Hurry Hurry!

Emergent Literacy

Amy Berger


Rationale: In order for children to learn to read and spell words, children must understand phonemes and possess the ability to identify letters and the phonemes they represent in spoken words.  Phonemes can be short vowels, long vowels, digraphs, and even simply consonants.  This lesson will help children identify /h/.  They will learn to recognize /h/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, followed up by practice in finding /h/ in words.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil, chart with “Henry helped Harry with his hamster,” picture page with runner, drawing paper and crayons, picture page with hat, head, bed, hut, apple, bug, hill, ham, pig, and house, A House for Hermit Crab. Little Simon, 2004 by Eric Carle (or another book containing the h)


1.  Explain to the students that written language is our own secret code that we must “crack.”  Then introduce the lesson by explaining that letters represent phonemes and that each phoneme is spoken with various mouth movements with each having its own distinct spoken utterance.  Then introduce the letter h and explain that it is the mouth movement that we’ll be working on today.  The /h/ sound is very soft, but it is very important to be able to identify its presence.  As the lesson continues, you will get plenty of practice hearing the /h/ in words and be able to identify it with no problem.

2.  Have you ever ran over to your friends house to play and been out of breath?  I’m sure you started breathing heavy like this: huuuuuuh, huuuuuuh (draw out the /h/ as if out of breath to demonstrate to children).  Well that’s the mouth movement we’re going to be looking for in words.  [Hold up the picture of the runner].  Let’s pretend like we’re running over to our best friend’s house and we’re out of breath.  We’re going to pump our arms and breath heavy.  Notice how your mouth feels when you breathe out.  That is what it is going to feel like when we say words with /h/ in them.

3.  Let’s try a tongue twister [displayed on chart].  “Henry helped Harry with his hamster.”  Now everyone say it with me.  This time when we say it, we’re going to stretch is out and pump our arms and breathe heavy every time we hear /h/.  “Hhhhenry hhhelped Hhhharry with hhhhis hhhampster.”

4.  [Pass out primary paper and have students pull out a pencil]  We can use the letter “h” to spell the sound /h/.  Let’s write it together.  First start at the rooftop and come all the way down and hump over.  I am going to walk around and look at everyone’s h.  After I place a stamp on your paper, I want you to write two lines of h’s.  As you write the letter h I want you to quietly say the /h/ sound. 

5.  Let’s all turn on our listening ears and listen for [pump arms like run and sound the /h/ as if out of breath] /h/ sound in hot. Stretch it out very slowly so we can listen to each sound in the word.  H-h-h-h-o-o-o-t-t.  Do you hear the /h/ in hot?

6.  Call on students to answer and have them explain how they knew.  Do you hear /h/ in hear or ear?  Cap or hat?  Hand or finger?  Hard or soft?

7.  Do a book talk for A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.  One day, hermit crab realizes that he has outgrown his shell.  He sets out on an adventure to find a shell that hits him JUST right.  Let’s read the rest of the book to see if he finds the perfect shell.  While reading the book, ask the students to pinch their claws when they hear the /h/. 

8.  For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students in naming the pictures.  Ask the students to circle the pictures whose names have /h/.



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