Shh, do not wake the baby!

Rebecca Schofield



            While learned to read, write, and spell all students must learn to recognize letters and relate them their corresponding sounds. Spelling digraphs is one area that often gives children great trouble, however, one way, that we as teachers can help children avoid frustration and learn to spell difficult words is by creating lessons that focus on digraphs. A digraph is made when two or more letters are combined to make one phoneme (sound/mouth move).  The purpose of this lesson is for the students to learn to recognize the digraph /sh/, its sound in familiar words, and its spelling.



Laminated chart paper with the phrase, "Shannon shines Shelly's shoes with a brush at Sharon's shoe shop."

  Dry erase makers

Elkonin letterboxes (1 for each student)

Letter manipulative for each student : a, b, d, e , f, h, I, l, o, p, s, u, w

Primary Paper  and pencil for each student to use during whole class lesson

Multiple copies of Shoe Man by Alice K. Kunka (1991). Sheck-Vaughn Company.

Worksheet reviewing the /sh/ sound ö example is attached

Multiple copies of Shelly's Shell Shack found at

Computer center

Jumpstart Phonics 2003

Writing center- Fishing Game

Toy fishing pole or stick with magnet at the end of the string

3"x5" word cards (words both with and without /sh/ sound) folded in half secured with a paper clip

Primary paper





1.      Introduce the lesson to the whole class:  Class, sometimes when two letters are put together, they make the same sound. Does anyone know what two letters make up the /sh/ sound? Yes, the letter s and the letter h are put together to say /sh/. When two letters are put together to make only one sound, it is called a digraph. The /sh/ sound is a digraph.


2.      Ask students: How many of you have been in a house when a baby was sleeping in one of the rooms? Do you remember people saying, "shhhhh, do not wake the baby?" Well when the letters s and h are put together they say /sh/, just like the sound that people say when a baby is sleeping. Now, I want everyone to everyone to put their finger up to their mouth and say shhh. Did air come out of your mouth when you did it? Yes, it did. What positions were your teeth in when you made that sound? That is correct, they were together. Let's all try it together again. Everyone say shhh! Very good. The /sh/ sound is in many of the words we read and write.


3.      Show the tongue twister written on the chart. Okay, now we are going to try a tongue twister. (on chart) Everyone follow along with me "Shannon shines Shelly's shoes with a brush at Sharonās shoe shop. Now let's say it again, but this time we are going to stretch out the /sh/ sound in each word. Shhhhhhhannon, shhhhhhhines, Shhhhhhelly's shhhhhhhoes, with a brushhhhhhhhhhh at Shhhhhharon's shhhhhhhhoe shhhhhhhop. Great job! Can someone come up to the chart and circle letter the /sh/ in the first word with a dry erase marker? Repeat this step until all of the /sh/ sounds have been circled. That was great thank you for following directions and being such good listeners.


4.      Game: Now we are going to play a game. I am going to say two words and I want you to make the shhhh signal and say the word that contains the /sh/ sound. Ready? Tall or short?  Boat or Ship? Yell or Shout? Good Job!


5.      Letterbox lesson: Pass out the letterboxes and letters to each of the students. Review with students how to use the letterboxes and then we will begin. This time when we spell our words in our letterboxes, we have to remember that we have two letters that are going to make one sound.  S and h make the /sh/ sound. So, will you put the /sh/ sound in one box or two? You are right, only one box! Let's try one together. Show students how to spell the word bush in their letterboxes. We will need three letterboxes. We will put /b/ in the first box, then /u/ will be in the second and /sh/ will be together in the third box since it only represents one sound. Then give them some more words to practice on their own one at a time. Walk around the room and make sure that everyone is spelling the words correctly. Once everyone is finished with one word, we will discus it. This step will be continued until every word is completed.


She (2) /sh/ /e/

Dash (3) /d/ /a/ /sh/

Fish (3) /f/ /i/ /sh/

Shop (3) /sh/ /o/ /p/

Ship (3) /sh/ /i/ /p/

Wish (3) /w/ /i/ /sh/

Flash (4) /f/ /l/ /a/ /sh/


6.      Reading: Class, you did a great job using the letterboxes to spell words with the /sh/ sound. Now we are going to read a book called Shoe Man. This book is about a girl who visits a shoe store. She sees many neat things at the shoe shop. To find out what goes on at the shoe store we are going to have to read this book!

First we are going to read the book all together out loud and then want you to read the book quietly to yourself and write down the words that have the /sh/ sound on your paper. When that is complete, then have the students share the words that they came up with and make a list on the board. Then we would go through each word stressing the /sh/ sound.



For the assessment have the students move in-groups to different literacy centers.


Seat work:

I am going to pass out a worksheet for you. I want you to look at the picture and read the words in the box. When you see the word that matches the picture write the word on the lines provided.

Teacher table:

Students coming to the teacher table will read a book called Shelly's Shell Shack. Here the teacher will be able to do an abbreviated version of a guided reading lesson while listening to the students read.



Students going to the computers will play Jumpstart Phonics 2003.  The teacher will set the game up so that the student will be able to work on the /sh/ sound. The computer keeps track of the student's answers, which allows teachers to assess the studentās strengths and weaknesses.


Writing Center:

Today at the writing center you are going to be fishing for words. Using the toy-fishing pole I want each of you to fish for a word to practice. When you "catch" a word I want you to read the word to the other group members and then everyone in the group write it down on their piece of primary paper. If the word has the /sh/ sound in it I want you to all circle the word with a crayon. Take turns fishing for words. I expect good behavior at this center! Teacher: On 3"x5" cards print words; have some words with the /sh/ sound and others without. Then, fold the cards in half, and fasten it with a paper clip. Place the cards in a large fish bowl. Using a toy fishing pole or a long stick, place a magnet on the string. The students go fishing for a spelling word to practice. When they "catch" a word, they take it off their line and write it out on a piece of paper.


Teacher can assess students understand of the /sh/ digraph by computer games results, /sh/ sound worksheet, writing center words, and notes taken during the small group reading lesson.



References: (center ideas) (worksheet)

Elderedge, J.L., Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Prentice Hall, Inc., New Jersey. 1995. Pgs. 50-70 (primary paper)





Click here to return to guidelines.