Emergent Literacy
The Chattering Choo-Choo

Rationale: To use visual and auditory respresentations to teach the digraph /ph/

Grade Level: Primary Grade 1

Materials: Pencil, Primary paper, the book, The Little Engine that Could, a half poster size picture of a train engine taped to the wall, and pictures of a witch, chair, chattering person, and a watch taped in a vertical line on the board, a small copy of the engine for use at the individual student’s desks, and a story of the student’s choice that is readable and decodable at their reading level.

1.  Did you know that Choo-Choo trains can help you learn to read?  How many of you have been on a choo-choo train?  (Teacher entertains comments and stories from the students one at a time).  Let’s together say what a choo-choo train says. Listen to me first  (teacher models the sound and prompts students to join in).   Great job!

2. Today we are going to learn about the /ch/ sound.  The letters c and h together make the sound, “/ch/” (teacher writes the letters on the board).  We are going to learn how to say the sound /ch/, how to read it, and how to write it together.

3.  If a chattering choo-choo says, “ch-ch-ch-ch”, how does it make that sound?  It makes the sound by putting its teeth together and using the tongue at the roof of its mouth like this (teacher demonstrates).  Now your turn…
 Now stick your finger in your mouth.  Let’s try and make the sound together.  It doesn’t work.
 When we make the /ch/ sound, in words, it looks like this (teacher points to the already modeled ch written on the board).  Let’s try and write this together three times on a sheet of paper.

4. Now I want you to look at the board.  I am going to write four words on the board with the /ch/ sound in them (teacher has already placed pictures of the word in a verticle line on the board and writes the words next to them:

Teacher writes:


 As the teacher writes each word, he/she models the word, emphasizing the sound /ch/ and asks for a response from the students after each word.  Also point out that the /ch/ sound can come at the beginning of the word, the middle, or at the end of the word.

5. Write the sentence, “The chattering choo-choo talks to the watchful engineer as he climbs the mountain.”  Ask the students to help you circle the /ch/ sound in the sentence by asking if there is a /ch/ sound in this word and if it is at the beginning, middle or end of the sentence.  Watch for students not responding or responding incorrectly.

6. Read The Little Engine that Could together.  Go back and build a word wall with the students on the board with all the /ch/ words in it.  The word wall should be built on a picture of an engine.

7. Students will build a word wall of their own at their desk on a story of their choice.  They must circle the /ch/ sound in words they pick out of their stories for the word wall.  Teacher walks around as students work on their word walls to see if they are doing it correctly.

8. Let’s see what you remember…
 What does a choo-choo say?
 What sound that the choo-choo makes have we been talking about today?
Can this sound be found in the beginning of a word? The middle of a word?  The end of a word?

 Today we learned to make, read, and write the /ch/ sound.  Just like the choo-choo you will have to know how to make this sound in order to read.  You need to be able to see that when these two letters are together it makes the /ch/ sound and that this sound can come at any part of a word.

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