Hungry Harry Needs Help!

Emergent Literacy

Cathryn Albright


Students need to learn the relationships between phonemes and graphemes before they can become fluent readers. In this lesson students will learn how to connect the phoneme /h/ with its grapheme H or h. Students will learn to recognize the phoneme /h/ in spoken and written language. Throughout the duration of this lesson, students will use tools such as pictures, gestures, tongue ticklers, and decodable texts to help them develop their awareness of the /h/ phoneme.


1. Tongue tickler written on poster board

2. Picture of panting runner (

3. Hungry Harry  by Joan Partis

4. Worksheet ( 

5. Primary writing paper and pencils for students


1. Show picture of panting runner. Say: Does anyone in here like to run? I do but running makes me really tired.  When I get tired I breathe very heavily. Does anyone else do this when they are tired? Can anyone demonstrate how they breathe when they are tired?  Allow students to show the class how they breathe when they are tired.

2. Say: Now I am going to show you how I breathe after I run. Model the sound that a panting runner makes by verbalizing the phoneme /h/ and pumping the arms.

Say: Now I want you to practice breathing heavily and pumping your arms as you breathe.  Does everyone hear the /h/ sound that we are making? Today we are going to practice finding the /h/ sound in words. Let's practice making the /h/ sound. When you make the /h/ sound is your mouth open or closed? Notice how the air moves from the back of your mouth to the front.

3. Show students the cover of Hungry Harry. Ask the students what they think the story will be about after viewing the front cover. Say: Today we are going to be reading Hungry Harry. Harry is a frog who needs our help. He has to find food so he doesn't starve! Do you think we can help Harry? We'll have to read and find out!

4. Say: Before we can help Harry, the students have to be able to find the /h/ sound. Let's practice our h's using a little tongue ticker. Show students written tongue tickler on poster.

Say: Hungry Harry's hamster had five hamburgers. Now you try. The students will then practice this tongue tickler several times.

5. Say: Now I am going to name some different types of food that Harry might like. If you hear /h/ breathe heavily and pump your arms: hotdog. chicken, honey, cheeseburger, hamburger, hash-browns, honeydew, eggs, ham.

6. Say: Now I think we are ready to read. If we want to help hungry Harry, we will have to listen very carefully for the /h/ sound. Each time you hear /h/ breathe heavily and pump your arms. Listen as I give you an example. I am reading the title Hungry Harry, so I will breathe heavily and pump my arms because I hear /h/ is Hhhhhungry and Hhhhharry. Does everyone understand what we are doing? The teacher should read the book aloud and pause each time the /h/ sound appears.

7. Students should take out primary writing paper and a pencil. Say: Now we are going to practice writing the letter H that is used to represent the /h/ sound. To make a capital H we need two straight lines coming down from the rooftop and reaching all the way down to the sidewalk (model as explaining). Then we need to make another line connecting the first two along the fence. I want everyone to make a row of H's on their own paper. Now we are going to learn the lowercase h. Start at the rooftop and draw a line down to the sidewalk. Then go back up to the fence, making a frowning mouth, and go back down to the sidewalk. Now I want everyone to practice writing lowercase h's on your own paper.

For an assessment, the students will complete a worksheet where they will color in the words that begin with /h/.


Murray, Bruce. Emergent Literacy Design: Brush Your Teeth with F.

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

Picture of panting runner:

Assessment worksheet:

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