Shhhhh Shouts the Short Librarian


Sammi Pike


Rationale:  /Sh/ is a very important digraph for students to learn after learning the vowels.  Digraphs are two letters that make a single vocal gesture when they are put together.  It tends to be difficult for students to remember and so it must be taught explicitly.  In this lesson, students will learn the digraph /sh/ by using a hand motion, repeating a tongue tickler, and reading a decodable book.


Materials:  White board, tongue tickler written on the white board, dry erase markers (2 colors), A Crash in the Shed (1 copy for every 2 people), worksheets (1 per student), pencils (1 per student)



1.  “Sometimes when two specific letters are put together they make one sound.  Have you ever heard someone say ‘shhh’ to tell you to be quiet?  I was at the library the other day and the library said ‘shhh’ to me because I was talking too loud.  Does anyone know what letters make that /sh/ sound?”  Tell them if no one does. “When an s has an h after it, it makes the /sh/ sound.”

2.  “Today we are going to practice using the letters s and h to spell and read /sh/.  Every time you hear or see the /sh/ sound I want you to do this.” Put one finger up to your mouth in a quiet position. 

3.  “I am going to show you how I read /sh/ by reading this tongue tickler and then I will let you try.”  Read the tongue tickler slowly off the white board emphasizing the /sh/ sound the first time and making the hand motion.  For the first word say “The first two letters are sh so I know that they make the /sh/ sound.”  “SHelly SHows SHaron the SHip where SHe found the sea SHells and fiSH.”  Have them repeat the tongue tickler with you once or twice.

4.  “Let’s brainstorm some words that have /sh/ in them.  Can anyone raise their hand and tell me one?”  If no one volunteers, give an example such as fish and cash.  Write the words on the board and underline the sh in a different color.  “Can I have 5 volunteers to read a word off of our list on the board?”

5.  “Now we are going to practice reading words with /sh/ in them.  I’m going to put you in pairs and I want you to switch off reading one page at a time to your partner.  You are going to read A Crash in the Shed.  Jan and Tim are going to swim and fish, but they have an accident when they go to get their fishing supplies.  Will they be okay?”  Let them read with their partners. 

6.  Read the book aloud to the class while they follow along.  “When you see a /sh/ I want you to make the hand motion.  When I see you doing that I will know to stop and add that word to our list on the board!”

7.  As an assessment, have students complete the worksheet.  “Under each picture there are 3 words that describe it.  After you read all 3 words I want you to circle the word that has the /sh/ sound in it.”



-A Crash in the Shed:‎

-Ideas for lesson:

-Shhh...Says Sheila the Short Librarian by Leah Impastasto:

-Sshhhh! Shouts the Librarian!! by Margaret Beason:




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