Chuggin’ on Through

Beginning Reading Design

JulieAnna M. Whiting


Rationale:  Children need to first have an understanding for individual letters to their phoneme correspondences.  When children can connect each letter with at least one phoneme then they are ready to move onto digraphs.  The new goal is to help the students understand the correlation between graphemes and phonemes.  This lesson will teach one of the most common graphemes (or digraphs) is ch = /ch/.  They will recognize the visual representative as well as recognize the spoken sound.  This is important because it will help break the ice for the rest of the two letter digraphs because it is one of the most common.



  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining:  We have learned about the alphabet and a lot of the letter’s individual sounds.  But sometimes when certain letters come together they make one sound.  Today we are going to learn about the two letters c and h.  When “c-h” come together they make the sound /ch/.  When you say /ch/ your lips come out and your teeth are almost closed.  We will learn to identify /ch/ in listening and reading.
  2. Ask the student: Have you ever heard a train say, “ch, ch, ch”?  Do you see how your mouth forms?  (Show them a picture of how the mouth is formed while saying /ch/.)  Let’s practice our c-h sound while we ride on the train.  [Motion your hands going around like the wheels of a train.]  The sound of the train tells people the train is coming.
  3. Now let’s say a tongue twister:  Chubby Chad chased the little chimp up the chair.  (Have a chart with this phrase on it.)  Let’s say it together a couple of times.  (Say it a couple of times.)  Now when we say it let’s say the /ch/ like a train at the beginning of each c-h word. (Meaning- emphasize it.)  /Ch/ubby /Ch/ad /ch/ased the little /ch/imp up the /ch/air.
  4. Now you know how to identify by hearing the sound of “ch”.  Let’s write it out so you can identify it on paper.  You know how to write c.  And you know how to write h.  When you write these two letters side-by-side it tells the reader you want the /ch/ sound.  I would like you to write “ch” ten times.  Remember to place spaces in between each pair of “ch” to show each pair is together.
  5. I will show you how to find the /ch/ in the word ranches.  I’m going to stretch out the word and listen to each sound to identify the train’s /ch/.  Rrrrrr- aaaaa- nnnnn- chhhhhhh- eeee- ssss.  Rr-aa-nn-chhh… There is the train sound!  Ch- Ch- Ch!  Ran/ch/es!
  6. Now we are going to see if we can identify /ch/ in certain words by doing a letterbox lesson.  I’m going to give each one of you a bag of letters.  I am also going to give you our “fold out boxes” to help you identify each sound in the words.  Remember since c-h only makes one sound they will go in one box together.  I will give you an example.  The word will be chap.  Chap has 3 sounds, so there will be 3 boxes to represent each sound.  I will sound out the word, ch – aaaaa- pp.  Now I will put my letters in the boxes.  [ch] [a] [p].  Chap.  Now have the students use the LBL boxes to spell out chat (3 boxes), ranch (4 boxes), chest (4 boxes), and crunch(5 boxes).  Now that you are done spelling the words, it’s my turn.  (Spell each of the words and have the students read them.)
  7. Now give the students a book talk on Chips for Chicks:  Two children see chicks hatch.  Then while they are having their lunch their dog tries to get into their chips.  You will have to read on to see what happens to the chips.”  Now have the students read the book in pairs.  Then have the students read it all together.  Now with your partner find the words with the /ch/ sound.  I would like you to write the words out on your paper.  Let’s share what words we have found.
  8. For the final assessment: see if the students can read “ch” by having the students read the pseudowords: chame, luch, riech, chift, herch, and lichem.


Lewis, Heather.  Ch-ch-ch-ch, ch-ch-ch-ch... Choo! Choo!

Murray, Geri.  (2006.) Chips for the Chicks.

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