TH – That’s the Truth!

 Annette Lombardi

A Lesson Design in Beginning Reading


Rationale:  To be successful in reading, students need to be aware of letters and their phonemes, or the sounds they represent.  In certain situations letters have more than one sound or correspondence.  Sometimes when two letters are together they make one sound.  In this lesson we will look at t and h, and how they represent the th=/th/ correspondence. 


Materials:  Elkonin boxes, letters, chart paper with the tongue twister (This Thursday is Earth Day, I think I'll recycle three cans.) written on it, and the book "This and That: The Sound of Th" written by Peg Ballard and published by Child's World in October 1999.


Procedure:        Introduce the lesson: "Good Morning class!  Today we are going to talk about the letters t and h.  Sometimes when two letters are beside each other they make only one special sound.  When t and h are beside each other, they become friends and make the sound "th".  Everyone let’s say "th".  Let’s put our hands in front of our mouths.  What do you feel? When I hear the th sound, I think of air coming out of a balloon.  Let's pretend we are leaking balloons and all let the air out!   Today we are going to work on hearing that sound, writing it down, and speaking it."


2)  Next show students the tongue twister "This Thursday is Earth Day, I think that I"ll recycle three cans."  Read it aloud to the students several times and encourage them to start saying it along with you.  Once they have the hang of it, model how to really stretch out the "th" sound each time they hear it in a word.  "This Thursday is Earth Day, I think that I will recycle three cans."  That was great boys and girls!


3)  Now we are going to move into the letterbox lesson part of the plan.  Ask the students to take out their letterboxes and letters-making sure that t and h are taped together.  Remind them that each box represents one sound.  Demonstrate with the word that.  Listen as I say that.  What is the first sound you hear?  Th?  T and h go in the first box.  Ttttthhh-a-t. a is the next sound, it goes in the second box.  T is the last sound we hear in the word, and it goes in the last box.  So how many sounds does that have?   3?  Wonderful!  Some ideas for words include: 2 phonemes: the, 3 phonemes: this, that, path, and with. 


4) Next have the students take out their primary writing paper and practice writing t and h close beside each other several times.  Model how to write t and h.  For a t: start a little above the fence and go down to the ground.  Then cross that line straight across.  Next start at the sky and draw straight down to the ground.  Then start at the fence and curve around down to the ground.  Also encourage them to think of other words that have th in them and write them down too. 


5)  Next have the students read the book, "This and That: the Sound of Th" to themselves.  Watch to make sure they are not struggling and walk around to observe and offer any assistance.


6)  For assessment I would create a decodable passage that has an emphasis on the correspondence th.  I would have the students read the passage to me individually and take a running record and note the miscues.



References:  Murray, Bruce.  The Reading Genie Website.

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