Let's Chuga Chuga Choo Choo with "ch"


Beginning Reading

By: Kaylyn Kirsch


Rationale: In order to become skillful readers, children need to have an understanding of letters and their different phonemes. They also need to learn how to blend different sounds together. Once students learn the individual sounds each letter makes, they need to learn the sound some letters make when put together to make up a digraph. This allows them to read and write more words. The digraph this lesson works on is /ch/. Students will practice identifying the phonemes in spoken words and phonetic cue reading words. They will then further their understanding of this phoneme through a letterbox lesson.



·        Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin--a copy for each pair of students

·        Chart with the tongue tickler written on it--"Charlie the chicken had chunks of chocolate for lunch."

·        Elkonin Boxes and letter tiles--a set for each student (Words--3-[chin, much, rich], 4-[lunch, ranch, chart, chunk], 5-[branch]. Letters--c, h, i, n, m, u, r, l, a, k, p. )

·        Flash cards with the words CHIN, MUCH, RICH, LUNCH, RANCH, CHIP, CHUNK, and BRANCH written on them (for assessment)

·        "The /ch/ Book" worksheet--1 for each student




1.     Explain to the students that they will begin working on digraphs today.

Say, "Today we will begin our lesson by working on blending sounds. We already know the sounds that c and h make individually but now we are going to blend them together to make a completely different sound. We call this combination a digraph. When we put c and h together they make the /ch/ sound so /ch/ is the digraph that we will be working on. (Be sure to write the c and the h on the board so that students can have a visual. First write them individually and then together as you explain the blending)"

2.     Introduce the /ch/ sound to the students.

Say, "The /ch/ sound makes a sound that is heard when we hear a train blow its whistle. A train whistle says 'Choo! Choo!' and the sound you hear at the beginning is our /ch/ sound. Let's all pump our arms up and down as we say 'Choo! Choo!'. Very good! Listen as I try to find the /ch/ sound in lunch. Lllll-uuuunnnnn-chchch. There it is! Did you hear it?"

3.     Bring out the chart with the tongue tickler "Charlie the chicken had chunks of chocolate for lunch." Explain to the students that you now want them to listen to you say a tongue tickler and have them make the hand gesture as when they hear the /ch/ sound"

Say, "Now we are going to try to find our /ch/ sound in a tongue tickler. I want you to repeat this tongue tickler after me. Charlie the chicken had chunks of chocolate for lunch. Very good! Now listen very closely as I read it again and I want you to pump your arms up and down whenever you hear our /ch/ sound. Ready? Now, let's say it together and chop off the /ch/ sound from the rest of the words. /Ch/arlie the /ch/icken had /ch/unks of /ch/ocolate for lun/ch/. Great job!

4.     Use a letterbox lesson to help the students learn to spell words with the /ch/ in them.

Say, "I would like everyone to pull out their letter boxes and letter tiles because we are going to spell some words with our new /ch/ sound. Now let me remind you that each box can only contain one sound. Now that we know our c and h put together make the sound /ch/, the c and the h will be placed together in the same box." Draw a set of boxes on the board and use the model word chunk (4) to show the students what to do. "Watch as I spell the word "chunk". Chchch. I hear the /ch/ sound so I am going to put a 'c' and an 'h' in the first box. Chuuu. Hmm that sounds like a u so I will put the letter 'u' in the second box. Chunnnn. Next I am going to put an 'n' in the third box. Chuuunnnkkk. That sounds like a k so I will put the letter 'k' in my last box." Also use the word "chip" as your model reading word. "Now listen as I try to read this word." Write "chip" on the board. "I am going to cover up everything on the left and right of my vowel which is the short I sound /i/. Now let's uncover the left side of the vowel. Chchchiiii. Now let's add the last part. Chchchiiiiippp. Chip! Now it is your turn!" Now call out the words have the students spell each of the words. Be sure to use each word in a sentence. Words--3-[chin, much, rich], 4-[lunch, ranch, chart, chunk], 5-[branch]. Letters--c, h, i, n, m, u, r, l, a, k, p. When finished spelling, write each word on the board and have students take turns reading the words.

5.     Have the students partner-read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin.

Say, "I would like you to get with a partner and read a book called Chica Chica Boom Boom. In this book there is a letter that challenges all the other letters to climb a tree. To see if all of the letters will fit in the tree without falling off you need to read the book. When one partner is finished reading, the other partner will take a turn and read." As the students are reading, the teacher should float around and assist where needed.


Provide the students with a worksheet that has them cut and paste pictures of "ch" words into a book (see attached). As the students are working, call individuals up to read the words from the letterbox lesson aloud to you.


Goodwyn, Lindsey "Charlie the Chimp" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/journeys/goodwynbr.htm

Worksheet: http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/the-ch-book/

Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Beach Lane Books (2000)

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