Sh – It’s Time to be Quiet



Beginning Reading

 Jacob Johnson

Rationale:  The students will learn that sh stands for /sh/ in spoken language.  This digraph cannot be decoded by blending the /s/ and /h/ sounds, so /sh/ should be explicitly taught.  This lesson will give the students practice recognizing /sh/ in speech and sh in print.  The students will learn to recognize /sh/ in spoken language by listening to a tongue twister and signaling when they hear /sh/.  They will also practice writing sh.


Materials:  picture page, primary paper, pencils, and Tish the Fish (one copy for every student)


Procedures:  1. Explain that sh is a letter team that makes a different sound than blending /s/ and /h/.  (Write ship on the board).  This doesn’t say s-hip.  We will need to learn what sound the letter team sh makes before we can read this word correctly.


2. Have you ever been talking on the phone or reading and had to tell someone to be quiet?  There is a sound that we make to tell someone to be quiet.  Can anyone think of what that sound is?  Right.  /sh/.  Everyone make that sound with me.


3. We are going to play a game.  I’m going to tell you some things that we do and you tell me if it is a time to be quiet by saying /sh/.  Here is an example.  If I said “go to the library,” would you say /sh/?”


At the football game
Going to sleep
At the fair
Around a sleeping puppy
In a hospital
At P.E.


4. (Students take out primary paper and pencils.)  Does everyone remember how to write the letter s?  How about the letter h?  Everyone write the letter s, then write the letter h right beside the s.  (Check to make sure everyone has done it correctly).  Write sh five more times and put your pencil down when you are done.  Now you know how to write the /sh/ sound.  What are some new words we can write using the /sh/ sound?  Write a few suggestions on the board, get the students to help spell the word, and then have the students write that word on their papers.


5. To find /sh/ in words, say the words very slowly and listen for /sh/.  Let’s try this one.  Fish.  F-f-i-sh-sh. F-i-sh-sh.  There it is at the end.  Does everyone hear /sh/?


6. I am going to say a sentence and everyone put your finger up to your lips when you hear the /sh/ sound.  Shelley likes to fish on Saturdays.  She fishes from the shore.  Sometimes, she sees a ship from the shore.  Good.  (write tongue twister on the board)  Now everyone read the sentence with me and stretch out /sh/.  Ssshhh-elley…


7. We are going to read a book about a mermaid named Tish.  Does anyone think they know what will happen to Tish just by looking at the cover?  We will have to read Tish the Fish and find out.  Students we will read Tish the Fish independently.  We will then talk about the book as a class.


8.  Assessment:  After students are finished reading, they will write two sentences about Tish the Fish in which sh appears at least once.  Pass out the picture page and have the students match the words and pictures by drawing lines to connect them.




Jane Morton.  “Explicit Phonics Lesson for sh.Alabama Leaning Exchange.



Cushman, Sheila. Tish the Fish. Educational Insights.  1990.

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