Shelly the Shell says Shhhhhhh!

 Lauren Barrowclough

 Emergent Literacy

Rationale: For children to become fluent readers, they must begin with an understanding that letters represent phonemes, which are the vocal gestures they hear. Students must also understand that vocal gestures are represented by graphemes, which are the letters that are seen. These phonemes can be represented by one single letter or a combination of letters. It does not matter if they are made up of one or more letters, the phonemes make up one single sound. When a combination of letters makes up a sound, we call this a digraph. The goal for this lesson is to help students understand that digraphs are made up of more than one letter but only produce one vocal gesture. The digraph taught in this lesson is /sh/.

 Materials: Poster with tongue twister: Shelly loves to shop for shells and fish when she’s at the ship, Picture with finger over mouth, Letters with /sh/ on sentence strip, One Fish, Two Fish, Red, Fish, Blue Fish by Dr.Seuss


1)      “Today class we are going to learn what two letters makes the /sh/ sound.  How many of you have heard some tell you to sh?  Well that sh sound is very important because it is made up of two letters.  When we put S and H next to each other they make the /sh/ sound.  The /sh/ sound is found in words that you hear every day.”

2)      “Before we go over these words I want to show you a way you can remember the /sh/sound when you hear it and see it.  Just like we someone tells you to sh to be quiet I want you to put one finger over your mouth.  Now I want everyone to do that and say sh. (Picture with finger over mouth)

3)      I have a tongue twister for you to read.  Every time you hear sh, I want you to put your finger over your mouth.
“Shelly loves to shop for shells and fish while on the ship.”“Great job!”

 4) "Now I will show you the sentence I have written and when I point to each word that has sh in it, I want you to put your finger over your mouth like we practiced and say sh. Great Job!"

5)"Now let's read the sentence together and each time we hear the /sh/ sound, let's stretch it out, just like this fissssshhhhhhh. Shhhhelly love to shhhhop for shhhhells and fishhhh while on the shhhhip.  Wonderful!!

6) Now I’m going to say some words and you are going to put your finger over your mouth if you hear the /sh/ sound.  “Wish, now put your finger over your mouth when you hear the /sh/ in wish. Do you hear it in dog? Do you hear it in shoe?  Do you hear it in hops?  Do you hear it in wash?”

7)"Now I’m going to read you the book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  This is a great book with lots of words with the /sh/ sound.  Let’s read about these fish and see if you can hear the /sh/ sound.  I want you to put your finger over your mouth each time you hear the /sh/ sound.”

Assessment:  I will have the students spell the first letter(s) in these words: shop, stop, ship, shoes.  I will be able to see if the students are hearing the /sh/ in some of these words.


Auburn University Reading Genie Web site, Beginning Reader Design, Kelly McIntosh, "The Fish said Shh."

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

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