Thirsty /th/

Beginning Reader
Megan Duncan

Rationale:  As students gain phoneme awareness it is important for them to learn digraphs that create phonemes.  This lesson focuses on the digraph th=/th/.  During the lesson students will work with words containing the /th/ digraph and will learn to pronounce and recognize /th/ in spoken and written words.


Tongue twister written on chart paper (The three thoughtful girls threw a party on Thursday)

Letter boxes for each student and teacher

Letters: t, h, e, i, s, n, b, a, m, c, k, r, d

Cards with the words:  the, this, then, bath, than, math, thin, thick, think, third

Popsicle stick with th at the top for every student

The poem TH is for Thumbs

Copy of the book This and That: The Sound of TH written by Peg Ballard and published by Child's World in October 1999 – for each student


1.  "The sounds that you hear in words are sometimes made by combining more than one letter.  Today we are going to talk about the sound that the two letters t and h make when they are put together.  When t and h are next to each other they sound like opening a can of coke."

2.  "Watch me as I say th.  Now everyone find a partner.  Look at your partner and watch their mouth as they say th.  Now switch.  How did your partner's mouth look when they said th?  When you say th your tongue touches your top teeth and you breathe out."

3.  Next, introduce the tongue twister:  The three thoughtful girls threw a party on Thursday.  Have the students say the tongue twister with you.  Model how to find the th sound in the words by stretching out the sound each time you hear it, then have them do it with you.

4.  "Now we are going to use our letter boxes to spell some words using th.  Because the t and  h pair up to create one sound they only need one box."  Have the students take out their letters and boxes.  "Watch as I spell the word than.  I will need three boxes because there are three sounds in the word than.  What do you hear at the beginning of the word tttthhh-a-n?  /Th/, very good.  Next is the a=/a/ sound, and then you hear n=/n/.  Now we have spelled th-a-n.  Next I want you to try a few on your own." 

5.  Have students spell the words:  (2) the; (3) this, then, bath, than, math, thin, thick;  (4) think, third

6.  After students have spelled the words hold up a card with each word written on it and have students volunteer to read the word from the card.

7.  To practice finding the th=/th/ sound in spoken words give each child a popsicle stick with the letters th written at the top.  Instruct the children to hold up the popsicle stick each time they hear the th sound as you read. 

8.  Read the following poem:

TH is for Thumbs

My thumbs help me do so much.
There's so much they can do.
Throw a ball. Pull a thread.
How about you?

Sewing's easy if I wear
a thimble on my thumb.
My thumbs are nimble
thanks to thimbles.
How about you?
Even though I like my toes
I can't throw a ball with those.
Thumbs help my fingers
throw humdingers.
How about you?

9.  "Now that we have listened for th we are going to practice looking for it."  Give each students a copy of the book This and That: The Sound of TH by Peg Ballard.  Pair the students and let them read the book to one another.  As they read circulate the room and listen to make sure all students are understanding the concept of th.

Assessment:  To assess the students' learning of the th=/th/ correspondence give each student a copy of the TH is for Thumbs passage that you read aloud earlier.  Have students circle the th correspondence each time it occurs in the passage.


Harris, Michelle.  Shhhhh!

Lombardi, Annette. TH – That's the Truth!

Ballard, Peg (1999).  This and That: The Sound of TH. Child's World.

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