Shhh! I heard a crash!

Beginning Literacy

By: Tara Killen

Rationale: As students begin to read on their own, it is important that they have the phoneme correspondences necessary to decode words that are not sight words. One group of phonemes that are hard for students to decode without knowing is digraphs. In this lesson, we will focus on the sh=/sh/ correspondence. The students will learn to read, spell, and hear words with the /sh/ vocal gesture.


Materials: tongue twister chant on lined paper, letterboxes for each student, laminated paper letters for each student in a baggy (letters needed: f, i, s, h, p, m, a, o, r, t), letters with magnet on the back to stick on board, copy of The Crash in the Shed from the Reading Genie website, pencil box for each child for the phoneme kit, worksheet with pictures with /sh/ and non-/sh/ in them, pencils



  1. Okay ladies and gentlemen, today we are going to continue talking about phonemes. Can anyone remind me what a phoneme is? (A vocal gesture.) Right. Today we are going to be talking about a special phoneme. Our phoneme for today and the next few days is the sound that the letters s and h make together.
  2. S and h are special friends. When they are together, we call them a digraph. Di means two and in this case graph is a letter or letters. So digraph means two letters.
  3. When my friends s and h are together they make the sound /sh/. Say that with me, shhhhh. Good! Now close your eyes and think about what your mouth does when you say shhh. What is it doing? (Lips puckered out and air seeps out between the teeth.)
  4. Okay, now I am going to show you a picture to help you remember our new phoneme. Here it is! (Show picture of the smiley face.) What is he doing? He is saying, "shhhh." Like when you tell someone to be quiet, right? Shhhh. Put your finger over your mouth like the smiley face and say shhh.
  5. Now it is time for our weekly tongue twister! Here it is! (Show the chart paper with tongue twister: Shhh, I heard a crash in the shabby shed's bushes.) Say it with me this time. Okay, now whenever you hear that shhhh I want you to put your finger over your lips like the smiley face and draw out the shhhh.
  6. I want everyone to listen very closely now. I am going to say some words and I want you to tell me which one you hear shhh in. Let me tell you what I mean, if the words were lash or brow, I would think to myself, lash, brow. Lash has that shhh sound, right? Okay, let's get started. (Words: fish or dog, trash or garbage, pan or dish, sink or shower?)
  7. Everyone get your letterboxes out of your phoneme kit. We are going to do a letterbox activity now. I want you to make your boxes so that there are 3 boxes. Who can tell me what the boxes stand for? (Phonemes in the word.) If I were going to spell the word "splash" I would do it like this: /s/, /p/, /sp/, /spl/, /a/, /spla/, /sh/, /spla/ /sh/, oh, splash! Spell the words as I say them. (3 phoneme words: fish, ship, mash) Now make 4 boxes. (4 phoneme words: flash, short)
  8. Now I want you to look in your reading folder and get out the new packet. Our new book is called The Crash in the Shed. Booktalk: This book is about Jan and Tim. They are trying to decide if they want to go fishing or looking for shells. They decide to do both. When they go to the shed to get their gear to fish and search for shells, their cat, Elf, jumps up and causes a big crash! I wonder what is going to happen next? I want you to all whisper read the book to yourself at your desk. I am going to call several of you up to my desk at a time to read to me.


Assessment: Each student will complete a worksheet by coloring in the pictures that have the /sh/ phoneme in them.



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