Shiny Sheep Shouting on the Shore

Beginning Reading

Ally Johnson



A single phoneme, which is a vocal gesture in spoken words, can be represented by more than one letter.  It is important for children to begin to recognize these phonemes.  When a phoneme is mapped out by more than one grapheme, it is called a digraph.  A digraph is the combination of two letters that make one sound (there are both vowel and consonant digraphs).  One such example is sh = /sh/ and this lesson will focus on teaching this digraph.  The students will complete a letterbox lesson to meet this goal.



Dry erase board and marker for each student

Index card with sh written on the card for every student

Tongue twister "Shawn found shiny sheep shouting on the shore" written on a sentence strip

Letterboxes with at lease 5 boxes for each student

Lowercase letters for letterboxes for each student

Worksheet with pictures and words to match that make the sh sound for each student

Shaw, Nancy. Sheep in a Jeep.  HMH Books, New York, 1997, 26 pages.



1. Teacher will introduce the lesson by explaining that when certain letters are combined they make a special sound.  Teacher will say: "What happens when people talk during a movie or test when they are not supposed to be talking? That is right, people say Shhh and tell them to stop talking. A lot of the times, people put their fingers over their mouths when they say this sound (model). Can you say sh with me and put your finger over your mouth as we make the noise? (model) Go! Great job! Did you feel your tongue on the roof of your mouth as you were saying sh? Say sh again and see if you feel your tongue on the roof of your mouth."


2. Teacher will say: "This sound sh is special because it is not just one letter. It is a combination of the letter s and h that make the sh sound. The sh sound can be at the beginning and end of words."


3. Teacher will say: "Let's think about some words. Do you think you can spot the sh sound in words? Let's try. Do you hear the sh sound in drink? Nope. Do you hear it in fish? Good. The sh is at the end of the word. Do you hear it in sheep? Great, it is at the beginning of the word."


4. Teacher will say: "Can you say the tongue twister that is written on the sentence strip with me? Shawn found shiny sheep shouting on the shore. Good job! Can everyone write this sentence on their dry erase board? (read the sentence slowly as the students are copying the sentence and put emphasis on the /sh/) Let's read it again. This time when you are reading the tongue twister and hear sh, circle the word. Go!"


5. Teacher will say: "Now we are going to do an activity to see is you can spot the sh in some words. Hold up your index card with sh on it if you hear the sh sound. Ready? Shy, ship, keep, change, fish, sheep, state, shout, shrug, chip, shore." If the students don't understand, go over the words they missed.


6. Teacher will say: "Does everyone remember working with their letterboxes before? We are about to do a little more work with them. Everyone take out their letterboxes and your lowercase letters. We are going to be working with words that have our new diagraph sh. SH is two letters that make up one sound. How many boxes do you think we need for these two letters? One is correct. We are going to do one word as a group and then you will practice with some words on your own. Our group word is shrine. We are going to need four boxes. Lets think about it, ssshhhh, rrrrr, iiiii, nnnnn. It is a long I so what does that mean? Let's see how we did. Our first box is sh, second is r, third i, forth n, and the e is outside the box."


7. Teacher will say: "Here are your words for you lesson."

3 [dish, push, fish]

4 [shaft, clash, flush, shift, swish, blush, shrub]

5 [shrink, shrunk]

Letters: d, i, s, h, f, p, u, a, t, c, l, w, b, r, n, k


8. Teacher will say: "Now I am going to spell the words without my letterboxes. I want you to tell me what I am spelling. For example sh-o-v-e. Shove good. Now lets see if you can do it with a partner.


9. Introduce the book Sheep in a Jeep. Book talk: This book starts with a few sheep in a jeep that will not go up a hill. They all get out and push the jeep. They push and shove try and make the jeep move. The jeep does go, but not where they planned. You will have to read the rest to see what happened.


10. Next the teacher will hand out a worksheet that will be an assessment. Teacher will go over instructions: "This worksheet is a review for the sh diagraph. You are to match the word with the correct picture. An example would be to match the word shirt with a picture of a shirt." There are a list of 8 words and 6 pictures. They will have two leftover words.



Shaw, Nancy. Sheep in a Jeep.  HMH Books, New York, 1997, 26 pages.


Abby Davis, 3rd grade, Yulee Primary School, Yulee, FL, 2008.



Return to the Invitations index.