Erin Rice
Lesson Design for Emergent Literacy

Chimps Chugging Chocolate Milk

Rationale: In order to understand how to read and spell words, children must understand that letters stand for phonemes.  They must also understand that spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Some phonemes are represented by digraphs, or two letters. Through the learning of a meaningful representation of the digraph /ch/, this lesson is designed for children to recognize /ch/ as a beginning sound in spoken words as well as in written words.


1. Our written language is like a secret code.  You have to understand the sounds that letters stand for in order to crack the code.   Today we are going to work on the sound /ch/.  /Ch/ is spelled with two letters, c and h.  When sounds are spelled with two letters, we call this a digraph, or letter team.  Today we are going to work on recognizing the mouth move /ch/.
2. Have you ever heard the sound that a train makes as it passes by?  It sounds like /ch/, /ch/, /ch/, right?  Pretend like you are hearing a train right now.  What would you hear? /Ch/, /ch/, /ch/.
3. Let’s use this sound in a tongue twister [see chart]. “The chimps chug chocolate milk while sitting in chairs.”  Let’s all say this together two times.  Now let’s make sure we all hear the /ch/ sounds in this sentence.  We’ll say “The /ch/, /ch/, chimps /ch/, /ch/, chug /ch/, /ch/, chocolate milk while sitting in ch, ch, chairs.”
4. Now let’s play a game.  We are going to try to figure out some riddles.  I am going to give you a clue, and the answer will begin with /ch/.

5. [Students take out a sheet of primary paper and a pencil] Now let’s learn how to
write /ch/ down on paper. We saw how it looks on the chart with the tongue twister, but let’s practice writing it.  [Teacher will demonstrate on the board while directing] Start with your pencil just a little bit below the fence, move your pencil up to the fence and back around, touching the ground, and stop your pencil just above the ground.  There is your c.  Now take your pencil to the sky, and move it straight down to the ground.  Go back up to the fence, around, and straight down to the ground.  Now you have your h. These two letters together make /ch/.  Practice writing this combination on your own.  [Allow students to practice several times on their own paper]
6. Read Champs by Gail Blasser Riley.  Talk about the story.  Read Champs again.  This time, have children raise up their train cutouts with ch printed on it when they hear /ch/ throughout the story.
7. Have students brainstorm words that begin with /ch/.  List the words on the poster board/butcher paper.  Discuss answers.
8. For assessment, distribute worksheets with pairs of pictures. Have students circle the picture with /ch/ in it.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New Jersey:
     Prentice Hall. Pg. 63-64.
Riley, Gail Blasser. (1999). Champs. Austin, Texas: Steck-Vaughn Company

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