Chirping Chickens

Beginning Reading

Christie Shelton



 Rationale:  In order for children to become fluent readers, they must learn to recognize letter combinations such as diagraphs.  Diagraphs are two letters that make only one sound.  We must teach children that certain letter combinations have specific mouth moves.  The focus of this lesson will be /ch/.

 Materials:  Large Elkonin Letterboxes
                    Tape and Large letters for teacher use
                    Letterboxes for each student
                    Individual bags with lowercase letters:  a, c, e, h, i, I, m, n, o p, t, u
                    Broadway Chicken by Jean-Luc Fromental
                    Primary Paper
                    Poster with "Chirping Chickens chatter while chomping on cherries"


 1.  Introduce lesson by explaining that sometimes two letters work together to make one sound.  WHEN YOU COMBINE C AND H, YOU HEAR THE SOUND /ch/.  Print C and H on the board as a review.  THESE LETTERS TOGETHER MAKE THE /ch/ SOUND.  EVERYONE SAY /ch/.  PUT YOUR HAND IN FRONT OF YOUR MOUTH AND SAY IT AGAIN.  DO YOU FEEL AIR?  Yes.  THIS IS BECAUSE YOUR TONGUE MOVES FROM THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH TO THE BOTTOM AS YOUR MOUTH FORCES OUT AIR. Put poster of tongue twister on board.  I AM GOING TO SAY A SILLY SENTENCE.  CHIRPING CHICKENS CHATTER WHILE CHOMPING ON CHERRIES.  Class should repeat three times.  Ask which words they hear /ch/ in.

2.  Start the letterbox lesson.  NOW WE ARE GOING TO USE THE LETTERBOXES.  Pass out letterboxes and letters to whole class while giving instructions.  Use the large letterbox and letters to place on the board as a demonstration.  EACH BOX STANDS FOR ONE SOUND.  DOES /ch/ HAVE ONE SOUND?  Yes.  SO LETS PUT THE C AND THE H IN ONE BOX TOGETHER.  OK, LETS SPELL chop.  PLEASE CHOP THE CARROTS. /ch/  /o/  /p/ WHAT SOUND GOES IN THE SECOND BOX?…THRID BOX?  GOOD – WE HAVE SPELLED CHOP.  HOW MANY SOUNDS DID WE HEAR IN CHOP?  3!  VERY GOOD!

3.  The students will continue with the letterbox lesson.  They will need 3 boxes for the first few words.  SPELL inch IN YOUR BOXES.  Walk around because some students will need more help than others.  Continue the process with – chat, much (3), lunch, chest, champ (4).  GREAT JOB! Read Broadway Chicken aloud with a big book.

4.  Reread the book and have children look for words with /ch/ in them.  They should pick one word we found in the story and write it in a sentence.  They should read their sentence to a neighbor.

5.  Assessment:  As a whole group, the students will listen to a word I say out loud.  If they hear the /ch/ sound in it, they should give a thumbs up, if they do not hear the /ch/ sound, they should give a thumbs down. 


 Baker, Joanie.  "Chirping Chicks Chatter" 10/20/03

Eldredge, J. Lloyd (1995).  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  New Jersey, Prentice Hall, Inc.  p.190.

Murray, B.A. and Lesniak, T. (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson:  A Hands-on Approach for Teaching Decoding.  The Reading Teacher.  Ps. 644-650.

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