Choo-Choo! I Think I Can!
Lauren Elliott

Rationale: This lesson is designed to help students recognize digraphs. Digraphs consist of two letters that make one sound. We will be taking a close look at the digraph ch=/ch/.  It is important for students to understand that a phoneme can be represented by more than one letter when learning to read and write. In this lesson, students will practice recognizing, spelling, and reading words with the /ch/ sound. They will review sounds c=/c/ and h=/h/ and understand that together, these letters make the /ch/ sound.



- Poster with tongue twister, “Champ checked the lunch chart for a cheddar chicken sandwich.”

 -Elkonin letterboxes and letters for each student (c,h,a,n,r,l,i,e,t,k,c,u,m,p)

- list of words (champ, chin, check, catch, rich, match, chant, lunch, chick, punch)

- Individual copies of decodable text book: Chip the Chimp

- letterboxes and letters (c,h,a,n,r,l,i,e,t,k,c) for the teacher.


-dry erase markers





1. Review letters c and h individually, and then discuss the /ch/ sound when they are put together. “We have learned a lot about each letter of our alphabet so far and the sounds that each letter makes. I bet I could point to any letter and you could tell me a sound that it makes.” (Write the letter c and call on student to give the /c/ sound then do the same for h.) “Great job! Now we are going to look at the sound that two letters make when they are put together. Did you know that two letters put together can make one sound instead of their individual sounds?! Let’s look at the letters we just talked about, c and h and see what sound we make when we put these letters together!”

2. “The letters c and h make the /ch/ sound. Have you ever heard a choo-choo train before? Think of a train and listen for the /ch/ sound when you say “chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo!!” Turn to the person next to you and make the sound of a train and watch the movements their mouths make when they make the /ch/ sound.” 

3. “Now I am going to write some words with the /ch/ sound on the overhead. (Write words one at a time and underline the /ch/ part.)  “I want you to repeat the words after me.” (stress the /ch/ sound in each word.) 

4. “Now let’s try a tongue twister! Say, “Champ checked the lunch chart for a cheddar chicken sandwich.” (Repeat three times)“Good! Now I want you to copy the sentence down on your paper and underline the parts where you hear /ch/. I am going to walk around the room and ch-ch-check for /ch/.”

5. LBL- Pass out individual letters and letterboxes is plastic baggies to each student. Model lesson on overhear projector. “Let’s practice making words with the /ch/ sound. Everyone take out your letters and letter boxes and open the boxes up to three squares. First we will practice reading a word together, and then you will try some words on your own. Remember that when we read a word, we read from left to right. (Show students how to make a capital l using their thumb and index finger to help them remember which direction to read then demonstrate reading a word from left to right) “I am going to make the word chop. Notice that I have three boxes here. Looking at my letters in front of me, I am going to begin with the first box that is all the way to the left and I am going to try to figure out the first sound in the word chop. Ch-o-p…(stress sounds) I hear the /ch/ sound first, so I am going to place the letters c and h in the first box. The next sound I hear is /o/. Hmmm….the letter o makes the /o/ sound, so I am going to put an o in the middle box. Can you help me pick out the letter that goes in the last box?          Ch-o-p…  That’s right! The letter p goes in the last box. Very good, we just made the word, chop! Now it is your turn to try some!”

6. Allow time for students to complete activity. 3:[check, chat, rich] 4:[catch, lunch, champ] 5:[crunch] After students practice individually, call on students to put words up on the overhead and discuss the /ch/ sound in each word. 

7. Read book. I will print out copies of the book for each student to read and mark on of “Chip the Chimp.” Students will read with a partner as I walk around the room and listen. They will read through it once for meaning then they will go back through and underline the /ch/ sound in each word. I will assess their knowledge of the /ch/ digraph by listening to then read aloud with their partner. I will know that every child read every word by checking to see that every /ch/ sound is underlined.

8. Extra Assessment: I will hand out a worksheet with pictures of a chair, chimpanzee, lunch box, cat, pitcher, snake, money, and a baseball with stitches on it and I will have students circle each word that contains the /ch/ sound. I will listen to students say the words individually as I walk around the room, and then we will complete the activity as a whole class.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice-Hall. 1995. pp. 50-70. – "Champions Check for /ch/ by: Nicole Pender   to download decodable text Chip the Chimp.

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