Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Using Mrs. Wishy-Washy to Teach Digraphs & Vowels

Editor’s Note: These activities were initially published as separate blogs.  Each is still available to be read, the original vowel activity can be found here, and the digraph activity can be found here. During the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we are re-sharing these activities to highlight the free downloadable take-home activities that might benefit your students and parents.

Digraphs Activity 

                                                                                        The inspiration for this first activity came to me from the cover image of Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Wash. From that image and even just saying the name Mrs. Wishy-Washy makes me think of the digraph ‘sh’. I would begin by reading a Mrs. Wishy-Washy book and having students point out all the ‘sh’ words. If your students are anything like mine you probably have a few who mix up the sounds of ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ so I created this sorting center. 


To use this activity, you will need to download the two clothesline sorting mats and the twelve t-shirts cards at the bottom of the page, and print them in your choice of color or black & white. On each t-shirt is a picture which begins with either the ‘sh’ or ‘ch’ sound. Students will sort the twelve cards onto the mats then there is a recording sheet to check for understanding.

In addition to being able to download the activity, I've also included a copy of the student instruction card that I utilize to help keep students on task and to decrease the number of times they interrupt me to ask what to do. Download the activity here


Vowel Activity

                                                                                            This activity idea came to me while I was reading one of the Joy Cowley’s Early Birds books, Wishy-Washy Ice Cream, I thought about the long and short vowels in the title and that my students needed some practice differentiating the two. I made two headers, one that reads long vowels and the other short vowels. Then I created some picture cards that can be printed out, cut apart and sorted as seen on this student instruction card. 


Since I am usually doing guided reading with another group while students are working on word work, I like to include a recording page so I can check for understanding and keep students accountable for their work.

I hope you and your students enjoy this activity and if you don’t have any books from Joy Cowley Early Birds in your classroom, be sure to check them out. I think they’re a must for every classroom!

Want to see more? Check out the series snapshots of Joy Cowley Early Birds and The Joy Cowley Collection to learn more about each series! 


Laureen is a first-grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching kindergarten and grade one for more than twenty years. Laureen loves to make learning fun and you can find her at her blog, Teach With Laughter.