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Speech add s to a word to make one starting with an s cluster  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


The child will join the sound "s" on to the start of a real word to form a word starting with an s-cluster e.g. s + top = stop Note: It is not necessary to work on the whole range of clusters, if the child has particular difficulties with a specific cluster, select activities relevant to that cluster.

Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info

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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Practice saying "s"

Stimulus to encourage the child to say "s", for example, a written letter or picture of a snake

1. Before going on to working on saying words with an initial s cluster, it is important to make sure the child can say the sound "s" in isolation;

2. Show the child the stimulus and encourage them to say the sound "s".

If a child can't make an "s" sound then these activities are not appropriate for this child.


Join on the "s"

"S" stimulus as used in the previous activity

/sk/ (sc- with hard c - and sk- words)

Pictures of:

a car and a scar

Kate and a skate

a key and a ski or someone skiing

a calf and a scarf

a core (e.g. apple core) and a score board


Pictures of:

a tick and a stick

top and a stop sign

team (e.g. a football team) and some steam (e.g. from a kettle)

a table and a stable

a tear (e.g. a torn piece of paper) and a flight of stairs

"talk" (e.g. a speech bubble) and a flower stalk

a tool and a stool


Pictures of:

a witch and a switch

a wing and a swing

one and a swan


Pictures of:

a nose and snow

a nail and a snail


Pictures of:

"mile" (e.g. signpost showing "1 mile") and a smile

a mug and someone looking smug


Pictures of:

a lip and someone slipping

a lid and someone sliding


Pictures of

a pie and a spy

a pin and something spinning

a pot and a spot, or Spot the dog

The child should be able to say both the "s" on its own and the word without the "s" (e.g. "car") on its own before doing this activity;

To make the child more aware of the starting "s" sound it can be useful (and fun) to really exaggerate it, e.g. "";

If a child cannot say any s-clusters, it is usually best to start with "sn" or "st" clusters as "n" and "t" are said with a similar location of the tongue in the mouth as "s".

Split it up

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