Harry the Hungry, Hungry Hippo
Emergent Literacy Lesson
Lyndsay York

Rationale:  In order for children to read and spell they must first understand that letters represent phonemes.  Then once they understand how to recognize phonemes they can learn correspondences.  This lesson will help children become aware that the letter h represents the phoneme /h/, which is a correspondence.  By the end of this lesson hopefully students will be able to identify the letter h and be able to recognize the /h/ sound in spoken words.

Materials:  primary paper, pencil, poster with "Harry the hungry, hungry hippo is happily eating ham", book Horton Hatches an Egg, laminated index card with a popsicle stick glued on it and the card has the letter h on the front of it, picture page with pictures of a hippo, baby, hotdog, hammer, apple, head, hat, bear, hand

1. Explain that all letters stand for a mouth movement of sound, which is a phoneme.  Today we are going to learn that the letter h makes the /h/ sound.  Sometimes when we laugh really hard we can make the sound ha, ha, ha.  Do you hear the /h/ sound?  Let's see what kind of mouth movement we will make to get the /h/ sound.  Everyone make the laughing sound ha, ha, ha.  What kind of mouth movement did you make?  I felt my jaw move down.  Now let's try putting our hand in front of our mouth and see what happens.  I felt air coming out of my mouth and blowing onto my hand.
2. Now I am going to read a fun tongue twister (on the chart).  Let's all put our listening ears on while I read.  "Harry the hungry, hungry hippo is happily eating ham." Did you hear the /h/ sound in any of those words.  Now let's all try saying this tongue twister together and listen for the /h/ sound. Very good boys and girls!
3. Now let”s try and stretch out the /h/ sound at the beginning of the words.  "Hhhharry the hhhungry, hhhungry hhhippo is hhhappily eating hhham."  Great job once again class.
4. Now we are going to try and write the letter h.  Everyone take out your primary writing paper and a pencil, but place your pencil flat on your desk.  First I would like for you to watch me demonstrate how to write the letter h and then you may try.  We are going to start and the very top of the road and draw and line straight down to the bottom of the road.  Then we are going to curve up to the middle of the road (the dotted line) and then come back down to the bottom again.  Now you may try.  I will come around and check to see that everyone is making the correct letter h.  Let's try and make at least one row of h's.  If you need help just raise your hand.  Remember that when you see the letter h in a word it makes the /h/ sound.
5. (Pass out laminated index cards with the letter h on it)  "Now class I am going to name some words and some of them may have the /h/ sound and some of them may not.  If you hear the /h/ sound then hold up your index card.  If you do not then keep your index card flat on your desk.  Do you hear /h/ in hat or cage? Street or hum? Bag or ham? Fish or hunt?" After each question say each word slowly one at a time so the students can have time to raise their card or not.
6. Now we are going to read a story called Horton Hatches an Egg.  I am going to read the title again and if you hear the /h/ sound touch your nose.  (read the title again slowly)  Now as I read the story if you hear the /h/ sound again touch your nose.  Listen carefully.  Now let's reread the book and I will write down the words that have the /h/ sound on the board.  When I see you touch your nose then I will know to write down a word.  (say the word each time before and after writing it on the board)
7. Assessment:  Pass out the picture page with pictures of a hippo, baby, hotdog, hammer, apple, head, hat, bear, and hand.  Have the students circle each picture that begins with the /h/ sound.  Remind them that each picture should begin with the letter h and the /h/ sound.  For early finishers have them draw some more pictures of words that begins with the /h/ sound on the back of their picture page.

Eldredge J. Lloyd. Developing Phoneme Awareness. Teaching decodiing in Holistic Classrooms. New Jersey. Prentice-Hall, 1995. Pp. 50-70.

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