Rationale: In order to read and write many words in our language, children need to learn a correspondence that is very common: sh=/sh/. This digraph will help children to read and spell by attaching a sound to its letters.
Materials: Elkonin boxes; letter manipulatives: a,f,h,I,o,p,r,s,u,w; multiple copies of Shoe Man (Phonics Readers); overhead projector
1. Say "Today, we will learn the /sh/ sound. "Put your hand up to your mouth, close your teeth together, and say /sh/. Do you feel air on your hand?"
2. "Do you know which letters make the /sh/ sound?" Ask them to practice making the sound like they are telling someone to quiet down.
3. The letters s and h make the /sh/ sound. Listen and tell me if you hear the /sh/ sound in these words. Say "ship, sea, sharp, boat, rail, shell."
4. Draw letterboxes on the overhead and model how to spell shop. Remind them that the digraph /sh/ only uses one letterbox because s and h together make one sound, /sh/. Tell them "the first sound is /sh/. That goes in the first box. The next sound I hear is /o/. That goes in the second box. The last sound is /p/ and that goes in the third box."
5. Ask the students to spell fish, ship, rush, fresh, crash, and splash using their own letterboxes and manipulatives.
6. Have the children choral read the Shoe Man. Read again and tell them to count the number of times they hear the /sh/ sound on their fingers while reading.
7. For assessment, have the children raise their hands and come up to the board to write the /sh/ words they heard in the book. Then, let the children read aloud the completed list of words individually. Explain that some of the words were different, such as shoe, and explain that that word is one that you have to remember the spelling.
Reference: Eldredge (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill, 111-112.
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