Timmy the Turtle Goes Tick Tock

Erin Cooper
Emergent Literacy Design

Rationale: With beginning readers, it is necessary that they understand that words are made up of phonemes and that the phonemes are represented by the letters in the word. In order to develop phonemic awareness, children must first be able to identify phonemes in spoken words. This lesson will teach students that t=/t/. Students will write upper- and lower-case t’s, identify written words that begin with the /t/ sound, and be able to recognize the /t/ sound in spoken words.


Primary Paper (for each child)
Pencils for each child
Chart with "Timmy the Tiny Turtle heard the tick tock in town"
Large cut-outs of the letter T in upper- and lower-case letters
Some pictures with the /t/ sound and some without the /t/ sound (turtle, apple, tomato, ghost, house, and school)
Drawing paper
Book: "The Teeny Tiny Ghost" by Kay Winters (1997)
Dry erase board and marker(s)


1. "Did you know that every letter makes a sound? Today we are going to be working with the letter t and making the sound /t/. We will learn how to write the t in upper- and lower-case letters. We will also identify the /t/ sound in spoken and written words. After all of this practice, we will look at pictures and point out the pictures that have the /t/ sound. After this lesson and lots of practice, you should be able to make the /t/ sound easily."

2. "Have you ever been in a room and it has been so quiet that you could hear the tick of a clock? What sound does it make? That’s right, it makes the /t/ sound." (Move finger like a pendulum for each /t/ sound)

3. "Let’s try a tongue twister to see if you can make the /t/ sound with me. I am going to say it first and I want you to repeat it after me, ‘Timmy the Tiny Turtle heard the tick tock in town.’  Now I want to stretch out the /t/ sound and move your finger like a pendulum every time you hear the /t/ sound. Tttttimmy the Tttiny Ttturtle heard the tick ttock in ttown."

4. "Ok, boys and girls, I want everyone to take out your paper and a pencil. What letter makes the /t/ sound? Great Job! We can use the letter t to spell /t/. I’m going to show you how to write the capital t first. (Model the capital t) Go down in the middle and cross at the top. Now this is how to make a lower-case t (Model the lower-case t) not as tall as the capital but not very short, cross it at the fence. I am going to walk around and I want to see all of your t’s. After I have checked it and put a sticker on it, I want you to make seven more just like it. Now every time you see the t, you will know the /t/ sound. "

5. "I am going to say some words and I want you to tell me if they make the /t/ sound. As I say the word, move your finger like a pendulum when you hear the /t/ sound."  Words: Timmy, turtle, heard, the, tock, in, hurt. "Great job! Now let’s try these. Do you hear /t/ in cup or top? Upset or happy? Put or up?"

6. Give a brief book talk about the story, The Teeny Tiny Ghost, before reading it to the students. "This book is about a teeny tiny ghost who lives with his two black cats and is going to school to learn how to haunt. However, he is scared of haunting. What do you think will happen at the school and with the other ghosts when Halloween comes along? Let’s read to find out!" Read the story and have the students listen for the /t/ sound and make the gesture when they hear it.  As I read the story, I would like you to raise your hand when you hear the /t/ sound."

7. After reading, the students will write words that make the /t/ sound and draw a picture based on what they heard from the story. After the students have finished their drawings, ask each student to come up and share their picture and what they have written.

8. For assessment, I will have pictures of some things that have the /t/ sound in them and pictures that do not have the /t/ sound in them. I will pass out crayons and have them color in the pictures that have the /t/ sound in them.


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Murray, Bruce. Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes

Barrowclough, Lauren. Shelly the Shell says Shhhhhh!

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