Rainy “Shh”


Beginning Reading
Allison Boutwell

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the digraph correspondence sh = /sh/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson, children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling “sh.” They will learn a meaningful representation (rain) they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence sh = /sh/.  


- Graphic image of rain

- Cover-up critter

- White-board/Smart-board Elkonin boxes for modeling

- Individual Elkonin letterboxes for each student

- Letter manipulatives for each student: a, e, e, i, o, o, u, s, h, l, l, r, k, p, c, p, and d

- Magnetic/Smart-board letters for the teacher


1. Say: Our written language is like a secret code. To become expert readers, we need to figure out how this code works to pronounce words. Today we're going to work on spotting the “letter team,” or digraph, /sh/. The two letters s and h work together as a team to make the /sh/ sound. [Write the letters on the board.] When I hear the /sh/ sound, I think of rain falling outside. [Run fingers up and down like it’s raining and say “shh, shh.”] 

2. Before we spell some words with /sh/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I say the /sh/ sound in words, my teeth are together and there is air coming out of my mouth. [Make vocal gesture for /sh/.] I hear the /sh/ sound in the word shook. Now, I’m going to see if it’s in hook. Hmm, I didn’t hear the sound of rain and my teeth weren’t together when I said that word. Now, let’s see if you can do it. If you hear the /sh/ sound, run your fingers up and down like rain. Is it in: fish, sip, shore, door, shower, flower, shake?  

3. Say: What if I want to spell the word dish? “The dog ate all the food in his dish.” Dish means bowl in this sentence. To spell dish in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /d/ /i/ /sh/. I need three boxes. I heard the /sh/ sound at the end of the word, so I am going to put an s and an h in the 3rd box. The word starts with /d/, that’s easy; I need a d. Now, I need to figure out what letter comes next. I’ll say it slowly, /d/ /i/ /sh/. I heard /i/ after the d so I am going to put an i in the 2nd box. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /d/ /i/ /sh/.]

4. Say: Now, I’ll show you how to read a tough word. [Display poster with shower on the top and model reading the word.] I’m going to start with ow; that part says /ow/. Now, I’m going to add the beginning letters: sh-ow, /show/. Now, I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /show-er/. Oh, shower, like “The grass was wet after the rain shower.”

5. Say: Now, I am going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll begin with two boxes for she. We say “she” when we are talking about a girl, “She went to school.” While you’re spelling, I am going to walk around the room and see how you’re doing. [Observe process.] You’ll need three letterboxes for the next word. Make sure you listen for the first sound to put in the first box. Then, listen for the /sh/ sound at the end of the word. Here’s the word: wash, “I wash the dishes after dinner.” [Allow the students to spell the remaining words, giving sentences for each word: shell, shark, sheep, cash, and push.]

6. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words that you’ve spelled. [Show the words shell, shark, sheep, cash, push, the extra words shook and sharp, and the pseudoword dush. Have the students read the words together. Then, call on individual students to read a word until all of the students have had a turn.]

7. Say: You have all done a great job reading words with our new spelling for /sh/. Next, we are going to read a book called A Crash in the Shed. This is a story about two friends that have a fun day of fishing planned. When they are getting their things out of the shed, there is a crash! Something happens in the shed! Let’s pair up and take turns reading A Crash in the Shed to find out what happens. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages while the teacher walks around the room, monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads A Crash in the Shed chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]

Assessment: Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about sh = /sh/, I want you to finish this worksheet. On this worksheet, we have some pictures of things that start with sh and some that end with sh. Your job is to look in the picture, decide whether the word starts with the sh sound or ends with the sh sound. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]


Johnson, Ally. Shiny Sheep Shouting on the Shore. The Reading Genie:


Murray, Geri. (2006) A Crash in the Shed. The Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Assessment Worksheet:


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