Henry Hhhhhowls

Emergent Literacy

Sara K. Smelley


 Children must be able to identify letters and the phonemes they represent.  This lesson will teach students to recognize the letter h in print and the phoneme /h/ in spoken words. This goal will be met by having children learn a meaningful representation, gesture, letter symbol.  They will also listen for the phoneme in spoken words.


        -hand, mitten, house, shirt, horse, apple, pencil

        -book, horn, dog, hat, car, ham, bat, kite, hammer


1.)  Introduce the lesson by asking everyone to put their hand in front of their mouth and make a sound that you would make if you were out of breath.  /h/ Do you feel the air blowing on your hand? Now, put your hand on your jaw and make the /h/ sound again.  Do you feel your jaw move down when you make the sound?

2.)  Tell everyone that the language is like a secret code- the letters are not only written, but they are also spoken.  Tell them that the /h/ sound they just made represents the letter h.  “Now let’s practice making the /h/ sound again.  Great!  I can see everyone blowing air when they make the /h/ sound!”           

3.)  Display tongue twister chart.  Say, “Harry had a horrible headache and hated to hear Henry howl.”  Now everyone say it.  “Great!  This time we are going to stretch out the /h/ sound in the words.  Let’s say it together:  Hhhhhhharry hhhhhhad a hhhhhhorrible hhhhhhheadache and hhhhhated to hhhhhhear Hhhhhhenry hhhhhowl.  Now we are going to say it again and since /h/ makes the ‘out of breath sound,’ this time I want you all to move your arms like you’re running.”   

4.)  Now hold up pictures (some with the /h/ sound, some without).  When you hold up pictures, ask students to say what it is and then say if they hear /h/.  “You all did a fantastic job sounding out the words!”

5.)  Now ask the students to tell you which word they hear the /h/ sound in.  Hat or sat?  Said or head?  Hop or bop?  Home or comb?  Sky or high?    

6.)  Have the students practice writing the letter that makes the sound /h/ (on primary paper).  Model it for them.  “This is how you write it.  For an upper-case letter, start at the rooftop and draw a line to the sidewalk (making a wall).  Then, make another wall and cross at the fence.  For a lower-case letter, start at the rooftop, come down to the sidewalk, and hump over at the fence.”

7.)  Read a book containing lots of h ‘s.  For example, A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.  Brief booktalk:  This hermit crab realizes that he has outgrown his shell, so he is now on an adventure to find a shell that fits him just right.  Now, let’s read the rest of the book to see if he fits the “perfect” shell.  While reading, get the students to make the “running movements” when they hear /h/.   

8.)  For assessment, give the children a worksheet that has various pictures on it.  Some of the objects should contain /h/ and some should not.  Have the students circle the pictures that contain /h/. 


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