look the same.||Let’s work hard to settle the problem.|
|We built a sandcastle.||There was a severe thunderstorm.|
|The superhero will save the day.||Did you see his long sideburns?|
|I would say to be kind to others.||There is a flashing signal on that sign.|
|The seal at the zoo is cute.||The room was filled with silence.|
|Buckle your seat belt.||At night, my room is silent.|
|I planted my own flower seed.||I have five silver coins.|
|You seem to know the answer.||That homework was simple.|
|Remember to seize the day!||She is a great singer!|
|He wasn’t feeling his normal self.||I need a single piece of paper.|
|She has a great sense of humor.||They enjoyed the social gathering.|
|I will serve you a snack.||Computer software can be expensive.|
|The teacher needed a sick day.||That roof is full of solar panels|
|The tiger moved from side to side.||He is a brave soldier.|
|I wear glasses to help my sight.||This rock is solid.|
|What a nice, silk hat!||He was filled with sorrow over his choice.|
|Will the penny sink or swim?||She felt sorry for hurting her brother.|
|This is a new building site.||There are many southern states.|
|These are delicious bite-size cookies.||The subject of that sentence is a dog.|
|There are so many choices!||Submit your work on time.|
|The blanket is soft to touch.||My favorite substance to drink is water.|
|The soil in the garden is dark.||His project was a success.|
|He will solve the case.||All of a sudden, he jumped and scared me!|
|I would like some cake.||I had to suffer the consequence of my bad choice.|
|I am the oldest son.||The cookies are made with a lot of sugar.|
|They performed a song and dance for their parents.||Suggest a time that works for you to meet.|
|We will leave very soon.||Summer is my favorite season.|
|I have a sore throat.||It’s a sunny day.|
|Can you sort out these puzzle pieces?||Look at the bright sunshine in the sky.|
|I enjoy eating sour candy.||I always support my friend.|
|We need to find a new source of water.||He is a talented surgeon.|
|I want to travel down south to Florida.||I can’t sustain running for much longer.|
|I found skating to be such fun!||This strawberry is delicious.|
|What is the sum of 2 and 2?||She did a super job on her homework.|
|You said you would come to the party.||Stay on the sidewalk so you don’t get hurt.|
|I took a sip of water.||There are seven days in a week.|
|I need six pencils for school.||I was up early to see the sunrise.|
|What a beautiful sunset!|
|Climb onto the saddle to ride the horse.|
|I want to read the sequel of this book.|
|3 Syllable||4 Syllable|
|He made a sacrifice by staying home with his family.||They felt the satisfaction of a job well done.|
|Her boss offered her a new salary.||Next year, we will go to secondary school.|
|The kind salesperson helped her find the shoe department.||The secretary at our school is very helpful.|
|The saleswoman was very friendly as they paid for the clothes.||The football game has a security team that keeps everyone safe.|
|Their daughter was often sarcastic.||Some children don’t do well with separation from their parents.|
|Water can satisfy your thirst.||The decision they made was significant to everyone in the room.|
|Don’t be secretive with your friends.||The situation changed very quickly when the dog ran out of the yard.|
|Look at the ice cream options and make a selection.||Some women enjoy wearing superficial nails.|
|The first semester of classes was about to begin.||He started the race so fast that it was not sustainable.|
|Remember to act sensible at school.|
|Her friend is a very sensitive person.|
|The teacher said she would separate them.|
|The game lasted several hours.|
|Write your signature at the bottom of the letter.|
|The brother and sister looked very similar.|
|They came up with a solution to their problem.|
|Somebody ate the last cookie!|
|Somehow, I will complete this homework.|
|Someone is waiting outside for you.|
|Can you bring me something warm to drink?|
|They would sometimes watch the show with the talking dog.|
|She somewhat liked broccoli.|
|The moon is somewhere in outer space.|
|She had a substantial amount of books in her room.|
|There was a new substitute teacher in their class.|
|He had a successful career.|
|Five outfits were sufficient for the trip.|
|You can make a suggestion if you would like.|
|This dress is suitable for the event.|
|He wrote a summary of the book he read.|
|He had seventeen pairs of socks.|
|5 Syllable||6 Syllable|
|It was by serendipity that I found a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk.||The CEO of the company is down to earth, but she does carry herself with superiority and power.|
|Spiderman has a supernatural power.||He dropped the ball and fell down simultaneously.|
|She has a sensitivity to many foods and will no longer eat them.||The board meeting occurs semiannually.|
|After being in the sun all day, the drink of water was very satisfying.|
|After buying the new puppy, it needed socialization with other people.|
|This is a situational comedy that everyone can enjoy.|
|Please say your summarization of the text.|
|There was a similarity between the two girls.|
Initial S Words Speech Therapy Ideas
One way to help your child or student see the initial s sound in words is by using a dot marker.
Have them say the word and then put a dot above the letter that makes the /s/ sound. For example, have them say “salt” and then put a dot above the s in the word “salt”.
Another way to use a dot maker is to use them as reinforcement boards allowing the student to make a dot with their dot marker after practicing one of their initial s words or using an I Spy sheet with initial s words already on the sheet.
Here are a few examples your child or student might enjoy:
- Dot Marker Articulation Stories Initial /s/ FREEBIE by SPEECHtacular – As students read each story, have them use a Dot Marker to dot each time their target sound is used. Complete these in individual or small group sessions, or send them home as homework!
- Acorn- Dot Marker Tracking worksheet (Articulation) by Kiddo Talk Speech Therapy – This is ideal to keep a kiddo focused during Articulation Drill tasks. Have them identify their target sound first and then get right to work…and drill, drill, drill!
- Articulation Coloring Sheet by Kimiko the SLP – Use this coloring sheet to keep your kids engaged while practicing their /s/ sounds!
One way to help your child or student with initial s sound production is by answering questions.
You can either use a worksheet where they have to answer questions about initial s words or you could verbally ask them questions and have them answer out loud.
Some examples of initial s questions are: “What’s the name of this bird?” while pointing to a picture of a seagull.
Here is an example your child or student might enjoy:
- Articulation Story Loaded with “S” Sounds and WH Story Question by Speech Fun Club – This Freebie resource focuses on “S” sound production at the connected speech level while also targeting listening comprehension and narrative language skills.
Initial Consonant Deletion
What is initial consonant deletion?
Initial consonant deletion is when a child or student deletes an initial sound from a word. For example, the word “seal” might be pronounced as “eel”.
One way to work on initial consonant deletion is using minimal pairs to show the student the difference.
When working on initial s minimal pairs, you’ll have two words and your child or student will circle which word has the initial sound they are working on.
For example, if you’re working on initial s sound production, you might have the words “sip” and “dip”. The student then selects the correct word, “sip”.
Here are a few of my favorite initial consonant deletion worksheets that can be used for the initial s sound:
- Initial Consonant Deletion or Collapse: Animated story by Karen Pardyjak- This is a short story written to highlight the fact that using a specific initial consonant in CVC words changes the meaning. The story is an animated video, which is very useful in the tele-therapy or distance learning format.
- Initial & Final Consonant Deletion! Print N’ Go! 32 Squares by Speedy Speechy Supplies- 32 squares! Hand drawn worksheets! Draw a line from the word that’s being articulated and the word they MEAN to say! Initial Consonant Deletion made easy!
One of the many ways you can practice articulation therapy for the initial s sound is through distance learning.
Here are three of my favorite distance learning approved ways to work on the initial s sound:
- Initial Sound Picture Spotter – letter ‘s’ by Early Years Resources – Use this fun lesson to reinforce the initial s sound with a variety of words.
- S sound practice. Placement, isolation, and initial position of words practice by Lizzette Burger – This is a simple way to target /s/ phoneme in isolation and in the initial position of words.
- FREE S Articulation Short Stories, Lateral Frontal Lisp Sounds, Speech Therapy by Shine Speech Activities – This resource includes 2 stories targeting the initial sound position.
Another way to work on articulation practice of the initial s sound production is through auditory bombardment.
Auditory bombardment is a term used to describe the process of providing a student with an abundance of listening opportunities to hear their target sound.
This can be done in a variety of ways such as through listening activities, songs, stories, and more.
Here are a few auditory bombardment activities to work on the initial s sound:
- Auditory Bombardment by The Pedi Speechie – You’ll love this Auditory Bombardment freebie that includes the initial s sound. Each page contains parent instructions.
- Articulation War Plus – S sound by Snowflake Speech – This resource is a play on the card game War, with an added bonus of matching symbols to sound-loaded actions for extra auditory bombardment AND extra engagement!
According to the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation 2 from 2000, most children have mastered the initial S sound by the time they are five years old. (This is a standardized sample from the GFTA-2 with 85% of children able to correctly produce that consonant by that age.)
If you are concerned about your child’s ability to produce this sound, it is best to consult a speech therapist about receiving speech services.
There are a lot of initial s sound therapy activities to choose from!
If you don’t have a lot of time to create your own then be sure to check out the ones listed throughout this blog post.
Which one will you try first?
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