Charlie Chicken

Lindsey Mizzell


Rationale:  In order for students to develop fluency they must obtain word recognition (Eldredge, 46).  This lesson will assist students in gaining a deeper understanding of the digraph /ch/.  Digraphs are two letters that make only one sound.  This lesson will give students practice making and reading the digraph /ch/.

Elkonin letterboxes (large size for demonstration)
Letters (teacher demonstration)
Sandwich bags with letter for each student
Letterboxes for each student
Fromental, Jean-Luc.  Broadway Chicken.  Hyperion Press, 1995.
Primary Paper and pencil
Tape            (Chicken sticks (pointers) can be made by taping clipart to
Clip art of a chicken  the top of a straw.  Use this during the assessment.
Sentence strip with Charlie Chicken chatters and chirps while playing chess on a choo-choo train.

1.  Begin lesson by explaining that two letters sometimes work together to make only one sound.  Explain:  Let’s review the letters c and h.  Have students make the the phonemes /c/ and /h/ as a review.  Now let’s talk about the sound we hear when we combine c and h and make one sound.  Everyone say /ch/.  Good job!  Do you notice that your tongue moves from the roof of your mouth to the bottom as your mouth forces air out?  Now let’s practice making and recognizing the /ch/ sound.  Everyone say /ch/.  Repeat three times.  Good job!  Now I am going to tell you a funny tongue twister.  Are you ready?  Charlie Chicken chatters and chirps while playing chess on a choo-choo train.  Have students repeat the twister 3-4 more times.  Now when I say the twister I want you to give me a thumbs up when you hear /ch/.

2.  Begin letterbox lesson.  Today we will be using letterboxes to help us practice /ch/.  Have all the materials already underneath the students’ chairs to save time.  First, model for the students by using the large letterboxes and letters as a demonstration.  Explain:  Each box stands for one sound.  We learned that /ch/ represents one sound so they go in the same box.  Now, let’s spell chip.  I sometimes chip my fingernail polish when I wash dishes.  Have students talk about which letters go in each of the boxes.  Remove the letterboxes and using only the letters have students read the word.  Great!  We have spelled the word chip.  How many sounds did we hear in chip? 3

3.  Students will now work with their own letters and letterboxes.  Have students spell the following words:
3 phonemes- chip, much, chop, inch, chat
4 phonemes- punch, champ, bunch,
*Letters: a, b, c, h, I, m, n, o, p, t  
Some students may need scaffolding to prevent frustration.

Read Broadway Chicken aloud using student copies or a big book.  Introduction:  Charlie the dancing chicken becomes an instant star when he is discovered by a theatrical agent in Chinatown.  Will Charlie shine in the spotlight forever?  You’ll have to read the rest of the book to find out what happens next to Charlie.

4.  Reread the story and have students raise their hands each time they hear /ch/.  Activity:  Have students write a message to a friend about a chicken using as many /ch/ words as possible.

5.  Assessment:
Have students listen to the following tongue twisters and identify /ch/ by raising their chicken sticks.
Charlie Chicken chatters and chirps while playing chess on a choo-choo train.
Chocolate covered chickens were chosen for the champ’s Easter basket.
Chirping chickens chatter while chopping on wild cherries.


Eldredge, J.L.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Merrill Prentice Hall.  New Jersey: 1995.

Murray, B.A. and Lesniak, T.  The Letterbox Lesson:  A Hands-On Approach for Teaching Decoding.  The Reading Teacher. Ps. 644-650

Shelton, Christie.  Chirping Chickens. 3/12/04.

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