HA, HA, HA,
by Avery Gwaltney
This lesson will help children
identify /h/, the phoneme represented by H. Students will learn to recognize /h/
in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (laughing) and the
letter symbol H, practice finding /h/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with
/h/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning
*Primary paper and pencil
paper and crayons
“Henry helped Holly hold the hot potato.”
ABC (Random House, 1963)
cards with HOOP, HOT, HEAL, HULA, HOPE, and HEAD
worksheet identifying pictures with /h/ (URL below).
Say: “Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is
learning what letters stand for--the mouth moves we make as we
say words. Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move
/h/. We will spell /h/ with letter H. H looks like a ladder
with one rail, and /h/ sounds like laughing. HAHA.”
Alright, let’s pretend to laugh, /h/, /h/, /h/. [Holding tummy
and laughing] Ask: “Do you notice where your tongue is?”
(Touching back of lower teeth). When we say /h/, we blow air
over our tongue. Try making the /h/ sound with me again.
Let me show you how to find /h/ in the word happy. I’m going to
stretch help out in really slow motion and I want you to listen
for the air coming from my mouth in a /h/ sound. Hh-aa-pp-yy. Slower:
H-h-h-aaa-ppp-y. There it was! I felt air blowing out of my
mouth over my tongue as I made the /h/ sound. I can feel the
laughing /h/ in HAPPY.
try a tongue twister [on chart]. “Henry helped Holly hold the
hot potato.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it
again, and this time, stretch the /h/ at the beginning of the
words. “Hhhenrey hhhelped Hhholly hhhold the hhhot potato.” Try
it again, and this time break it off the word: “/h/ enry /h/
elped /h/ ollyy /h/ old the /h/ ot potato.
[Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter
H to spell /h/. Capital H also looks like a ladder with one
step. Let’s write the lowercase letter h. Start just below the
sidewalk and draw a straight line down to the gutter. Without
moving your pencil, begin drawing a curved line up to the fence
and curve back around down to the sidewalk. I want to see
everybody’s h. When you are done, I will put a sticker on your
page if you drew the letter correctly. Then I would like you to
draw six more lower case h’s.
Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear
/h/ in hay or grass? horse or bunny? hungry or tired? holiday or
season ? happy or sad? Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth
move /h/ in some words. Laugh if you hear /h/ in the following
words: hug, dance, swing, honey, jump, fast, slow, hooray, pink,
“Let’s look at a book. Dr. Seuss tells us about a funny
creature who does not like green eggs and ham.” As I read, I
want you to laugh out loud if you hear the /h/ sound. Ask the
children to make up funny words, emphasizing the letter h. Then
have each student write out their funny /h/ word and draw a
picture to illustrate their word.
Show HOOP and model how to decide if it is HOOP or
LOOP: The H tells me to laugh, /h/, so this word is
hhh-oo-p, hoop. You try some: HOT: hot or cat? HEAL: heal or
feet? HULA: hula or jump? HOPE: hope or joke? HEAD: head or
For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to
complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin
with H. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue
words from step #8.
Bruce Murray. Emergent
Literacy Lesson. “Brush Your Teeth with F”. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/murrayel.html
Seuss. Green Eggs and Ham. New York.
Random House. 1960. pg. 18.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC (Random House, 1963) pg. 18.
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