Learn all about how to teach consonant digraph SH. Below are five best tips for teaching SH so that kids quickly recognize, read, and spell the /sh/ sound in words. Plus, get a FREE Digraph SH poster that kids will love!
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What is a Consonant Digraph?
A consonant digraph is when two consonants come together to create one new sound. Common digraphs are sh, th, ch, wh, ck, and ph.
Teaching Digraph SH
When children can identify single letters and have a solid grasp of most letter sounds, then digraphs are introduced.
Now kids are ready to learn that these digraphs, sometimes referred to as buddy letters, will always represent one sound when they’re next to each other.
This is is an entirely new concept, so it’s important that teachers take the time to explain this concept, providing various examples and lots of practice as outlined below.
The consonant digraph SH is one of the most common digraphs. It is found in many basic words, and one of the first digraphs that is taught.
Once kids understand that the letters s and h come together to represent one new sound, they can begin reading many new words. Words like fish, hush, ship, wish, she, and cash are now decodable!
Digraph SH Word Examples
Below are 1-3 syllable words that include the digraph SH. You can hear the /sh/ sound in each word.
How to Teach Digraph SH
Follow the tips below for practical ways to teach digraph SH.
Start with simple, one-syllable words
Introduce this concept using a word that may be a sight word for many of your students: fish. You can tap it and map it, showing that it only has three sounds but four letters.
Why is this? Because SH is a digraph. This is a great way to teach the academic term digraph. Then, practice reading and spelling one-syllable words with Digraph SH.
Use Elkonian Boxes
Using Elkonin boxes is one of the best ways for kids to visually connect the idea of two letters making one sound. Let’s use the word ‘wish’ to demonstrate.
Repeat this procedure, making sure to clearly model this concept with the digraph SH as the initial sound and SH as the final sound.
SH Emoji 🤫
Linking the sound to a known word or concept is so important to really make it stick. Digraph SH is a favorite for this because the kids LOVE this visual.
Use the emoji that has his finger over his mouth. All kids are familiar with this sign as it represents the ‘be quiet’ or the ‘shhhhh’ sound. The emoji can be used on a sound wall, and kids will always remember it.
I love observing my student as they begin exploring digraph SH in text. I’ll watch them whisper reading their decodable reading passages, and when they come to the digraph SH they’ll put their fingers over their lips to say the sound. That’s when you know your instruction is sticking!
👉 Download the FREE Emjoi Poster at the bottom of this post!
Use a Blending Board
Using a blending board for reading words with digraph SH is great for reinforcing the concept as well.
The SH is included on one sound card, ensuring that the kids recognize the one sound the digraph makes. Make sure to use real and nonsense words!
A hands-on approach to reading and spelling engages multiple senses, which gives children more than one opportunity to connect with concepts and information.
It also deepens learning and helps the brain to make meaningful connections.
If you’d prefer not to buy the pre-made sets, just take a look around your house to find items or visit Dollar Tree.
👉 Ideas include: shell, shaving cream, sharpie, shamrock, shampoo, shoelace, toy ship, shovel, pencil sharpener, shark tooth, brush, leash, toy fish, desktop trashcan, a packet of relish, nail polish.
Use Decodable Texts
Decodable texts require children to apply phonics concepts to connected text. See if kids are able to able to recognize digraphs in words when reading and carrying meaning.
If students are successful, you can move on and teach other digraphs like Digraph CH. If your students are struggling in text, continue practicing digraphs sh using the tips outlined above.
Download & Print
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