Brush Your Teeth


Emergent Literacy Design



Jamie Sanford


Rationale:  Children need to realize that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words in order to be successful with reading and spelling.  Students first have to recognize phonemes in spoken words before they can match the letters to phonemes.  The ch phoneme can be a difficult phoneme for young kids to identify.  This lesson will help kids identify /ch/.  They will learn to recognize /ch/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation that will help them to identify when ch is used in words.  Then, they will practice finding /ch/ in words.


Materials:  Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Charlie had chunky chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk after lunch."; book:  Farm Flu by Teresa Bateman, published by Scholastic, ©2001; drawing paper and crayons; teacher made picture page with chips, candy, lunchbox, snake, peach, cup, cheese, cookies, chalk, and  crayon.



  1. Introduce lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for, which are the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Today, we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /ch/.  Ch is also a digraph.  A digraph is 2 letters blended together to make one sound.  In most words that you see with the ch in them, the c and h blend together to make the /ch/ sound. 
  2. Ask students:  Have you ever brushed your teeth and paid attention to the sound it makes.  It sounds like /ch/ to me.  That is the mouth move we are looking for in words.  Let's pretend we are all holding a toothbrush and brushing our teeth [Pretend to be holding a toothbrush and brushing your teeth].  Everyone hold up your pretend toothbrushes, this time we are going to say /ch/ as we brush our teeth.
  3. Let's try a tongue twister.  "Charlie had chunky chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk after lunch."  Everyone say it 3 times together.  Now say it again and this time, stretch the /ch/ that you hear in the words.  "Chcharlie had chchunky chchocolate chchip cookies and chchocolate milk after lunchch."  Try it again, and this time break the /ch/ off of the word.  /Ch/ arlie had /ch/ unky  /ch/ ocolate /ch/ ip cookies and /ch/ ocolate milk after lun /ch/.
  4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil].  We use 2 letters, c and h, side-by-side to spell /ch/.  Let's write it.  For the c, start like little a:  go up and touch the fence, then go around and up.  For the h, start at the roof top, come down, and hump over.  I want to see everybody's ch.  After I put a smile on it, I want you to make 5 more just like it.  Remember, when you see ch together in a word that is usually the signal to say /ch/.
  5. Let me show you how to find /ch/ in the word lunchroom.  I am going to stretch lunchroom out in super slow motion and listen for the toothbrush.  L-u-n-ch-ch-ch-r-oo-m.  L-u-n-ch-ch-ch-cháthere it is!  I do hear the toothbrush /ch/ in lunchroom.
  1. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew:  Do you hear /ch/ in chips or cookies?  Chocolate or cocoa?  Lunchbox or knapsack?  Beach or lake?  Chore or work?  Chalk or ink?  [Pass out a card to each student].  Say:  Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /ch/ in some words.  Brush your teeth if you hear /ch/.  Charlie, had, chunky, chocolate, chip, cookies, and, chocolate, milk, after, lunch.
  2. Read Farm Flu and talk about the story.  Read it again, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /ch/.  List their words on the board.  Have students pick a ch word from the book, draw a picture and write a message about it using invented spelling.
  3. For assessment, the teacher can simply make sure that each student chose a ch word to write and draw about.  Otherwise, pass out the teacher made picture page and help students name each picture.  Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /ch/.



For more information on phoneme awareness, visit the Reading Genie website:


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