Rationale: Beginning readers must learn to break the alphabetic code to be able to read. They must be taught that our mouth makes many sounds when we talk and these mouth moves are called phonemes. They need to see the connection between letters and the sounds they make and then learn the correspondences. This lesson will focus on the digraph /ch/. The students will learn to identify written and spoken words with /ch/ by learning a fun way to remember the sound by saying "chocolate chicken". This will provide a memorable way to remind the students when they get stuck on a word with ch.
Materials: Poster board with Chocolate Chicken written on it, Elkonin letterboxes for each child, laminated letters for each child c, h, a, t, o, p, i, n, u, l, r, b, e, oversized laminated Elkonin letterbox and letters for teacher to demonstrate on, primary paper, pencil, poster with tongue twister "The cheerful chocolate chicken was the champ of the chow contest", book Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells, scotch tape
Procedure: 1. I will introduce the lesson by explaining how sometimes two letters are put together to make one special sound. "Today we are going to talk about the way our mouth moves when we put the letters c and h together. I want everyone to say "ch" with me and hold it. Who can give me an example of a word you might know that has the sound "ch" in it?" Wait for response.
2. Hold up poster of tongue twister on it. "Now let's say this tongue twister: The cheerful chocolate chicken was the champ of the chow contest. Did everyone hear the ch sound in some of the words? Raise your hand and give me an example of one word you heard with the ch sound.
3. Pass out the letterboxes to each child along with the necessary letters needed. "Now we are going to practice spelling words with the ch sound. Does any one notice that the c and the h are taped together? The reason they are taped together is because they combine to make one sound. They will go in the same box. Now, does everyone remember learning about the /ee/ sound? We are going to do the same thing with ch. I am going to demonstrate on my letterbox how to spell one word. Then I will give you a word and I want each of you to then spell it in your boxes." The teacher will give the words: chat, chop, chin, lunch, rich, and any more. "Now I am going to write some words on the board and I want you to read them to me."
4. "Now I want you to take out your paper and pencil and practice making the letters c and h. Then I want you to write a sentence with some of the words we have talked about today."
5. "I am going to say some words out loud and I want you to tell me which words have ch in them. Lunch or dinner? Chat or rat? Chick or duck? Good job!!
6. Teacher will then read the story aloud to the children having them pay attention to the ch sounds.
7. Assessment will consist of the individual letterbox lesson. Each child will have his or her own set to work with. I will go around and make sure they understand the lesson. While I observe, I will have a checklist to make sure they understand the important concepts. I will also take up and have the students share the sentences they wrote containing words with ch in them.
Eldredge, J. Loyd (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New Jersey. Prentice Hall, Inc.
Murray, B.A. and Lesniak, T. (1999). "The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands-On Approach for Teaching Decoding." The Reading Teacher.
Click here to return to Elucidations.