Jenny Duvall

Emergent Literacy


Rationale: Letter recognition skills are strong predictors of reading success.  It is not simply the accuracy with which children can name letters that gives them an advantage in learning to read, it is their basic familiarity with the letters- though this is typically reflected in the ease with which they can name them.  Awareness that spoken language is composed of phonemes is an extremely important predictor of success in learning to read. (Adams).  Furthermore, children learn about both the nature of print as well as function through thoughtful interaction with adults; and learning to recognize and discriminate the shapes of letters is a difficult process that requires support and encouragement.  This lesson will assist children identify /h/.  They will learn to recognize this consonant in spoken words, along with representation of the letter symbol or grapheme (upper and lower case), and find /h/ in words through a variety of guided  activities. 



 1.White board/chalk board in classroom along with writing utensil for teacher

 2. primary paper (may be labeled with sidewalk, ditch, etc. but not mandatory)


 4.poster with tongue-twister (Holly hopped happily home)

 5.another tongue-twister to use out loud during step #6 (Harry had a horrible headache and hated to hear Henry howl)

 6.large Hh cutouts (optional) for visual aid during introduction

 7.small compact mirrors for each child to look at mouth movements(optional)

 8.drawing paper and crayons (optional)  

 9.the book Hungry Harry by Partis, Joanne * If necessary, words can be copied onto classroom chart for homemade big book reading*

10. laminated pictures of various objects some of which do not start with /h/ ( i.e. hair, house, boat, car, hot dog, heart, hippo, tennis ball)

11.assessment worksheet (pictures on the worksheet include butter, horse, hippo, grass, feet, car, hair, heart, water)

** All except book are teacher-made and may be specified to your own wishes as long as guidelines are met.


Procedures:  1. As the teacher, introduce the lesson by associating our written language with a secret code.  Explain that we are “detectives” and are going to learn what the letters in our language stand for. * Review previously learned consonants. “Today, We are going to learn how our mouth moves when we say the letter /h/ and also how to write in on paper.  We may need to stretch out the words in our mouth so we can hear them clearly.”


2.  Ask the students: “Have you ever noticed how a dog sounds when he is hot?  It’s a panting noise.  Let’s pretend we are dogs and try to make that sound with our mouth and breath. (Allow time for all children to get the hang of this before asking next question)  “Ok, now I want you to act like you are going to make that noise but don’t actually do it.  Now, hold up your mirrors and look at your mouth.  Our mouths are a little bit open when we make this noise aren’t they? Good, now I want you to put your mouth close to the mirror and make the panting noise.  Great, now what is happening to the mirror? Right, it gets fogged up.  So, when we make our /h/ sound, we are pushing air out of our mouths.


3.  Ok class, let’s try to say a tongue-twister (on pre-made poster) with our new sound. (Explanation of what a tongue-twister is may be needed). I will say it first and then we will all say it together.  “Holly hopped happily home”.  Did you hear the panting noise? Ok now you say it with me and this time I want you to make the panting noise when you hear /h/ and hold your hands to your chest like a begging puppy (demonstration of this movement is needed).  Great panting! Now, let’s try to stretch out the /h/ sound in each word when we hear it.  “HHHHolly hhhhopped hhhhappily hhhhome”.  Let’s try it another way.  Try to break off the /h/ sound from each word like this “ /H/olly /h/opped /h/appily /h/ome”. 


4.  ( Have students take out primary paper and pencil) “Ok class, we can use the letter h from the alphabet to spell our /h/ sound.  Let’s practice writing it on our paper ( at the same time,  write letter on board while explaining it to students).  For capital H, we go down for a wall, down for a wall, then cross at the fence.  For lowercase h, we start at the rooftop, come down, and hump over. Now, I want you to try on your paper.  I’m going to walk around and look at everyone’s h’s.  On the first line, I want you to finish with capital H’s and on the second line I want you to finish with lower case h’s.  When you see H or h by itself in a word, that is you clue to say /h/.”

5. “ I am going to show you how to find /h/ in the word happy.  I’m going to stretch out happy in my mouth really slowly and I want you to listen for the panting sound.  H-h-h-h-appy.  H-h-h-h-h-h-appy. Did you hear it? Me too! I do hear the panting sound in happy.”


6.  “I am going to ask you some questions but you have to listen very carefully to figure out the answer.  If you think you know it, raise your hand.  Do you hear /h/ in hat or dog?  Heat or cold?  Hard or soft?  Hear or clear?”  “ Ok class everyone get your paws up like a puppy (like in the introduction). Now, I am going to say a different a tongue-twister and I want you to pant like a dog when you hear /h/.  Harry, had, a, horrible, headache, and, hated, to, hear, Henry, howl.

7.  Book introduction: “Harry is a very hungry frog.  One day, he asked him mom what was for dinner? His mom told him that he was old enough to find his own food.  So, Hungry Harry went off to find something to eat.  Will Hungry Harry find any food?”  Read the book aloud and then on the second read, instruct children to use their “puppy hands” and pant when they hear /h/.  *Option- If time permits have students draw their own Harry Frog and write a story about it. Making a bulletin board or hanging their work would be an excellent reinforcement.

8.  Informal assessment: While holding up laminated picture cards, instruct students to pant when they hear a word with /h/. 

     Formal assessment:  Hand out worksheet with pictures of different objects.  Assist children in naming the pictures.  Ask each student to color each picture that has /h/. 


1.  Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print - A Summary. Champaign : Center for the Study of Reading Research and Education Center , 1990.  p. 124-126

2.  Partis, Joanne  Hungry Harry.  Scholastic, Inc.  New York 2000

3.  Kim Holzapfel- Hop To It! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/holzapfelel.html

4.  Reading Genie Website: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/   (Teaching Letter Recognition, Wallach and Wallach tongue-twisters, Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes)

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