My Tooth is Loose

Chase Holden

Emergent Literacy

Rationale: In order for children to be successful in phonics, reading and spelling, they need to understand phonemes.  Children learn to recognize different phonemes and sounds by matching letters to their vocal gestures in spoken contexts.  In this lesson, children will learn the sound and spelling of the consonant digraph /th/ through an expressive representation and written practice.  They will also be able to practice using and spotting the /th/ sound in both written and spoken language.



Primary Paper for each student

Pencil for each student

Chart paper with tongue twister on it

E-book The Thing on the Path by Geri Murray



1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for –the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /th/.  At first, /th/ might seem hidden in words, but as you get to know it, you’ll be able to spot /th/ in all kinds of words.

2. I will ask students if they have ever heard the /th/ sound in words like thumb and thump.  I will show them how to move their mouths to make the /th/ sound.  I will tell them that when you make this sound your tongue goes between your teeth.  That is how you know when you are making the /th/ sound.  [Remember to peel the tape off every time you hear the /th/ sound.]

3. Now, we will learn a tongue twister to practice using the /th/ sound.  Repeat after me, Thad thought the thick thimble would protect his thumb.  Now say it two more times.  Now we are going to repeat the tongue twister, but this time we are going to stretch out all of the words so we can hear the /th/ sound.  Now we are going to repeat the tongue twister one more time, but this time we will separate the /th/ sound from the rest of the word: “Th/ad th/ought th/e th/ick th/imble would protect his th/umb.”

4. Now I will have the students take out their primary paper and pencils.  We use the letters t and h when we spell the sound /th/.  First, I will show you how to write the letters, and then we will write them together.  “To write a little t, go down from the roof to the sidewalk and cross the fence; to write a little h, start at the rooftop, come down, and hump over.” Now, let’s write them together.

5. Now I am going to show you how to find /th/ in the word tooth.  I am going to stretch tooth out and I want you to listen for the /th/ in this word.  Tt—oooo—th.  There it is.  I heard the /th sound at the end of tooth.  Now you try it.

6. Now, I am going to use a list of words to see if the students can find the /th/ sound.  Do you hear /th/ in east or north? Tooth or dentist? Tongue or mouth? South or down? Thump or jump?

7. “We are now going to read The Thing on the Path” and everytime you hear the /th/ sound, make the tape pulling hand signal.”  After reading, we are going to write down a few of the words from the book that had the /th/ sound and investigate them.  [Let children take turns writing a word down so they are able to get practice writing the letters t and h but also spotting them in written form and hearing them in spoken language.]

8. In order to assess the students I will pass out a page with different pictures on it.  They are to color the pictures that have a th in their names.  After they color each picture they should try to write the names of the objects using invented spelling.


References: Michelle Herring

The Thing on the Path by Geri Murray

The Reading Genie:

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