Bryant Foreman
Beginning Reading

Shhh!  I'm trying to learn this digraph!!

        This lesson is intended to help students recognize the digraph /sh/ in written and spoken language.  Recognizing digraphs like this one is a hard skill to learn but needed to help unlock the door to the world of reading.  Students need to become aware that digraphs are groups of two successive letters whose phonemic value is a single sound.  They must learn that when certain letters are together in a word they stand for a specific mouth move.  I will teach this correspondence by using a letterbox lesson.  Students will be able to read and spell words that contain the phoneme /sh/.


1. We are now going to move past learning our individual letter sounds. Some letters, when put together with another letter, come up with their own sound.  We must learn that when certain letters are together in a word they stand for a specific mouth move.  Today we are going to learn the new sound s and h make when they are put together.  When we put the letters s and h together they say /sh/.  At first it might seem hard to find the /sh/ in words, but soon you will be able to find the /sh/ when hearing spoken words and when reading printed words.

2. Ask students: Have you ever wanted someone to be quieter?  Sometimes people use the /sh/ sound to let others know they are being too noisy.  Do you know how to make the /sh/ sound?  Model by placing you finger over your mouth as if you are were asking them to be quiet.  Now try making the /sh/ sound to your neighbor.  Have the students place their hand in front of their mouth while making the /sh/ sound.  Do you feel air on your hand?  The /sh/ sound is made by puckering your lips and blowing out of your mouth.  Now, I want you to listen to these words and tell me which ones have /sh/: ship or snip, fish or kiss?  (Review the letters s and h if needed: ex. - using s and h in words and even how to write s and h if necessary)

3. Let’s try this tongue twister!  "Shannon and Josh sold sea shells and fish by the sea shore."  Let’s say it three times together.  Now we are going to stretch out the /sh/ sound in each word.  "Shhhannon and Joshhh sold sea shhhells and fishhh by the sea shhhore."  Excellent!  Lets try it again, but instead of stretching out the /sh/ sound, separate it from the word.  "/Sh/annon  and  Jo/sh/  sold  sea  /sh/ells  and  fi/sh/  by  the  sea  /sh/ore."  Great job!

4. Start the letterbox lesson: I am going to pass around several envelopes with letters in them.  Take out the letters and turn all of them over to the lowercase side.  Raise your hand when you are done.  Next, I want you to take a small piece of tape and tape the s and the h together.  Who remembers which two letters we taped together last time?  Yes, we taped the c and the h together to make the /ch/ sound.   Does anyone remember if the /ch/ went on the same box or two different boxes?  Great!  They go on one box.  And does anyone know why they go onto the same box?  Yes, because the two letters make one sound.  We are going to do the same with the /sh/ sound today.  Lets start with two boxes.  Use your letters to spell the word ash.  (Teacher observes students' answers and models.  Modeling how to do letterboxes for every letter or combination of letters learned is helpful.)  Great!  How about the word she.  Nice work.  Now lets try more words using three boxes.  Fish, shut, dish, shop, cash, etc.  Excellent!  Now we are going to use four letterboxes.  Fresh, flash, trash, etc.  Great Job.  Once all the words are done, write them on the board and have the students say the words.  Mix up the order so that the students will have to recall the words from memory to say them.

5. Shake It Up: For this activity, I want everyone to stand up and shake when you hear the /sh/ sound in a word.  Remember, if I say a word that has the /sh/ sound, stand up and shake, but if the word does not have the /sh/ sound, remain seated.  Is everyone ready?  Say: short, sad, trash, fast, slow, shy, space, start, etc.  (The teacher may also call on students to do this individually or by groups as well as the whole class).  Now lets do the same for our tongue twister.  "Shannon, and, Josh, sold, sea, shells, and, fish, by, the, sea, shore."  Great job!

6. Students will read Tish the Fish and then talk about the story.   "Remember, while we are reading, make sure you listen for the /sh/ sounds."  Have the teacher read the story again while the students follow along and when a word comes up with the /sh/ in it, have the students raise their hands.  Finally, let the students pick out a /sh/ word from the reading and have them write a sentence or so about it and draw a picture.  Display their work.  Invented spelling is fine.

7. For assessment, have a big posterboard with pictures of objects.  Some objects have the /sh/ in the name, others will not.  Have the students say what the picture is and tell whether it is a /sh/ word or not.  Pass out a worksheet that has various pictures with no print on it.  Have the students circle the pictures that have the /sh/ in the word.  For another assessment, have the students fill in the blank where the /sh/ should go.  Ex __y__ (shy); __di__(dish); __cru__(crush); __ift__(shift) Have the students read another /sh/ book, recording the /sh/ words on paper, and writing a short summary of the book.  Finally, as a game, have the students read some unfamiliar words or pseudowords.


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