Shower the Flowers with Shhh




Emergent Literacy Design

Megan Bowden


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /sh/, the phoneme represented by SH. Students will learn to recognize /sh/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (showering flowers with a water hose) and the digraph letter symbols SH, practice finding /sh/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /sh/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Group Instruction Area Rug, Smart Board Technology, Meaningful Representation of /sh/ on smart board, Primary paper, Pencils for each child, Copy of decodable text A Crash in the Shed by Gerri Murray for each child, Phonetic cue cards labeled: shade, show, shore, shoe, shake, Crayons for each child



1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for – the mouth moves we make when we say words. Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /sh/. We spell /sh/ with the letters s and h. When you hear the /sh/ sound, it might make you think of watering your flowers. (Show the movement and you make the sound)

2. Let's pretend to water the flowers. /sh/ /sh/ /sh/ (show the movement of watering flowers) Notice when you say the /sh/ sound, your teeth are together and you are blowing air through them.

3. Let me show you how find /sh/ in the word fish. I'm going to stretch fish out in super slow motion and listen for my shower. f- ff- i- i- i- ish. Slower: f- ff- i- i- i- sh- sh- sh. There it was! I felt my teeth go together and I blew air. I can feel the showering /sh/ in fish.

4. Let's try a tongue twister (on chart). "Shelly's sheep share shells by the shore." Everybody say it together three times. Now say it again. This time stretch the /sh/ at the beginning of the words. "Sh-sh-sh-elley's sh-sh-sh-eep sh-sh-sh-are sh-sh-sh-ells by the sh-sh-sh-ore." Try it again and this time break it off from the word. "/Sh/ elley's /sh/ eep /sh/ are /sh/ ells by the /sh/ ore."

5. [Have the students take out primary paper and pencil] We use the letters SH to spell /sh/. Let's try writing these letters. To write s, you start at the rooftop and curve down like a winding snake, but once you get the fence you have to curve the snake the other way. I want to see everyone's s. Now to write h, you start at the rooftop and go all the way down to the sidewalk, bounce back up to the fence and then curve down to the sidewalk again. I'm going to walk around and I want to see everybody's h. After I put a smile on both of your letters, I want you to put them together and write then nine more times.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they know: Do you hear the /sh/ in fish or bird? Wish or lie? Shift or straight? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /sh/ in some words. Shower the flowers (have students make the movement) if you hear /sh/: The man's play fish was shaped like a shell and was sitting on the shelf.

7. Say "Let's look at a book called A Crash in the Shed. It has the /sh/ sound in it. Have the book downloaded so that it can be put on the smart board for pointing opportunities. Give a book talk: This book is about Tim and Jan. They want to go fishing, so they go to the shed to get everything that they need, when CRASH, their cat Elf knocks something off the shelf. Will they get it cleaned up and be able to go fishing?

Read the book to the class and have students act like they are showering the flowers every time they hear the /sh/ sound.

8. Show the word SHADE and model how to decide if it is shade or blade. The SH tells me to shower the flowers, /sh/, so this word is sh-sh-sh-ade, shade. Now you try some: SHORE: shore or chore? SHOW: flow or show? SHOE: shoe or toe? SHAKE: shake or bake?

9. For assessment, distribute a worksheet that has pictures of a dog, shell, shoe, car, and ship. Underneath each picture include primary writing lines. Students should write the words and color only the pictures that start with SH. Call students up individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8 to you.



 Byrne, B., & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (1990). Acquiring the alphabetic principle: A case for teaching recognition of phoneme identity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 805-812.

Sewell, Ava. (2012). The Mommies on the bus say Shhh Shhh Shhh!

Decodable Text: Murray, Gerri. A Crash in the Shed. Genie Collection, 2006.


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