“Sh, shh, shh”, I say with SH




            Emergent Literacy

   Tori Hunsucker

Rationale: This lesson will help students learn the phoneme represented by SH.  Students will learn how to recognize /sh/ in written and spoken words by learning the meaningful representation (putting your finger over your mouth and saying the sound shh). Students will practice this by doing the representation every time they see it during the lesson.  We will practice finding this sound while we read through a book. They will also go through exercises that force them to distinguish the /sh/ sound compared to the /s/ sound. The exercises will include recognizing words with the sound /sh/, writing the letters /sh/, and distinguishing words with and without /sh/ in a phonetic cue reading task.



Primary Paper

List of words: “Do you hear the sound /sh/ in sale or shell? Fish or sun? bass or bash? Sheep or sleep?



Picture letter with embedded letter and tongue tickler: “Shauna sells seashells on the sea shore”.

 What Lives in a Shell? By Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld.

Flashcards: Shark, shake, shell, ship, slash, bash, flash, cushy, and Sally went to the seashore where she saw sharks and fish.


1.      Say: Words are a very interesting riddle that you have to figure out. There are many different letters that all make very different sounds. Today the class will focus on the two letters s and h. When you put them together they make the /sh/ sound. The /sh/ sound is the same sound that teachers make when they tell their students to be quiet.  [Show the picture card] To be able to say sounds correctly, you have to be careful how you move your mouth. To say the /sh/ sound, make sure that your teeth are close together and you are blowing air out of your mouth.  S looks like a snake and h looks like a house with a chimney, and when you put them together they make the sound that teachers make when they try to keep their class to be quiet: Shhhhh!

2.       Now let’s practice saying, /sh/. Put your teeth close together and blow air out of your mouth. Use our symbol to remember the sound by putting your finger over your mouth and saying, “shhhhhh”.

3.      Now let’s find the sound /sh/ in the word fish.  I am going to break down the word fish and listen for /sh/. Ffff-iiii-shshshshshsh. Listen to it one more time and make the motion, be quiet when you hear /sh/ sound in a word. Ffffff-iiii-shshshsh. There you go!! You understand and that is so great! The sound /sh/ is at the very end of the word fish.

4.      Now let’s do the tongue tickler. Please read the tongue tickler and every time you say a word that has the /sh/ sound in it put your finger over your mouth and make the shhh sound. Now say, “Shauna Sells Sea Shells on the Sea Shore”. This time slow down every time you say the /sh/ sound. For example say, “Shauna Sells Sea SSSSSHHHHells on the Sea SSSHHHore.” Now your turn. Great Job! Lastly, break down every word and slowly pronounce every letter, but when you come to the /sh/ sound make the motion that goes along with it which is the finger over your mouth.  For example, “/SH/a/u/n/a S/e/ll/s S/e/a /SH/e/ll/s o/n th/e S/e/a /SH/o/r/e”.

5.      Activities: Practice finding phoneme in spoken words:

Now read three sentences to the students. Say: “ I am going to read three sentences to you now. Every time you hear me say the /sh/ sound, I want you do the motion that we have attached to that sound. Here we go, “Shelly ate fish in the sand.” “Sarah has a crush on Sam.” “Sharks live in the sea.”

6.      Activities: Practice writing grapheme

 The second activity the students will do is to choose the word that has the /sh/ sound in it. Begin the activity by saying, “Now I will show you flashcards with two words on each card and I will say each word and I want you to choose the word that has the sound /sh/ in it. When you think you know, I want you to repeat the sound by using the "be quiet motion," then write down the word on the primary paper. As you write make sure when you write lower case letter s to start at the dotted line and then make a snake figure until you hit the ground. When you write h, start at the top and draw a line all the way to the ground and make a hump that hits the dotted line.” Now let’s begin, “Do you hear /sh/ in sale or shell? Fish or sun? Bass or bash? Sheep or sleep?” 

7.      Say: Read the book, “What Lives in a Shell?” By Kathleen Weidner.  Perform a book talk. “Today we are reading “What Lives in a Shell?” by Kathleen Weidner. There are many animals that live at the ocean. There are sharks, fish, whales, and many more amazing animals, but the big mystery is what animals live in the shells. We are going to have to read to find out the big question. Will it be a scary animal that can eat you up or a sweet animal that you can play with in the sand?” Now listen to me read this book and every time you hear a word that has the /sh/ sound in it make the be quite motion. After the book is over, ask the students what they think would live in a shell and write down their response. You may also draw a picture of the shell and what lives inside. Display their work.

8.      Practice reading grapheme of new phoneme: The teacher will have flash cards that he or she will ask the students to read out loud. The teacher will start the activity by telling the students, “I am going to show you a series of flash cards. I want you to say them out loud. After you have said them all, I am going to flip over each card so that the print can be seen and then ask you to write them down on your primary paper. Let’s practice first. If I showed you this card with the word shine on it. I would want you to say the word shine out loud while you do the hand signal as well as say the sound sh. Hear me say the word, shhhine. Let me hear you say it, shhhhhine. Good job students! Now let’s begin, Shark, shake, shell, ship, slash, bash, flash, and cushy.”  Good Job! Now I want you to write the words, “Shark, shake, shell, ship, slash, bash, flash, and cushy. Now I am going to be quiet and let you see each word and I want you to write the word down on primary paper.”

9. Assessment:  The teacher will give the students a worksheet from http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/phonics/sh-word-color_WBWMM.pdf. This worksheet has a lot of different words that have /s/ and /sh/.  To assess the students, the students will have to color the /sh/ words in red and the other /s/ words in blue. This will assess the students to see if they are able to distinguish the /sh/ sound on written paper. After they have finished coloring the words, call on students to read out a /sh/ word and ask the other students that are listening to put their head down if they agree with the student’s answer. If the student is wrong, call on another student to correct the response. This will allow the student’s to be assessed on reading the /sh/ sound for the student who is answering, but also it will assess the students who are listening also with the ability to hear /sh/ when they are deciding if the answer is correct or not.


Phonics: Sh Words. Super Teacher Worksheets/Printable Math and ELA Worksheets for Teachers and Home school Families. Web. 2012. <http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/phonics/sh-word-color_WBWMM.pdf>.


              Zoehfeld Weidner, Kathleen. “What Lives in a Shell?” Collins.      



Williams, Clarissa. "Example of Emergent Literacy Design: Shirley loves to Shake her Shakers". http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/catalysts/williamsel.html




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