I Shriek as I Shrivel and Shrink

I Shriek as I Shrivel and Shrink
Target text


Read, write, and identify words beginning with the /shr/ blend.

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • shrink
  • shred
  • shrill
  • shriek
  • shrivel
  • shrug


  • Foods or objects that are shriveled up (e.g., raisins, prunes, or any dried fruit)
  • Glass/bowl of water
  • Dissolvable packing peanuts
  • Blank note cards and markers
  • Magnifying glass(es)
  • /shr/ word cards
  • Balloons and permanent marker
  • Word blending cards 
  • Shrink, Shrivel, and Shriek text 
  • Sentence frames 

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children they will watch things shrink and shrivel while they read and write words that begin with the /shr/ blend.

Literacy Activities
Pretend to shrivel and shrink

  • Demonstrate shrinking and shriveling with your body by crunching down and pulling your limbs toward your center.
  • Explain to the children that the meaning of shrink and shrivel is to get smaller.
  • Let the children pretend to shrink and shrivel.
  • Pretend to give a shrill shriek when you realize all the children are shrunken and shriveled.
  • Ask the children to not be shriveled or shrunken.
  • Give a shrug. Explain that you didn’t need to shriek because the children didn’t really shrink and weren’t shriveled.
  • Explain that when you shrug (raise and drop shoulders) you indicate that things are okay and you’re not worried anymore.

Shrivel and un-shrivel objects

  • Give dissolvable packing peanuts to each child to place in the water and watch the packing peanuts shrivel and shrink as they dissolve.
  • Emphasize the /shr/ as you make comments about the shrinking and shriveling peanuts.
  • Bring in objects that have been left out in the sun and have shriveled up: raisins or other dried fruit, jerky, etc.
  • Gather your class around a glass or bowl of hot water.
  • Place raisins in water and let them soak in the water so they will no longer be shriveled.

Act out /shr/ words

  • Let a child choose a /shr/ word card.
  • Have the children sit in a circle.
  • Invite individuals to come to the center to write /shr/ action words (shrink, shriek, shred) on each blank note card (can repeat words on different cards).
  • Read the words together.
  • Lay the cards face down and let each child, one at a time, choose a card.
  • Have them read the word they chose aloud and act out the /shr/ word.
  • Each time the word shrink is chosen, have the child shrink their body by bringing in their arms/legs close together.
  • Each time the word shred is chosen, the child will shred the word.
  • Continue the actions with all /shr/ words until each child has had a turn.
  • Let the children explore a way to shrink words.
  • Model how we can look through a magnifying glass at a word and make it shrink by moving the magnifying glass closer to the word.
  • Interactively write words that begin with /shr/ in a list for all to see.
  • Have the children choose words from the list to write on their own paper.
  • Allow the children time to explore making the words appear as they are shrinking or growing, by moving the magnifying glass closer or farther away from the words.

Shrinking Words

  • Blow up a balloon and hold the end (don’t tie it off).
  • Let the children take turns writing /shr/ words on the balloon with a permanent marker (or telling you which words to write).
  • Tell them that when the group has read every word on the balloon, you will show them how you can ‘magically’ shrink the words. Once the children have read all the words, let the air out of the balloon.
  • Allow the children to use magnifying glasses to read the words on the ‘shrunken’ balloon.

More Practice
Identify, blend and manipulate sounds

  • With word blending cards, have the children make new words by changing the vowel or either of the consonants:
  • shrinkàshrank; shrunkàshrunken; shredàshrug; shrillàshriek

Read target words in texts 

  • Engage the children in reading the text Shrink, Shrivel, and Shriek together as a class/group.
  • Read the text again, fading support.
  • Ask the children to listen for /shr/ words as you read the text together.
  • Have the children make a list of the /shr/ words that they heard.

Write about the activity

  • Give each child a whiteboard and have them write words from dictation, changing one or two letters each time to make a new word: shrank, shrink, shrunk, shrill, shriek, shrivel, shred, shrug, shrunken.
  • Engage the children in generating sentences about their experience using the target /shr/ words or let the children fill in target words in sentence frames.
  • Interactively write a text or poem with the children using words that begin with /shr/.
    • Determine a context (setting) where many of the /shr/ words referred to in this lesson might be used.
  • List the /shr/ words that could fit the setting on a whiteboard.
  • Provide chart paper (to be hung where it can be read later during a ‘read the room’ activity) for the interactive writing activity.
  • Support the children in creating beginning, middle, and end sentences using words from the list.
  • Decide together if other sentences could/should be inserted between the beginning, middle and end sentences.
Read More

SEEL Target Texts

Shrink, Shrivel, and Shriek

Shrivel and shrink.
Shrink and shrivel.
Oh, No!
I give a shrill shriek!
I see kids shrinking and shriveling away!
Oh, it is okay.
I give a shrug.
They are not really shrinking and shriveling.
They are just pretending.
Read More



SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.