Joanie Baker
Beginning Reading Design

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** *

Rationale:  In order for children to become fluent readers, they must learn to recognize letter combinations such as digraphs.  Digraphs are two letters that make only one sound.  We must teach children that certain letter combinations have specific mouth moves.  In this lesson we will teach children /ch/.

• Large Elkonin Letterbox (for teacher demonstration)
• Tape and large letters for teacher
• Letterboxes for students
• Ziplock bags with lowercase letters a,c,e,h,i,m,n,o,p,t,w
• Book: Broadway Chicken  by:Fromental, Jean-Luc.
• Primary paper
• Pencil

Procedures: 1. Introduce lesson by explaining that sometimes two-letters work together to make one sound.  "We will see what sound C and H make when you combine them."  Then say /ch/.  Review C an H on the board and then print them together ch.  These letters work together and make the /ch/ sound.  "Everyone say /ch/.  When we make this sound put your hand in front of your mouth. Do you feel air?" yes.  Your tongue moves from the roof of your mouth to the bottom as your mouth forces out the air.

2. "I am going to say a silly sentence. Chirping chicks chatter about corn chunks."  Have class repeat three times.  What words do you hear /ch/ in.  (They may try to include corn.)

3. Now, we are going to play a game with the letterboxes.  Each box stands for one sound.  Demonstrate with teacher letterbox that is taped on board.  "Let's spell chat.  The girls chat during lunch.  How many sounds does /ch/ make? One- that is right."  That means we put them in a box together.  The next sound we hear after /ch/ is /a/.  It goes in the second box.  Then we hear /ch/ /a/ … /t/.  Yes, I hear the t also.  T goes in the last box.  Now we can spell chat.  How many sounds did we find that chat has? 3 Good Work!

4. Pass out letterboxes to and letter to students.  Tell will need three boxes for the first few words. "Spell chip in your boxes.  Walk around and check or help with spelling.  Continue the same process with (3-chop, inch, chat, 4- champ chant pinch.)  "Very good spelling!"

5. Read: Broadway Chicken - Read Aloud with Big Book.

6. Then reread and examine book and let students pick out words that have the /ch/ in them.  Let them pick one word form the book and write a sentence with it using inventive spelling.  Then have them read the sentences to each other.

7. Assessment:  Test students by calling each student to a quite area and have them read a brief paragraph concentrating on /ch/.  Have other students work on activity at desk.  (Activity- Matching picture to words that contain /ch/).  (Like matching picture to word game involving /ch/. Paragraph- The small chicks chat.  They chop and chop at the grass with their beaks….


Eldredge, J. Lloyd (1995).  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New Jersey.  Prentice Hall, Inc.  p. 190.

Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands-on Approach for Teaching Decoding. The Reading Teacher. P. 644-650

Thompson, Ashley.  "Chimps Chew, Too."  3/11/02.

Cleck here to return to Elucidations.