"SHHHH!  I'm trying to read."

Beginning Reading Design

By, Rebecca Creecy  

Rationale:  Recognizing letters is the first step children must master in order to be able to read and spell words.  After conquering letter recognition, the next step is learning phoneme blends and digraphs.  When two or more letters are combined to form one mouth move, it is called a digraph.  This lesson focuses on the digraph /sh/.  The children will learn to read, write, and spell words that contain the digraph /sh/.

(1.)  Chart with "Sherrye shares her ship with Shelly."
(2).  Chart paper with the chant:
Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
Come on boys, tell all the girls
Tell all the girls to stop that noise!
Boys:Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
Everyone: Come on girls, tell all the boys
Tell all the boys to stop that noise!
Girls:Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
Everyone: Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!
(3.) Primary Paper and pencils
(4.) Class set of Elkonin boxes
(5.) Letters: s, h, i, p, e, l, l, f, b, u, o
(6.) One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
(7.) Worksheet: pictures of car, ship, boat, shell, shoe, brush, comb


1.    Introduce the lesson by explaining that we have learned how letters make sounds.  "Well, in some cases two letters joined together can make one sound.  How many of you like to read in a noisy room?  I don't like noise when I'm trying to read.  So, if someone around me is being loud what do you think I say?  (students) Shhhhh!  That's right.  Now, I want 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.  The /sh/ sound is made up of two letters.  Can anyone tell me what they are?  Great, s and h.  When two letters are put together to make one sound, it is called a consonant team.  They are also known as digraphs.  So, /sh/ is a digraph."    

2.    "Okay, now we are going to try a tongue twister. (on chart)  Everyone follow along with me.  Sherrye shares her ship with Shelly.  Now let's say it again, but this time we are going to stretch out the /sh/ sound in each word.  Shhhherrye shhhhares her shhhhip with Shhhhelly.  Great job!"
3.    "Now we are going to read a chant.  The chant is called, "Sh! Sh! Stop that Noise!"  I have labeled the parts of the chant with boys and girls.  So, when we read through it, follow along with your part.  (Read the chant together)  That was wonderful!  Okay, we're going to do it one more time.  But, this time when you hear the /sh/ sound, I want you to put your finger in front of your mouth so I know you know the sound.  You are all doing great!"  

4.    "Everyone take out a piece of paper and a pencil.  We are going to spell some words that have the /sh/ sound in them.  I'll write s and h on the board together to make the /sh/ digraph.  I want everyone to think of two words that have the /sh/ sound in them and write them on your paper.  When you are finished put your finger over you mouth.  Once everyone is done we will share your words with each other."
5.    "You all did a fantastic job of coming up with words that used the /sh/ sound!"  I will then pass out the letterboxes and letters to each of the students.  I will review with them 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.  So, will you put the /sh/ sound in one box or two?  Great, only one box!  Let's try one together."  I would show them how to spell the word shop in their letterboxes.  "We will need three letterboxes.  We will put /sh/ in the first box, since it represents one sound.  Then /o/ will be in the second and /p/ will be in the third."  Then I would give them some more words to practice on their own.  (ship (3): /sh/ /i/ /p/, she (2): /sh/ /E/, shell (3): /sh/ /e/ /ll/, fish (3): /f/ /i/ /sh/, and bush (3): /b/ /u/ /sh/)  I would walk around the room and make sure that everyone is spelling the words correctly.  Once everyone was finished, we would talk about each word together.
6.    "Now we are going to read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by, Dr. Seuss.  This book is about fish that comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes.  We will have to read this book to find out what happens to all of the fish."  I would read the story once.  Then I would reread the story and have each student write down two words that have the /sh/ sound from the story.  Then I would 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.      

7.    Assessment: I would pass out a worksheet with a variety of pictures on it.  Some would have the /sh/ sound and some would not.  I would have the students write the name of the objects underneath the pictures with the /sh/ sound.  Then I would review all of the worksheets to make sure that everyone understands the concept.     


Eldredge, J.L.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  New Jersey.  Prentice Hall,              
    Inc.  1995.  pgs. 104 - 107.

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/inroads/tomlinsonbr.html ("Shh, Shh, Stop that
    noise" by, Lindsey Tomlinson)

Geisel, Theodor Seuss.  One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  Random House
    Publishers, 1960.  

Click here to return to Inspirations.