“Sh! Sh!….. We’re in the library”
Emergent Literacy Lesson
Anne Kimbell Grant

Children have to develop phoneme awareness in order to become fluent and successful readers. By teaching children to recognize phonemes, they will also begin to recognize letters that correspond to specific phonemes. Letter recognition and phoneme awareness go hand and hand. Digraphs (phonemes with containing two letters) are sometimes hard for students to understand.  This lesson will focus on the digraph /sh/.  The students will learn recognize this digraph in both the written and spoken word.

primary paper and pencils
poster containing the tongue twister “Shhh... Shelly stop shouting in the shower”
Letter boxes and letters for each child in the classroom
            -letters: s,h,i,p,c,a,w,e,o,g
drawing paper
Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowly

1. Introduce the lesson by saying that writing is like a secret code. "The hard part is understanding what each letter stands for, but we can figure this out by seeing what moves our mouth makes when we make certain sounds.  Today we are going to work on /sh/.  I bet many of you have heard that sound before.  If not then you will be sure to know it by the end of today!"

2.  I will begin by saying: "Has your mom or dad ever said shhhh when they were trying to get to quiet down or maybe go to sleep?  Well, that is the mouth movement we are looking for today.  Let’s try it together and really stretch it out.  One, two, three, shhhhhhhhhh.  Good job!"

3. Have students think of words that have a /sh/ in them. Write the words on the words as the students call them out. If students need help, give them "shop" as an example.

4. Discuss the /sh/ phoneme. Have students brainstorm words that have the /sh/ sound in them and write them on the board. Can anyone think of a word that has /sh/ phoneme at the end of a words? (crash).

5. Underline the graphemes in each of the words that create the /sh/ phoneme.

6. Get the poster with the tongue twister " Shhh... Shelly stop shouting in the shower." Say it all together. Have the students emphasize the /sh/ in each word.

7.  (Students are given a piece of primary paper and pencil).  "We can use two letters to make the /sh/ sound.  The first one is /s/.  It looks like a snake.  You start at the top of the fence and curve down to the middle bar or the fence and then curve all the way back around to reach the bottom of the fence.  Everybody try to write a couple.  Now let’s practice the other letter /h/.  You start at the top and make a straight line all the way to the bottom.  Then you go to the middle of the fence and make a little hump, like this.  (teacher demonstrates all letter writing).  We must put these two letters together to make the /sh/ sound.  Let’s practice writing them together.  Do one line of them and then raise your hand so that I can see."

8.  Students will hold one finger over their lips if the word has /sh/ in it.  If the word does not have /sh/ in it then the students will make no movement.  "I am going to say some words, let’s see if you can tell which ones have /sh/ in them.  Look at my mouth movements to help you decide.  Do you hear /sh/ in fish or lip?  shoe or coat?  shirt or pants? hush or fuss? blush or comb?  Good work!"

9.  Read Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowly.  Read it one time without stopping.  While reading it the second time through have the students raise their hand when they hear the sound /sh/. List the words on the board. After finishing the story, have the students pick a word containing the sound and draw a picture of it. These pictures will be posted so that the students can admire their work. 

I will observe the students throughout the lesson. I will question the children theoughout the lesson. I will also check the students artwork and make sure that they drew a picture that is a word that contains /sh/. I will also collect the practice of /sh/ and check to make sure that the students know how to correctly write the letters. I will make a checklist to assess the children.


Cowly, Joy.  Mrs. Wishy Washy.
Reading Genie Website
www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insights/ddavisbr.html      Shhhhh·She Is Sleeping
http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/begin/gainorbr.html     Shhhh! Don’t Wake Mama

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