Sh is one of the most common phonetic blends. The best way to teach kids this sound is by making the shushing noise as though you’re trying to get them to be quiet: “Shhhh…..” Then as you’re making the shushing sound, expand it into words:
Here are some additional activities and resources that will help you teach kids about this phonetic blend:
Sh word list
A convenient list of words that have the Sh blend in the beginning, middle, or end. While working with kids, open this list from your phone or tablet computer to use as a reference in group time discussions and word brainstorming activities.
A set of flashcards featuring sh words.
Digital flashcards (A scrolling page of flashcards to open and show from your phone or tablet computer) (coming soon)
Printable SH flashcards
Sh table labels/Classroom posters
Print out these pages to use as table labels or classroom posters. Use scissors to trim away excess if necessary, and then laminate the various labels to your classroom tables or post them on the wall for the week to work on emergent literacy:
Shirt table label
Sh Worksheets & Printables
Shoe Smacking Group Time Game
Have kids sit down in group with some space around each other, and take off one of their shoes. Next, print out the sh word cards provided above, and mix them with other flashcards that don’t begin with sh. Hold up a flashcard in group, and if it starts with sh, have kids respond by smacking the floor with their shoe while saying the name of the word.
Sh Shell Game
Gather 3 large clam-type seashells. Then write 3 words on small pieces of paper–one that starts with the sh blend, the other two that do not. Show kids the word, then place each piece of paper underneath one of the 3 shells. Move and shuffle the shells around, having kids try to keep track of the shell containing the sh word. If they guess correctly, they win!
To prep this activity, get each child a t-shirt–either an old shirt they no longer need or a package of cheap white t-shirts purchased from a discount store. Next you’ll need fabric paint or permanent markers, along with cardboard panels to fit inside the shirt. Finally, write a bunch of words that start with sh onto index cards or pieces of paper and place them at the table.
Make sure kids wear a smock to protect their clothing. Place the cardboard panel inside each shirt so that the ink doesn’t bleed from one side to the other. Then have children pick different words from the word cards to write on their shirt with the markers, putting an exclamation point after each one, as though they were shouting the word.
This activity requires a bit of effort and up-front expanse, but when you’re through you’ll have a finished product with a high educational value. Once dry, have kids wear their shirts around for the rest of the day and take them home. They’ll have fun ‘reading’ each others shirts and responding to the inquiries they receive from others.
Throw the Shoe
Nothing beats letting your kids indulge their rowdier side while learning about phonics. This activity will require teacher monitoring, but will hold the interest of most of the class. Write the blend “Sh” in big letters on 4 or 5 different pieces of paper. Pick an open wall in your classroom to put them on (make sure it’s a wall that won’t be damaged when hit by a thrown shoe). Next post a variety of other pictures mixed in around the letters, such as animals, aliens, or for the most fun, pictures/drawings of the teachers. (They need not be the work of Picasso; labeled stick figures will do.)
Next, place a strip of masking tape 10-15 feet back on the floor. Have children take off their shoes, and make a line behind the tape. One at a time, have them say a word that starts with ‘sh,’ such as shoe, shark, Sharon, etc., then hurl their shoe at the ‘sh’ posters. Some kids will inevitably miss, and that’s where the fun comes in. With portraits of the teachers or other animals on the wall, make a game of it by applauding when they hit the ‘sh’ posters, and making wise cracks or yelling “Ow” when they hit one of the other poster targets (as if they were hitting you with a shoe, the frog with a shoe, etc.) They will get a kick out of this activity; and it will be the only time (hopefully) your children can go home and tell their parents they pegged you with a shoe.