“Chug Chug Chug goes the Train”

Anna Palmer
Beginning Reading

Rationale:  When children are learning to read, it is important for them to place sounds with the correct letter.  Some sounds contain more than one letter.  When two letters are placed together to make a sound it is called a digraph.  This lesson will teach the digraph ch.  It will teach how it is spelled and how it is used in different words.

Materials:  Elkonin boxes, letter manipulatives (a,c(2),e,h,m,r,t,u,x,ch(2), book “Chip Gets a Dog” published by Steck Vaughn Company for each child, worksheet with pictures including some pictures, such as chair, cheese, chew,etc, that have the /ch/ sound.


1)  I want everyone to pretend that they are a train with a really heavy load trying to go up a hill.  What is the sound it makes?  Chug, Chug,Chug, Great!  Does everyone hear the ch-ch-ch?  We are going to focus on that sound today.

2) If you know what letters make up the /ch/ sound raise your hand.  Great, you are exactly right c & h.  Is there /ch/ in chain? Yes.  How about car? No.

3) We are going to practice the /ch/ sound.  Repeat these words back to me.  Church (repeat), chew (repeat), chore (repeat), ranch (repeat).  Do you hear /ch/ in corn or charm? Hatch or hat? Great!  Everyone is “catching” on nicely!

4) We are going to practice spelling words by sounding out the words and placing each individual sound in their own box.  On the board I will draw some boxes and we are going to put each sound of a single word in them.  Example: Teacher will model by spelling church in three boxes.  Children will then spell chex in three boxes, charm in three boxes, chug on three boxes, match in three boxes.

5) Children will be asked randomly to read aloud individually from their books “Chip Gets a Dog.”  Every time they hear the /ch/ sound they will snap their finger once.

6) After they have identified all the /ch/ sound words, we will write them down on the board.  We will practice saying them and making sentences from them.

7) I will assess the students by giving them a worksheet.  On the sheet will be pictures of recognizable items.  If an item has the /ch/ sound, they write ch beside the picture.


Murray, Bruce A., Lesinak, Theresa, Teaching Reading, The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  Vol. 52, no. 6, Copyrights 1999 International Reading Association 644-650.

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