To learn how to make the TH sound we must know what each articulator (tongue, teeth, breath, jaw, and voice) does. Let's get learning so we can get teaching!
Many children have difficulty saying the TH sound. I will teach you how to make the TH sound so you can better teach your child in the next section.
Below is a pictures of what TH should look like:
Tongue: Stick out your tongue “slightly” past your teeth
Teeth: Top and bottom teeth rest on your tongue
Jaw: Jaw is stable with teeth aligned.
Breath: There is a continuous airflow.
Voice: Th has 2 sounds. One is voiced and the other is voiceless. For voiced TH, turn voice box on (i.e., the). For voiceless TH, turn voice box off (i.e., through). To know if you are using your voice, touch your neck and say "the". You should feel a “buzz” in your throat. Now say "through" while touching your throat. You should feel nothing since you are not using your voice.
How to use this section:
I will introduce all cues that I find helpful. Please read and become familiar with each one. You will not use all of them. Instead, when you are ready to start practicing, you will try a few and figure out which ones are most helpful for your child. Most likely, you will use a combination of a few. Please refer back to this section as needed!
Speech therapists use a variety of cues during therapy including tactile (touch), verbal (words), and visual (visual models/mirrors) to elicit a correct sound production. Below are the most useful cues for TH.
1. Model what a correct TH looks like (stick your tongue out slightly) and have your child copy
2. Show your child your tongue
1. Say “tongue between teeth”
2. Say “stick tongue out”
3. Say “use your good TH” or simply “TH”
4. Say "tongue"
1. Touch (your or your child’s) throat with your hand to cue “turn on the voice box” for voiced TH.
2. Have your child put their finger in front of their mouth as if he or she was saying “shhh.” As your child says TH, their tongue should touch their finger.
Pick and choose which cues work best for your child. You do not have to use any or maybe you need all of them.