Brandi Ferguson
Emergent Literacy

: Children must gain the understanding that letters represent phonemes in spoken words for learning to read and spell. This lesson will aid children in recognizing /h/ in spoken words and its corresponding symbol, "h" in various activities via speaking, writing, and reading the phoneme-grapheme relationship.

Materials : primary paper, flip chart, Horton Hears a Who by Dr. SUess, sheet with various pictures (pictures include: hat, monkey, book, hotdog, hamburger, car, computer, house, and hippopotamus), hot pink crayons (enough for each child)

Procedures :

1. Begin the lesson by tapping into students' prior knowledge. Ask them, "have you ever been outside when it is REALLY hot, like in the summer time and sometimes you start sweating and you make a funny sound  like /h/ because the heat is taking your breath away?" Then, you will say: "Well, today we are going to learn that /h/ sound you make when it is really hot outside is very important to us when we read and write."

2. "let's all try making the /h/ sound." "Very good. Now I want to see what good listeners we are when I say this funny tongue twister (on flip chart). Hank the hungry hippo ate hotdogs happily in the heat." "Isn't that a funny saying?" "It is so funny that I want you all to try saying it with me this time." ( students join teacher in repeating the tongue twister).

3. "Now we are going to say it one more time, but this time we are going to s t r e t c h out the /h/ sounds at the beginning of the words. Hhhhh ank the hhhhungry hhhhhippo ate hhhhhotdogs in the  hhhheat." "Magnificent!"

4. "Now I am going to say some words and you tell me which word I say makes the /h/ sound we just talked about, ok?" "Hippo or rhino?  mad or hat? eggplant or hotdog? hammer or nail? happy or angry?  jump or hop?"

5. (ask student to take out primary paper and a pencil) "We can write our /h/ sound with the letter 'h.' Now I want all eyes up here and all pencils still. I want you to watch everything I do and then we are all going to try to do it ok?" "First, let's start from the sky and go down to the ground, then we are going to walk over a little bit and go from the ground to the sky." "Next we are going to go the top of the tree in the middle and go toward the window (left) and without picking up our pencils, we are going to go towards the door (right)." 

6. "Now I want everyone to try this on their own paper as I do it and you can look up here if you need to." {repeat the steps orally as they try it on their own} "Now I am going around the room and as I check each person's paper, I want you to look at your neighbor's paper to see if they are writing 'h' correctly, and if they are why don't you tell them, 'I'm hhhhhhhappy for you!'" 

7. "After you see that I have put a happy face on your paper, I want to see if you can fill up the whole row with the letter 'h,' and as you write each 'h,' I want you to say /h/ so that we remember 'h' says /h/." (post children's work in room)

8. "Now guys we are going to read a funny story." Read Horton Hears a Who , with an emphasis on the /h/ words. "Now I am going to read the story one more time and this time I want you to see if you can pick out all the words with our /h/ sound. If you hear me say a word with /h/, then I want you to fan yourself as if you are outside in the hot sun and you are breathing heavy."

9. Re-read the book and allow time on each page for children to pick out the /h/ words, prompt them if needed. When they do tell you a /h/ word, write it on the flip chart for later use.

Assessment : have a picture sheet with varying pictures on it (pictures include hat, monkey, book, cat, hotdog, hamburger, car, computer, house, hippopotamus) and have the students color each /h/ beginning word with a "hot-pink crayon"

{If you have extra time, these are some riddles that would be fun to emphasize the /h/ sound, and have a picture to show students after they guess the word):

1. "I am thinking of a word that starts with /h/ and it is an animal?" (horse)

2. "I am thinking of a word that starts with /h/ and it is Winnie-the- Pooh's favorite food?" (honey)

3. "I am thinking of a word that starts with /h/ and it is a food that McDonald's puts in their happy meals. What could this word be?" (hamburger)

4. "I am thinking of a word that starts with /h/. It is a sport that you play with pucks and sticks and you skate on ice. What is my word?" (hockey)

5. "I am thinking of a word that begins with /h/ and it is a cow's favorite food. What is this word?" (hay)

6. "I am thinking of a word that starts with /h/ and it is a holiday that we dress up for and go Trick-or-Treating. What is the /h/ word that I am thinking of?" (Halloween)

7. "I have a word that begins with /h/ and it is a fuzzy animal that runs in a wheel inside its cage. What could this /h/ word be?" (hamster)


Eldridge, J. Lloyd, Merrill. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms50-70.

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