Shhhhhhhh! Don’t Wake Mama
Beginning Reader Lesson using sh = /sh/
By: Brandi Gainor


Rationale:  In order for children to learn to read and spell words, they must understand letters and the phonemes that represent letters.  It is important for children to understand that more than one letter represents some phonemes.  This type of letter combination is often called a digraph.  A digraph is a two-letter combination that only makes one sound.  When each letter of a digraph is isolated, it may represent a different phoneme, but when these letters are combined, they represent one phoneme.  This lesson will teach children to identify the digraph /sh/ in written and spoken words.  The correspondence /sh/ is very important for children to learn.  They will learn to spell and read words with the phoneme /sh/.   The children will also participate in activities that will enhance their knowledge of the phoneme /sh/.


1.    Introduce the lesson by explaining that more than one letter can represent a phoneme.  Today we are going to talk about one of those special phonemes.  We already know what sounds s and ha make when they are by themselves, but today we are going to find out the sound that they make when they are together.  Whenever s and h are together, they make the sound /sh/, like in shout and shoe.  When s is alone, what does it say?  That is right it says /s/.  See how the sounds are different when they are together and when they are alone?  When two letters are put together to make one sound, it is called a digraph.  Today we are going to learn about the digraph sh and the sound that it makes.
2.    Have you ever been so loud that sometimes your mommy or daddy had to come and tell you to be quiet?  Did they say shhhhhh you are being too loud?  Well /sh/ is what you hear when you combine s and h, like in ship, or fish.  Can everyone hear the /sh/ in ship and in fish?  Now I want everyone to say fish and ship and when you hear the /sh/, I want you to put your finger over your mouth like your are telling someone to be quiet.  (Demonstrate saying the word and doing the finger movement.)
3.    Now let's all try a tongue twister.  "Shirley Shaffer shouldn't shake the sugar should she?"  Now I want us to all read it together.  This next times when we read it, I want you to do the /sh/ motion with your finger each time that you hear /sh/.  Now let's do it again but this time I want you to stretch out the /sh/.  Demonstrate Shhhhhirley Shhhhhaffer etc.  Shhhhhirley Shhhhhaffer shhhhhouldn't shhhhhake the sugar shhhhhould shhhhhe?  Now we are going to read it one more time but this time I want you to bread the /sh/ off of the word.  Demonstrate /Sh/ irley /Sh/ affer etc…  /Sh/ irley /Sh/ affer /sh/ ouldn't /sh/ ake the sugar /sh/ ould /sh/ he?  Great job recognizing the /sh/ in out tongue twister.
4.    Now that we know how to identify /sh/ in spoken words, we are going to spell some words that have /sh/.  Everyone take out you letter boxes and fold them until you have only three boxing showing like this (hold up three boxes).  You will also need to take out your bags that contain the letters (s, h, u, t, e, d, o, p, w, i(2), b, a, r, m,l) and make sure that your s and h are taped together.  I am going to say a few words and I want you to spell them in your letterboxes.  For example, if I say ship, you would put sh in the first box.  You would do this because the s and the h make the /sh/ sound and that is one sound so it goes in one box.  Next, you would put the i in the middle box.  The i would make the /i/ sound and how many sounds is that?  Great job!  So the i would go in the next box.   Lastly, we would put the p in the last box because the /p/ is only one sound. Demonstrate on the board by drawing three boxes and placing the correct phonemes in each box.  Now remember that our /sh/ makes one sound so this is why the two letters are taped together.  Because it makes one sound, it goes in one box.  Now let's begin.  I am going to say a word and I want you to spell it using the letters in front of you.  Remember only one sound for each box. (Teacher says each word and walks around monitoring progress.  3 phoneme- shut, shed, shop, wish, bash  4 phoneme- shred, trash,  5 phoneme-splash, finish) Great job.  Now I am going to spell the words on the board and I want you to read them aloud.  For example, if I put sh-i-p on the board, you would sound that out and say ship.  Continue until we have gone over each word.
5.    Pass out copies of the book Don't Wake Mama.  I am going to divide you into pairs and I want you to take turn reading to one another.  After you have read, I want you to go through the book and write all of the words that have sh and make the /sh/ sound.
6.    I will pass out a worksheet with eight pictures on it (shell, nose, apple, bat, ship, dish, star, fish).  The students will write the name of each item in a blank provided under the item.  The students will then color each item that has the /sh/.  For assessment, while the children are doing the activity, I will bring students to the kidney shaped table one at a time, to read a passage from the book Don't Wake Mama.

Murray, Bruce A. and Theresa Lesniak.  "The Letterbox Lesson:  A Hands-On Approach
for Teaching Decoding."  The Reading Teacher.  Vol. 52, No. 6  March, 1999.  

Starnes, Amanda.  Shhhhhhh

Christelow, Eileen.  Don't Wake Mama!  Clarion Books. New York, NY; 1996, 32p.

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