Beginning to Read
Lindsey Odom

As teachers we must teach children how to decode and spell words. A way to show students how to decode and spell words is to use a common correspondence to relate these concepts. This lesson is designed to teach the digraph /sh/.

Elkonin boxes for each child, letter manipulative: sh, g, u, f, i, l, t, r, a, p, and h, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, publisher North-South Books (1992), plastic chips.

1. Introduce lesson by making /sh/ sound by putting your fingers over your lips like you would do if you were quieting the class. This is the sound /s/ and /h/. When you put them together you get the /sh/ sound. Have the class repeat this sound with you.

2. The /sh/ sound can be heard in many words. As a teacher, help the students by modeling one word with them. For example, I hear a /sh/ sound in show. Next show the students how the word "show" is written on the board. Do you hear the /sh/ sound in shirt or skirt? Students will answer. Make sure that each student responds before you move on. Now do you hear the /sh/ sound in shout or sport? Students will answer. Make sure that each student responds before you move on. Finally do you hear /sh/ in shoe or choose? You all did a great job!

3. Pass out Elkonin boxes and letter manipulative to each student. Now lets use our letterbox skills to spell some /sh/ words. Remember that we only put one box and the /sh/ sound is one sound therefore it goes in on box. Now tell children to get out three letterboxes. I will model this first by spelling dish and then I will tell the students that I want them to spell ship. After the class has completed the word I will ask one student to spell ship and show his/her letterboxes to the entire class. Continue this with other words like gush, share, shine, etc.

4. Now we are going to read a book titled The Rainbow Fish. Ask the students what word in the title has the sound /sh/ in it. Follow this by passing out plastic chips to the students. Instruct the students that every time you hear a /sh/ sound in a word I want you to lay one chip down on your desk. Have the students read the story. After the story is finished, go around and count the chips on each student's desk. This will show you if they understand and have phonemic awareness of the /sh/ sound.

5. Now have the students repeat the /sh/ sound with you and as another extra activity have the students write as many words with the sound /sh/ that they can think of. After the students have finished, have them read their /sh/ words to the class.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Merrill, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1995. pg. 86.

Beginning Readers Design. Reading Genie

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