For children to become fluent readers, they must begin with an
understanding that letters represent phonemes, which are the vocal
gestures they hear. Students must also understand that vocal gestures
are represented by graphemes, which are the letters that are seen.
These phonemes can be represented by one single letter or a combination
of letters. It does not matter if they are made up of one or more
letters, the phonemes make up one single sound. When a combination of
letters makes up a sound, we call this a digraph. The goal for this
particular lesson is to help students understand that digraphs are made
up of more than one letter but only produce one vocal gesture. The
digraph taught in this lesson is /sh/. Students will be able to
recognize audibly and visually the phoneme and grapheme /sh/ in text as
well as learn to spell and read /sh/ words through the use of
- Pencils one per student
- Primary Paper one per student
- Small white board and white board markers
- Poster with tongue twister on it "Shelly shops for fish food,
shells, and ships."
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish,
Blue Fish. Geisel, Theodor Seuss. Random House Publishers,
1960. (Enough for each child to have their own or share with partners
- Elkonin boxes for each student
- letters (a, c, d, e, f, h, I, l, o, p, s, and w) for each
student, letters should be double sided and laminated.
1. "When you are at school, and the class is getting
too loud, what does the teacher say? Shhh……that's right! Shhh is a very
special sound that we are going to talk about today. Remember when we
talked about words and how words are made up of special sounds. Well
would you believe that sh is
a sound? But it's not just a sound, it is very special. Many times when
we hear one sound, it is written with one letter, but sometimes we have
special sounds that are spelled with two letters. Sh is one of these sounds. When we
find an S and an H next to each other, they make the
special sound sh (teacher
should write S and H on the board when she/he is
2. "Now Class, we are going to pretend that we're all
being too loud and lets all say sh
together. Ready? sh, Very
good. Now let's do it again, but when we say sh I want you to place your index
finger over your lips as if you we're really telling someone to be
quiet. (Teacher will model finger over lips to show students). Ready? sh Very good!"
3. "Now I have a tongue twister for you all to read.
Each time you hear our special sh
sound I want you to put your finger over your mouth, like you're
telling somebody to sh or be
quiet. We practiced earlier, so I know you all will do a great job.
Ready? Here I go:"
"Shelly shops for fish food,
shells, and ships." "
4. "Now I will show you the sentence I have written
and when I point to each word that has sh in it, I want you to put your
finger over your mouth like we practiced and say sh. Great Job!"
5. "Now let's read the sentence together and each
time we hear the sh sound,
let's stretch it out, just like this fissssshhhhhhh. Lets for a moment
pretend we're all alligators, and when we stretch the sound, open your
mouth really wide like an alligator does. Ok?" Sssshhhhelly sssshhhhops
for fisssshhhh food, sssshhhhells, and sssshhhhips. "Wonderful work!"
6. "Everyone please take out your letterboxes and
letters that I have given you. Now pay attention. I am going to
show you how to spell fish in your letterboxes." (Draw letterboxes on
the board and model how to use letters and letterboxes.) Remind
the students that each box contains a mouth move and sh sound is only one mouth move. I
will model how spelling with letterboxes should be done,
ffffiiiisssshhhh. After slowly sounding out the word, I will place
the f in the first box, I in the second box, and /sh/ in the last box.
"Okay class now it's your turn to try and spell some words that contain
/sh/." As the students are spelling the words I will walk around the
room to assist the students and check for understanding. I will also
have a clipboard, so I may take notes if necessary (assessment).
"Everyone open up two letterboxes and spell ash. Open three
letterboxes; now spell shop, wish, ship, and dish. Great
Job! Now open four letterboxes, spell crash, fresh,
flash. Super! Now that we have spelled the words in the
letterboxes let's see if we can recognize those words with out the
letterboxes." (Write the words on the board and point to them having
the class as a whole tell you what they are).
7. Now I'm going to write some words on my board
(small white board in lap). When I turn the board around, think about
it for five seconds, and then I want you to say /sh/ if you see the
/sh/ in this word. (the five seconds should give the entire class a
chance for participation) Ready? (Write first word on board (dish).
Give all students the opportunity to say /sh/ if they think it is in
this word. If you hear students say /sh/ then ask them where they see
the /sh/ in the word and have them point to it. Then ask students when
they hear the /sh/. Is it at the beginning, middle, or end of the word?
Then repeat this for each word following.
8. "Now it's your turn to find some /sh/ words. I have a copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
for each of you. With a partner I want you to take turns reading the
book. When you come to a word that has a /sh/ in it, I want you to
write it down. When everyone is finished, we will make a poster of the
ocean and write all our /sh/ words in the ocean, since our book is
about fish." (Give students time to finish reading the book and writing
their words down. As a class compile a list of the words with /sh/ in
9. "Now I am going to give you a sheet of paper that
has some pictures on it. First of all, I want you to write the word
underneath the picture, telling me what the picture is. Next, I want
you to circle the picture if it has our special sh sound in it. If you need to say
the word out loud to figure out if it has our special sound then that
is fine, just remember to use your inside voices. When everyone is
done, you may color the pictures." (picture sheet will have pictures of
ship, shirt, dog, shoe, house, shell, hand) When the students make a
list of the words from One Fish, Two
Fish, Red fish, Blue fish, the lists may be turned in and graded
as a reading assessment.
Auburn University Reading Genie Web site, Beginning Reader Design,
Kelly McIntosh, "The Fish said Shh." http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/mcintoshbr.html
Geisel, Theodor Seuss. One
Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Random House
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