Fish, Fish, Fish

Beginning Reading

Shona Butcher

Rationale:In order for children to learn to read and spell they must understand the different types of phonemes.It is important for them to be able to recognize that certain letter combinations form a single sound.This type of phoneme is called a diagraph.The goal of this lesson is to teach children that a diagraph is a combination of two consonants that form only one sound or vocal gesture.The diagraph that will be taught in this lesson is /sh/.The children will be able to recognize /sh/ in spoken and written words through various activities.

Materials:Primary paper, pencils, chalkboard, chalk, chart with tongue twister “Should Shelly sell her sea shells and fish by the sea shore”, One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish by Dr. Seuss, Elkonian boxes for each student, letters (a, c, d, e, f, h, I, l, o, p, s, and w), worksheet with pictures of words that contain /sh/ and do not contain /sh/ (ship, sand, fish, shirt, dish, dog, brush, bat),


  1. Explain to the class that words are made of letters. Those letters represent a sound and a vocal gesture. Then tell the class that sometimes-certain letters when paired together make a single sound or mouth move. Next tell them that today the two letters we while be talking about are S and H. We will learn the single sound that S and H produce in written and spoken words. Today class we will begin talking to about two letters of the alphabet. S and H. When these two letters are placed beside each other they form only one sound or vocal gesture.
  2. Class, what do we tell someone when they are being too loud? Shhhhh! That’s right. Well it just so happens that when S and H are placed together they make that same sound. Now class lets make the /sh/ sound together. Shhhhh, great job! Now this time class we make the /sh/ sound I want you to put your queit sign over your mouth and feel the air as you say /sh/. 
  3. Let’s try a tongue twister that has a lot of /sh/ words (on chart). Everyone listen to me first and then we will try it together. “Should Shelly sell her sea shells and fish by the sea shore”, now class let’s do it together. “Should Shelly sell her sea shells and fish by the sea shore.” Perfect! Now lets repeat it two more times together. This time let’s stretch out the /sh/ in our tongue twister. “Shhhould Shhhelly sell her sea shhhells and fishhh by the sea shhhore.” Exellcent!
  4. Everyone please take out your letterboxes and letters that I have given you. Now pay attention I am going to show you how to spell fish in your letterboxes. (Draw letterboxes on the board and model how to use letters and letterboxes) Remind the students that each boxes contains a mouth move and /sh/ sound is only one mouth move. I will place the f in the first box, I in the second box, and sh in the last box. Okay class now it's your turn to try and spell some words that contain /sh/. Everyone open up two letterboxes and spell ash. Open three letterboxes, now spell shop, wish, ship, dish. Great Job! Now open four letterboxes, spell crash, fresh, flash. Super! Now that we have spelled the words in the letterboxes let’s see if we can recognize those words with out the letter boxes. (Write the words on the board and point to them having the class as a whole tell you what they are).
  5.  Class now I am going to read you some words. When you hear the /sh/ sound I want you to put your quiet sign over your mouth to represent /sh/. Fish, frog, bush, band, shoe, foot, ship, boat, wish, wind, shut, and close. Very Good!
  6. Have the students work in pairs and read the book One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Each pair of students will have a book. The students will read the book and point out the words that contain the /sh/ sound. After reading the book the students will go back and write down the words that contain the /sh/ sound that they found in the reading. We will come back together as a whole class and write the words that we found in the book with the /sh/ sound and make a word wall to be up in the room. The words will be written on die-cut fish to represent that the words came form the book one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.
  7. Individual assessment will be made by giving each student a worksheet that contains pictures with the /sh/ sound and pictures that so not contain the /sh/ sound. The students will color the picture and write the word under each picture only if it contains the /sh/ sound.


  1. Erwin, Melanne. (2001). Mom Says Shhh! A beginning reading design created by Melanne Erwin. Auburn University Reading Genie Website: retrieved October 19, 2003.
  2. Murry, B. A. & Lesnika, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson. Teaching Reading, 52, 644-650.
  3. Geisel, Theodor Seuss.  One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.  Random House Publishers, 1960.

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