Terrific Talking T's

Emergent Readers

Lara Lee Hood

Rational:  Letter recognition and phoneme awareness are very important factors in early literacy. The goal of this lesson is to teach letter recognition for the letter t. The students will learn the sound that is made by the letter t and the mouth gestures that go along with the letter T. My goal is for the student to be able to recognize the upper and lower case letter t and be able to write them correctly. The student will also learn a hand gesture when writing the letter t.  My goal also is for the student to be able to recognize the phoneme in spoken letter of t as well as the letter when combined with other letters in the form of a word. Student will also be able to print the letter t and recognize it in print.




Primary paper

Tongue Twister

Chart paper with rhyming words

Book: Turtle Splash! Countdown at the Pond  By Cathryn Falwell (Illustrator)


      “Today’s lesson, we are going to be focusing on the letter t. Can anyone tell me what sound the letter t makes? (allow for response)Yes! It makes the t/u sound just like in the word t-ap. I want you to say the word t-ap and notice the shape your tongue and teeth make when you say the t sound in the word t-ap. Do you notice how your tongue touches the top of your mouth and then it hit you teeth? Yes! That’s the t sound. Great Job!”


“I’m going to show you what the letter t looks like and the correct way to write the letter t.” The letter T will be displayed near by on a poster board. “Ok class I will demonstrate the hand gesture for the upper case T: Let’s start at the housetop; go down to the sidewalk, and cross at the house top. Lower case: start below the housetop; go down to the sidewalk; but this time instead of crossing at the housetop we are going to cross at the fence. The upper case T is just like mommy and daddy because they are very tall and the lower case t is the just like the baby and he is smaller.”

 Now I will model how to use t by a tongue twister.  Now let’s say a funny tongue twister and see if we hear the t sound!  Tommy Tuberville takes the tiger transit to tiger town on Tuesday.  (tongue twister on chart paper).  We will draw out the t’s.

Next practice finding /t/ in spoken words and in written words.

Let’s see if we can find out new letter t in words that we say. 

Talk/loud, tease/mean, train/caboose, tall/short, tiger/lion 

Sometimes it may help to remember something if we put a motion with it. Let’s tap our feet three times and make the T-T-T- sound. “Now every time we tap lets say the sound that t. makes” As they are tapping at a steady pace they should be saying “t-t-t-t-t”

“Let’s try another tongue twister.  “Tom tried to tie Tammy’s Turtles tie.” I will read it first and then when I finish you read it two times along with me.  Now you try to read it alone, as I point to the words. “Very good” I am going to read it with you again very slow and every time you hear t sound I want you to tap your feet.  “T-om t-ried to t-ie T-ammy’s T-urtles t-ie”.  Next I will have the students come to the white board and have them circle the words that rhyme.  (tile/smile, talk/walk, train/pain)


     “Now it is time to hear a story.” “Today when we read our story, I want you to listen very carefully for the /t/ sound that we”ve been talking about.  What letter makes that sound?  Right!  The letter t!”  “Every time that you hear t sound in the story; I want you to tap your feet.” Teacher will do a brief book talk about the story; Turtle Splash! Countdown at the Pond. This story starts with ten timid turtles lounging in a line, and along comes a bull frog that startled the turtles. What do you think will happen? Let’s find out!



In order to assess what we have learned I will give the students a coloring sheet and ask them to color only the pictures that start with a /t/.



T-T-T Tapping Turtle by Pamela Bailey



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