Ten Turtles Tapping in Time!

Steven Webb

Emerging Literacy


Rationale: Letter recognition is one of the two best predictors of beginning reading success.  It is very important for children to learn to recognize letters in print and to associate them with their corresponding sounds. In this lesson, children will be introduced to the phoneme /t/. They will be able to say /t/, recognize the letter t and write upper and lower case t.


Materials Needed:

A drawing of a turtle, with an emphasis on the tail, making a tapping motion.

Pencils, enough for the class

Sheets of paper

A Marker board


 Turtle Time by Sandol Stoddard


Introduce the lesson by asking what the children see in the picture.  After hearing all the answers, ask what the turtle is doing with its’ tail.  Have the children allude to the fact that the turtle is tapping its’ tail.

 Ask the children what else can tap.

Demonstrate tapping with a pencil on a desk. Ask what that sound is.  Explain that the letter t makes a sound that is similar to the tapping sound of a pencil on a desk.  Demonstrate by saying “T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-ten t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-turtles all t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-tap in t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-time.”  The stuttered /t/ phoneme will allow the students to be able to tap in time to the word.

Say “There are ten turtles tapping their tails in time.” Ask the children to repeat.
Instruct the children to tap on their desks with a pencil every time they hear the /t/ sound.

 Introduce the book Turtle Time by Sandol Stoddard.  Introduce this book by saying that there are numerous /t/ phonemes throughout the course of the book.  Every time that a student hears the /t/, they should tap on their desk.


Assessment: Give the students a worksheet with as many pictures that can fit on there.  Most should be random pictures that the name of the picture should not have the /t/ phoneme anywhere inside of it.  There should be around five pictures with the /t/ phoneme inside of the word for the students to recognize.  Some such pictures could include a turtle, telephone, tiger, computer, or an exit sign. Make sure that the students will know what all the pictures all.   Review over the pictures if needed.



Bruce Murray, The Reading Genie

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