Fishing for some Shopping!



By: Caroline Trefethen


Rationale: To accomplish students to decode words in reading, students need to learn the components that make up the alphabetic code 䴋 graphemes and their corresponding phonemes. This lesson focuses on grapheme-phonemes correspondence sh = /sh/. This is a diagraph, because two letters come together and make on sound. This lesson will help students recognize and know when they see s and h together it makes the /sh/ sound.


Primary paper and pencil  

Poster with tongue twister: "Shawn wished for a shell to share with Shannon."

Whiteboard and markers

Paper fish cut-outs with one word written on each fish:  sharp, fish, ball, shell, hand, ship, book, sheep, pig, bed, wish, shop, car, dress, hat [one for each child in the classroom]

Bowl to put paper fish in

Elkonin letterboxes [large one for teacher & smaller, individual ones for students]

Letter tiles for teacher and students: a,d,e,f,h,i,m,o,p,r,s,t,u,w

The book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss.

Word page with: shark, sheet, cat, shoe, dog, duck, fish, candle, ball, book, sheep, shell, frog, shirt


1) To introduce the lesson I would start off saying: "We have been practicing each letter has its unique sound, today we are going to be learning how to put letters together to make new sounds!  Have you ever had a teacher or parent ask you to be quiet?  What sound do they usually make to ask you to be quiet?  Shhh‰¥Ïthat's right!  I know you have heard me say Shhh throughout some days! The /sh/ sound is found in many of the words we use all the time.  /sh/ is a very special sound because it is made up of two letters!  Whenever two letters together make one sound, we call it a digraph.  The sh digraph is made up of the letter s followed by the letter h."  [Show students the letters s and h on the board as this is being explained.] 

2) "Now we are going to practice asking each other to be quiet by saying, 'Shhh' Watch me first and then it will be your turn."  [Teacher puts a finger to mouth while modeling for students the /sh/ sound.]  "Now everyone get their fingerr ready‰¥Ï Shhh.  Great job!  Do you feel a little bit of air coming out of your mouth when you make that sound? What are your teeth doing? That's right‰¥Ï they are together! That is the sound that the letters s and h make whenever you see them together. Let's practice that sound one more time.  Ready? [Teacher brings her finger to her mouth to begin the sound]   Shhh.  Very good!"

3) "Now, let's try a fun tongue twister!" [On poster]  Read through the tongue twister once.  "As we read through the tongue twister this time I want you to listen for the /sh/ sound, every time you hear the /sh/ sound, I want you to pretend to be asking someone to be quiet by putting your finger up to your mouth. "Shelly and Shawn went fishing for fish by the seashore."   Have students stretch the /sh/ sound in the words to emphasis it.  "Ssshhhelly and Sssshhhawn went fisshhhing for fisshhh by the seassshhhore." 

4) I would like for you to get your primary paper and pencil.  Now you know how to identify sh=/sh/ by hearing the sound of /sh/.  Let's write it out so that you can identify it on paper. [Teacher model on the board] "First start your pencil at the rooftop. Then make a slight curve and cross at the fence and make one slight curve to the left and end at the sidewalk." Then the teacher tells the student to practice on their primary paper.

5)  "Next we are going to play a fishing game!"  Bring out the fish bowl with paper fish inside.  Demonstrate for students what they are going to be doing. Reach into the fish bowl and pick a fish.  "Everybody is going to get to catch a fishhh from our fishhh bowl.  There is a word written on each of the fish.  [Show word on fish teacher has selected]  Some of the words have the /sh/ sound in them and some do not.  [Ask students if the teacher selected a fish that has the /sh/ sound or not.]  When you get your fishhh read the word on it silently to yourself to determine if it has the /sh/ sound in it. Now, if the word on your fishhh does have the /sh/ sound in it, I want you to raise your hand. If it does not have the /sh/ sound I want you to make a fish face with your mouth." 

5) [Pass out boxes and letters to each student.]  "Now we are going to spell some words that have the /sh/ sound in them.  I am going to do one first for you to see.  I am going to spell shop.  I will stretch it out /sh/ /o/ /p/.  You hear the /sh/ sound?  I know that two letters make that /sh/ sound.  Will I put that in one box or two?  That's right, one, since it together makes only one sound!"  Finish spelling the word.  Give students the remaining words to spell one at a time: [2: ash  3: shut, mesh, sad  4: fish, swish, shred]  Guide them through the first few as to how many boxes to use, but then allow them to do it on their own.  Be sure to encourage students to read the words after they have spelled them.  Teacher can be assessing through observation during this.

6) Now I am going to read the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss.  I would like for you to get your primary paper and pencil.  Now you know how to identify sh=/sh/ by hearing the sound of /sh/.  .

7) Assessment:  Give each student a word page with some words that do contain the sh digraph and some that do not.  Have students circle the words that have the /sh/ sound in them.


Borders, Emily.  Shake with A

Williams, Amy. Choo Choo! All Aboard!

"How to Print Letters", The Reading Genie website,

 Dr. Seuss. (1960). One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

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