Chicks Say Chirp, Chirp, Chirp!

By: Kathleen Pease

Beginning Reading  Lesson Design


Rationale:  This lesson is designed to help children become fluent readers.  In order to do that, children must be aware of the components that make up the alphabetic code.  This lesson focuses on the common digraph, ch.  A digraph is more than one letter put together to create one sound.  Students will come to understand that certain letter combinations (ch in this case) call for specific mouth gestures.


Materials:Large Elkonin Letterboxes
                    Letterboxes for each student
                    Individual bags with lowercase letters:  a, c, e, h, I, l, m, p, s, t, u
                    Chips For the Chicks by Geri Murray
                    Primary Paper
                    Poster with tongue twister "Chicks say chirp, chirp, chirp while they chase other chicks."



1. Begin lesson by discussing with students how sometimes we find two or three letters together that make one single sound.  (Have ch written on the board.)  "For example, when we see a c and an h together, we make the sound /ch/.  Can everyone make that sound?  It sounds kind of like a choo choo train, doesn't it?  Pump your arms at your side like a choo choo train when you make that sound." 

Review mouth move.  "What is your mouth doing when you make that sound?  Is there any air coming out?  Yes, very good.  There is air coming out.  This is because your tongue moves from the roof of your mouth to the bottom while your mouth forces the air out."

Go over tongue twister.  "I am about to say a funny sentence with a lot of words that make that /ch/ sound.  Chickens say chirp, chirp, chirp, while they chase other chicks.  Let's say that three times."

Students will listen for /ch/ when given a few spoken words.  "Do you hear /ch/ in chase or shove?  Shell or chill?  Change or cash?"


2. Begin letterbox lesson.  "Now it is time for us to use our letterboxes."  Explain how we will use letterboxes.  "Letterboxes help us to spell words by placing the different sounds in different boxes.  How many sounds does /ch/ make?  Right, one.  Each box will stand for one sound, so we will put the 'c' and the 'h' in the same box."  Model spelling.  "Let's see if we can spell 'chat.'  She talks all the time, so I know she just loves to chat.  I hear that choo choo train first, so let's leave our /ch/ in the first box.  What sound goes in the second box?  Third box?  Great!  We just spelled chat!  How many sounds were in the word, chat?  Right!  Three!"


3. Teacher will hand out student letterboxes and letter.  Letters needed are (a, c, e, h, I, l, m, p, s, t, u,). Students will continue with the letterbox lesson.  Teacher will let them know how many boxes are needed, beginning with three, then progressing to four and five.  Word list: chip (3), much (3), chat (3), chill (3), chest (4), champ (4), brunch (5).  After the students spell all the words, they will then read them one by one as the teacher presents them.


4. Read Broadway Chicken aloud with a big book.  Have children look for words with /ch/ in them.  Every time you read a word that you think you hear /ch/ in, I want you to churn your arms like the choo choo train.  Students will pick one of their /ch/ words and write it in a sentence on their primary paper.


5. Assessment: Teacher will call students up one by one and they will read the decodable book, Chips For the Chicks, as the teacher takes a running record and makes notes of miscues.


 Shelton, Christie.  Chirping Chickens.  Fall 2003.

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