Sheep on a Ship

Emergent Literacy

Kendra Haywood


Rationale: To learn how to read and write, children must be able to comprehend that letters stand for different phonemes and that some of the same letters don't have the same phoneme meanings.  Teaching phonics includes incorporating decoding, encoding, and spelling all in one subject.  Children must be able to detect phonemes in spoken words before they are able to match the equivalent letters to their phonemes.  Being knowledgeable about simple diagraphs is one of the important fundamentals for learning spoken words.  Diagraphs are "voiceless" groupings of two consonants.  Some students get confused and don't understand why some 2 letters combined make one sound.  This lesson will help students to identify sh=/sh/.  They will be able to recognize /sh/ in spoken words by learning a corresponding hand gesture that goes along with the phoneme and also a picture that represents the phoneme.  The students will also be able to practice finding /sh/ in different words and pictures. 


Materials: Primary paper, pencil, poster board with "Shelly sheered the sheep's shaggy wool shawl on the ship."; drawing paper and crayons; Book: Sheep on a Ship By: N. Shaw. Pictures of words (sheep, dog, cake, sail, trash, seal, splash, drum, shape, dish)


Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that we are going to learn about the diagraph, /sh/.  Explain that some letters like to stick together as friends and the friend's s and h stick together and make one sound /sh/.  Today, we're going to work on the sound /sh/.  After we learn how to say the /sh/ sound, we will then learn how to pick out written words with the /sh/ sound.  At first, it may be hard to spot the /sh/ letters together, but once you practice, you'll be able to find and pronounce /sh/ in every word!


2. Have you ever heard anyone tell you to be quiet by making the noise /sh/?  That's the noise we will make today as we learn about the letter friends s and h.  Let's pretend we are trying to read and we need everyone to be quiet.  Will you help me tell everyone to be quiet? Say /sh/ while putting your finger over your lips like this (model how to put your finger over your lips and saying /sh/ at the same time).  I don't think anyone heard us‰¥Ïeveryone is still so loud!  Let's try again and tell everybody to be quiet by making the /sh/ sound: /sh/.


3. Now, let's try a tongue twister (on poster). "Shelly sheered the sheep's shaggy wool shawl on the ship."  Now let's say it again three more times.  Those letter friends are kind of tricky, but you'll get it! Now let's say it again, but this time let's stretch the /sh/ at the beginning of the words, like this.. "Ssshhhelly ssshheered the shhheep's sshhaggy wool sshhawl on the sshhip."  This time, let's break the /sh/ sound on each word: "/sh/elly /sh/eered the /sh/eep's /sh/aggy wool /sh/awl on the /sh/ip." 


4.  (Have students take out primary paper and pencils). Remember that the letters s and h go together as friends and make the /sh/ sound.  Let's write these letters together.  We're going to first draw the letter s.  We are going to start just below the fence.  Curve up until you hit the fence and then curve back down towards the sidewalk, but when you get to the sidewalk, spring halfway up towards the fence and stop. Now let's draw our h right beside our s.  Let's start at the rooftop and bring your pencil straight down to the sidewalk and make a hump just below the fence and come back to the sidewalk. Good.  We have made our friends s and h.  What kind of sound does sh make? /sh/. That's right.  After I have given you a sticker, I want you to make 6 more letter friends of sh.  Remember when you see s and h together, that's the signal to say /sh/.


5. Let me show you how to find /sh/ in the word rush.  I'm going to stretch rush out in a VERY slow motion and I want you to listen for the /sh/ sound.  When you hear the /sh/ sound in the word rush, I want you to cover your lips with your finger and make the sound with me.  R-r-r-u-u-u-sh-sh-sh.  Good job!  Now I'm going to read a sentence to you. I want you to put your finger to your lips when you hear the /sh/ sound in the words. "Shelly sheered the sheep's shaggy wool shawl on the ship." 


6. Call on students to answer and have them tell me how they know the /sh/ sound in each word.  Do you hear /sh/ in he or she? wish or desk? sheep or peep? check or brush? shake or make? cheese or dish? 


7. I think you are beginning to turn into experts with /sh/.  Show me how good you have gotten at hearing /sh/ by putting your finger over your lips every time you hear /sh/ when I read this book called Sheep on a Ship. In this story, the sheep all fall asleep on the calm green sea, but they are then suddenly awakened as dark clouds form into a storm.  The sheep aren't able to sail their ship anymore because of wind and the rain, so they abandon the ship and go on a raft.  Do the sheep survive the terrible storm in the small raft?  To find out, we'll have to read Sheep on a Ship.  Read the story to them.  Read the story again and have the students put their finger over their lips, like they are making the /sh/ sound, every time they hear words with /sh/.  After reading the story a second time, have the students draw a sheep and write a message using inventive spelling.  Display their work in the classroom.


8. For assessment, I'm going to pass out the random pictures of the different objects.  Some of the pictures have the /sh/ sound in them and some do not.  Have students circle every object that has the /sh/ sound in it. (Pictures include: sheep, dog, cake, sail, trash, seal, splash, drum, shape, and dish).



Consonants, Blends, and Diagraphs.


Jacobs, Ashley. (2007). Shelly Goes to Sherman's Shoe Shop. An  emergent

reading design. Auburn University Reading Genie Website: retrieved February 25, 2008.


Picture of finger over lips. Retrieved February 25, 2008.


Rosko, Natasha. (2007). Shh! I'm Reading. An emergent reading design.  Auburn    

University Reading Genie Website: retrieved February 25, 2008.

Shaw, Nancy. Sheep on a Ship.  Sandpiper Houghton Mifflin. New York: 1989.



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