Happy the Dog
Cassie Dillard
Emergent Literacy

Title: Happy the Dog!  A lesson focused on the phoneme /h/.

Rationale:  One of the most recognized ways that children learn to read is by letter recognition and phoneme awareness. An emergent reader needs to learn letters represent phonemes. The goal of the lesson is to identify the phoneme /h/ as the grapheme H. The students will be able to determine the phoneme in spoken word by corresponding gestures, tongue twisters, seeing the grapheme in written text and easy mouth movements.


- Chart Paper with tongue twister: "Happy the heavy, hungry dog wanted hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner".
-Pointer for chart paper
-Primary Pad
-Pre-made flash cards: (you may use these or make some up yourself depending on the amount of students in your class)

Do you hear /h/ in home or from?

Do you hear /h/ in hat or cat?

Do you hear /h/ in house or dog?

Do you hear /h/ in door or happy?

Do you hear /h/ in hurry or stop?

Do you hear /h/ in love or hug?

Do you hear /h/ in happy or money?

Do you hear /h/ in him or man?

Do you hear /h/ in had or flag?

Do you hear /h/ in hair or bag?

Do you hear /h/ in hall or floor?

Do you hear /h/ in room or ham?

Do you hear /h/ in cake or hand?

Do you hear /h/ in stand or hang?

Do you hear /h/ in hard or soft?

Do you hear /h/ in arm or heart?

Do you hear / h/ in Halloween or Valentines?

Do you hear /h/ in cold or heat?

Do you hear/ h/ in foot or head?

-Paper plates

-Popsicle sticks (optional use: straws)

-Googlie Eyes (optional use: construction paper)

- Crayons and/or colored pencils

- "Happy Dog" by Lisa Gibbs

Procedures for /h/ lesson:

1. Introduce "Happy the heavy, hungry dog wanted hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner" by explaining that the words we say are like a puzzle. In a puzzle, there are multiple pieces that make up a whole. In language we have pieces, also known as sounds, in which make up the words we speak. These pieces, or sounds, also make up the words that we write. "Today, we are going to match a sound to its letter. We will be able to figure out what sound we say when we see the letter H. Soon, you will be able to spot this letter and sound in many words."

2.  Ask the students: "Who has a dog at home or has ever seen a dog that pants?  When the dog pants it is making a weird noise. /h/-/h/-/h/ is the sound that the dog makes when panting and out of breath. Let's act like a dog by panting and putting our arms up near our mouth and make the sound /h/."  [Demonstrate the gesture and sound] /h/ h/ h/ (acting like a dog). 

3.  Ask the students to watch your mouth as you demonstrate /h/. "How does my mouth look when I say /h/. That's right, my mouth is open and my tongue is down." Have the students move their mouth to look like yours!

4.  "Now that we know the sound /h/ and how to move our mouth, let's try a silly tongue twister that will help us remember the sound." [ ON CHART] " Happy the heavy, hungry dog wanted hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner. Now, as a class, let's say it 3 times all together. Happy the heavy, hungry dog wanted hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner. Okay, this time let's try to stretch the /h/ at the beginning of the words that start with H as if you were panting like a dog. Hhhappy the hhheavy, hhhungry dog wanted hhhot dogs and hhhamburgers for dinner. GREAT JOB!"

5.  [ON CHART] "Everyone is doing such a wonderful job, I think we can try something a little harder. Every time we get to a word that has the sound /h/ in it, you are going to say /h/ by itself then say the rest of the word. I will demonstrate for you. /h/appy the /h/eavy, /h/ungry dog wanted /h/ot/ dogs and /h/amburgers for dinner. Okay, now let's try it all together as a class. /h/appy the /h/eavy, /h/ungry dog wanted /h/ot/ dogs and /h/amburgers for dinner. Well done!"

6.  [Students take out primary pad and pencil] "Now that we have learned about the sound /h/, let us review how to write the letter h. Begin bouncing a ball at the rooftop straight down to the sidewalk, then bounce around to the fence and back to the sidewalk. [Demonstrate on board]. Try it five times and let me see how well you did!"

7.  "Let's take some time to make Happy the dog". [Give students paper plates, Popsicle sticks, googlie eyes, crayons, and construction paper] " I want you to take the paper plate and create a face for a dog. You may use all the other materials to create your dog puppet." [Allow time to make puppet] "Your puppets look great! I am going to read Happy Dog by Lisa Gribbs now and every time you hear /h/ I want you to hold your puppet up." [Read]

Assessment: To assess what the students have learned, we will play a game. The class should be evenly divided into two groups. Each student should receive a pre-made flash card with two words on it. The two groups will line up facing each other. We will begin at the front of the line. Group 1 will begin with the first student asking Group 2's first student if she/he hears /h/ in the two words on the flash card. If the student gets it right, the group gets a point. If not, the group does not get a point. [The teacher should take a running record of the individual child's answer]. Also, the teacher may present an award such as King and Queen H's of the day, but that is optional. Also, another optional assessment may be used by doing this individually instead of in a group.



Johnson, Jacob. Sneaky Snake. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/johnsonel.html

Gribbs, Lisa. Happy the Dog. Educational Insights 1990. New York, New York. p 1-9.

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