Choo Choo!!

Michelle Copeland
Beginning Reading

Rationale:  This lesson is intended to help students recognize the digraph /ch/.  Students need to become aware that digraphs are groups of two successive letters whose phonemic value is a single sound.  This lesson also helps students when reading and writing words with /ch/.  This lesson is aimed at helping students better understand the digraph /ch/.  I will teach this correspondence by using a letterbox lesson.

Materials:  Elkonin boxes, letters-(c, h, a, i, u, m, p, w, r, 2-e, 2-l, t), Choo Choo, the Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away, enough boxes, letters, and books for each child, chalkboard

1. Have students think about the sound a train makes and have them say it out loud, “choo, choo”.  Do you hear /ch/ in cheese or three?  “Cheese”! Very good.  The /ch/ sound is made by placing your front part of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.  Then, make air come out and release your tongue.
2. I will now say:  I am going to read a sentence that has the digraph  /ch/ in it more than one time.  Each time you hear a word with the /ch/ sound, say “choo, choo” so I know that you heard it.  Try to keep a count of how many times you say “choo, choo” so we can figure out how many times I said /ch/.  “Charlie chased the cherry red choo-choo which changed chains inChattanooga.”
3.   Ask students what letters they think make the /ch/ sound.  They reply, and then discuss words such as chip, cheese, chocolate, and peach.  Model the sound and give the following explanation.  The /ch/ sound is made when you put the letters c and h together.  The /ch/ sound is found in many words, lets spell some of them.  Write words the class told you on the board.
4.  I am going to show you how to do the letterboxes with an example like one you will do.  I am going to spell chop.  “/Ch/” that is spelled with a c and h.  So, I am going to put those in the first box.  Now, “/o/” that is spelled with an o.  So, I am going to put that in the next box.  Okay, the last sound is /p/ and that is made by the letter p, so I will put it in the last box.  There we go, I have now spelled chop, Let’s see if you can spell some words with /ch/.  Start the letterbox lesson; be sure every child has letterboxes and the necessary letters.  Now say:  First, lets spell chat.  Great, now let’s spell chill.  Okay, let us try the word chip.  Great!  Now spell much.  Good, now let’s spell rich.  Excellent, you can spell the word rich.  Now, let’s try a harder word.  Open up four boxes and try to spell the word champ.
5. Now, write each of the words on the board and have the students read them orally.
6. Now say:  Everyone has just spelled six words that have the /ch/ sound in them.  Now, we are going to read Choo Choo, the Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away by Virginia Lee Burton.  (Booktalk)  This book is about a little engine that decides to be bad and run away from her duties.  Do you think that she will learn a lesson?  While we are reading, listen for the /ch/ sound.
7. Assessment:  Ask the students if they remember any words from the book that made the /ch/ sound.  Write them on the board.  When the list is complete, point to each word and ask the students one at a time to read them back to you.


Eldredge, J.Lloyd (1995).  Teaching Decoding in the Holistic Classroom.  Englewood
           Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, p.67.

Burton, Virginia Lee (1937).  Choo Choo, the Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away.
             Houghton Miflin Co.

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