The Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Emmie Wayland
Beginning Reading

Rationale:  The goal of this lesson is to help children with the consonant digraph ch=/ch/.  By the end of the lesson, students should be able to decode ch=/ch/ and identify it in reading.  They should also know how to write it themselves.

Materials:  Elkonin boxes and letters (enough for each child), copy of music and lyrics to "Chattanooga Choo-Choo", copy of book Pardon Me… Is That the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?, whatever needed to play music on/with (ex: cd player), primary paper and pencils for each student

Procedure:  Today we are going to talk about what the letters "c" and "h" sound like when we put them together.  (Write 'ch' on the board).  Can everyone make the sound ch=/ch/?  Let’s say it together, "/ch/".  (Model elongated sound).  Now I want everyone to take out a sheet of paper and a pencil and we're going to practice writing 'ch' just like I did on the board.  (Model how to write- students imitate for about one line).  When I think of this sound, I think of a choo-choo train.  In order to help us remember this sound, I am going to write it on the board, and we are going to all get up and form a line and walk around the room pretending to be a train, and making the sound a train makes, "chchchch, chchchch, choo-choo…".  (Everyone follow me around the room pretending to be a train.)  Now let's sit down and discuss a silly sentence I made up to help us remember the /ch/ sound.  Repeat after me, 'Charlie chose cheddar cheese chips on the choo-choo.'  (Model and repeat again).  Can you all hear the ch=/ch/ sound at the beginning of those words?  Can anyone think of some more words that begin with the ch=/ch/ sound?  (Wait for students to list at least five words).  Now I want everyone to get out their Elkonin boxes.  We are going to spell some words that contain the ch=/ch/ sound.  When we put the ch=/ch/ sound in our letterboxes, we only use one letterbox because it's just one sound (model putting ch=/ch/ together in one letterbox).  Now we are going to practice spelling some words in our letterboxes.  (Two phoneme word: chew; three phoneme words: chop, rich, teach, cheese; four phoneme words: nacho, perch, bleach, cheetah; five phoneme word: chunky.)  Now that we have spelled some ch=/ch/ words, I am going to read you a book entitled Pardon Me… Is That the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?  I want everyone to listen for the ch=/ch/ sound.  Let's practice it once more before we begin our book.  (Model and practice ch=/ch/.)

Conclusion:  We will listen to Glenn Miller's song, "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and sing along at the /ch/ parts like "choo-choo".

References: The Reading Genie website
           B. Murray and T. Lesniak.  "The Letterbox Lesson."  "The Reading Teacher" Vol. 52 #6.  March 1999.
           Eady, Ellen and Guhne, Kelly.  Pardon Me… Is That the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?
  lyrics to Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo-Choo"

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