Emergent Reader
Chocolate Choo Choo Chicken
by De Shealey

Rationale:  Children will not become successful readers without phonemic awareness.  Some phonemes are represented by two letters: digraphs.  This lesson will help children identify the digraph /ch/ by hearing it and by finding the digraph in words.

Materials Needed:  1) poster with tongue twister: "The chocolate choo choo chicken chopped cherries for chowder.";  2) primary paper and pencils;  3)  flannel board with pictures of chicken, child, woman, candle, chain, can, branch, shirt, chest, and ship;  4) class set of cards with a picture of a train on one side and smoke on the other (sponge paint);  5) book, Choo Choo;  6) brown paper sacks;  7) worksheet (containing pictures of cheese, chicken drumstick, shell, chain, tree branch, shirt, cherries, sock, couch, shoe, chocolate chip, and chimp) for each child;  8) crayons;  9) scissors;  10) poster of an ice chest large enough to hold several pictures from the worksheet;  and 11) poster of train with cars big enough to hold several pictures from the worksheet.

Procedure:
1) Sometimes a sound is written with two letters.  Today, we are going to work on the /ch/ sound.  It is the choo choo train sound and it is written:  ch.  Let's try a tongue twister.  [Show poster]  "The chocolate choo choo chicken chopped cherries for chowder."  Every body say it three times.  [Teacher writes ch on chalkboard.]  Now I want you to write ch across one line of your paper.

2) [Use Sound Matching: Display items on a flannel board]  Which items shown on this board have a name that starts with ch?  [Remove those that do not.]  Now I am going to the chalkboard and I want you to call out the names of the remaining pictures and I will write them down.  [Children name the items on the board as teacher writes their names on the board.  Teacher points to the first word.]  Listen closely, is the "ch" sound at the beginning, middle, or the end of each word?   Now it is your turn to write them on your paper.

3) Let's play a game.  I'll think of a /ch/ word and you guess what it is.
a) I am thinking of a piece of furniture. It begins with /ch/.  [Answer:  chair.]
b) I am thinking of a sandy place next to the ocean.  It's name ends with /ch/.  [Answer:  beach.]
c) I am thinking of a building where many people go on Sundays.  A minister preaches there.  It's name begins and ends with /ch/.  [Answer:  church.]

4) Let's say our tongue twister again.  [Children respond.  Teacher points to the poster of the tongue twister.]  Now let's write it on our paper.

5) Read book:  Choo Choo, the Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away.  On second reading, have children hold up cards showing the train side when they hear the 'ch' sound, and showing the smoke side for all other sounds.

6) [Lunch Check - Give all a brown paper sack and a worksheet.]  I am giving each of you a paper sack and a worksheet.  Set the sack to the side, we will use it later.  Let's talk about what is on the worksheet.  [Call on children and ask them to identify the items one by one.]  On this worksheet, color only the pictures of 'ch' items.  [Teacher should walk around and check their progress (evidence of their understanding of the concept).  Some may still need help.]  Now you need to cut out just what you have colored and put those pieces into the sack.  After the colored pieces are in the sack, clear your desks of everything else and then pour your pieces out of the sack.  [Another assessment opportunity for teacher.  Children now choose what they want to keep for lunch and share their choices with the class.]

7) The /ch/ foods are then put on the ice chest poster.  The /ch/ items that are not food are then placed in the train cars.

References:
a) Choo Choo, the Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away, written by Virginia Lee Burton (1937), published by Houghton Miflin Co.
b) Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms, written by Lloyd Eldredge (1995), published by Prentice Hall, pages 53 & 63-66.

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