Here Comes the Choo Chooooooo!!

Beginning Reading


Shannon Moon


Rationale:  Children need to learn phonemes and their letter correspondences to learn to read and spell.  Sometimes one phoneme is represented with more than one letter such as /ch/.  This is called a digraph.  It is important for children to learn the letters that go together to make one sound so that when they see these letters together they will know that they work together to make the sound /ch/.  This lesson will give the children practice in recognizing the /ch/ sound when they see the letters c and h together in print.


Materials:  primary paper and pencil, chart with „Charles chatted while he waited on his chance to win a check,š drawing paper and crayons, Elkonin boxes and letter tiles c,h,a,t,o,p,i,n and a class set of the book Chad Checks by Peg Ballard published by Child‚s World.



1.    Begin by reviewing with children the phonemes represented by the letters c and h.  „Early we used the c to make the /k/ sound and h to make the /h/ sound.  But sometimes when two letters are put together they make one mouth move (sound) instead of two.  The letters c and h make the sound /ch/.  We are learning this so you can read and spell words with ch.š

2.         Ask students: „What sound does a train make when it goes by?  The /ch/ sound is like the sound of a train.  Choo Choo!  We are going to practice finding /ch/ in words and we will learn how to spell words that have the /ch/ sound.š

3.   „Let‚s try the tongue twister on the chart.  Listen for the /ch/ sound in the words. őCharles chatted while he waited on his chance to win a check.‚  Everybody say it with me.š

4.    „Now, tell me which word you hear /ch/ in; chess or tile?, chart or table?, peach or orange?, teacher or student?.š

5.    Read: the first half of Chad Checks and have the students clap when they hear the /ch/ sound.

6.   „Okay, I am going to write some words that have /ch/ in them on the board.š  Model a word first so the children can see how to find and recognize /ch/ in words.  Write the word chip on the board.  „Let‚s see if I can read this word.  I see the c and h together so I know that says /ch/.  /ch/-/i/-/p/.  Oh, the word is chip like a potato chip I had for lunch.  See if you can read these words.š  (chap, beach)  Let the children read the words.  Help only if they have trouble.

7.   „Now, lets practice writing ch.  When you get used to seeing c and h together you practice by writing them, you will be able to remember that together they make the sound /ch/.š  Have the children write ch on primary paper.

8.   Okay, now everyone take out your letter boxes and the letters c,h,a,t,o,p,i,n.  The first word you will need three letter boxes.  Spell chat.  Good job.  Now, keep the three letter boxes and spell chop.  Great!  Okay, now spell chin.  Now, you will need four letter boxes.  Spell catch.  Now, spell coach.  You all did very well.

9.   For assessment have the children finish reading Chad Checks quietly and walk around and ask them to read to you. 


Reference: Eldredge, Lloyd J.  (1995).  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc. 1995 42-57.

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