Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tic...BOOM!  Dynamite!

Emergent Literacy



Kathleen Griffin


Rationale:  Phonemic awareness is the second best predictor of reading success (Adams, 40); therefore, children learning the sounds of letters and the symbols representing those sounds is crucial to their learning to read skillfully.  This lesson is meant to help children identify /t/, the phoneme represented by T.  Students will be taught to recognize /t/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful name and gesture (Time ticks-/t/,/t/,/t/,/t/,/t/) and the letter symbol T, practice finding /t/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /t/ in phonetic cue reading by finding the /t/ sound between two rhyming words.


Materials:  Picture of time bomb with clock, Chart paper with Tick-tock said the ticking time bomb, written on it; primary paper; pencils; Ten Apples Up on Top (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1961) by Dr. Seuss; index cards with words:  TALL, TAR, TAP, TAKE, TAN written on them; assessment worksheets for each student



1.  Say:  We have many letters in our alphabet! We have 26!  Each letter makes different sounds when we move our mouths in different ways.  Each letter also has a special way to draw them; they all look different!  Today we are going to learn about the sound /t/.  Can you say /t/ with me?  The way we spell the sound /t/ is with the letter T.  /t/ sounds like a clock hand ticking around the clock on a time bomb (/t/,/t/,/t/,/t/) and T looks like the hand of a clock. 


2.  Say:  Now, look at the clock.  Do you see the hand of the clock?  The letter I drew over the clock hand is the letter T.  Let us pretend we are a ticking time clock waiting for dynamite to go off.  When we say /t/, point to your wrist like you are pointing to a ticking watch.  (Point to wrist and sound /t/, /t/, /t/, /t/).  We sound like a clock hand moving around the clock!  When we say /t/ this time, think about how our lips are open and our tongue touches the tops of our mouths. 


3.  Say:  Now, I want you to put on your listening ears and I am going to show you how to find /t/ in the word bright.  Listen for /t/ as I stretch out the word bright real slowly: briiigghhht, bbbrrrrriiiiiggggggghhhhht.  There it is at the end because I heard the /t/ ticking sound and my tongue touched the top of my mouth! 


4.  Pull out the charted tongue tickler and say:  let us try a tongue tickler with our ticking time bomb /t/ Tick-tock said the ticking time bomb: let us all say that together three times.  Now, when you hear the t sound, hold it before saying the rest of the word: Tick tock said the ticking time bomb.  Now, when you hear the /t/ sound, pause before you say the rest of the word: T-ick, t-ock, said the t-icking t-ime bomb.


5.  Say:  Now boys and girls, take out your (primary) paper and pencil.  We write the /t/ sound with the letter T.  The letter T looks like the hand of a clock on our ticking time bomb.  Now, are going to practice writing a lower-case t.  The lower case t is not as tall as his daddy, T.  To write the lower case t, watch me:  you drop your pencil a little lower the rooftop and draw a straight line all the way down the sidewalk.  Then, cross in at the sidewalk.  Now that I have shown you how to write a t, everyone write a lowercase t on your paper 10 times.  


6.  Call on students to answer and how they knew:  Do you hear /t/ in tiny or small?  Big or tall?  Say or tell?  Toe or finger?   Now, I want everyone to point to your wrist like you are pointing to a watch when you hear the /t/ sound in this sentence:  Ten, turtles, were, sitting, on, a, tiny, log.


7.  Say:  Now, we are going to look at the book, Ten Apples Up on Top.  The dog starts out with two apples up on top.  We will have to read the rest to see how many apples he can put up on top.  While we read, let us draw out the sound /t/ and point to our wrists when we hear it!  After reading the book, students will write 2 sentences about Tom the Tiger and include as many words that begin with the /t/ sound as they can.  Students can use invented spelling and when they are done, they may draw their story.


8.  Show an index card with TOP on it and model how to decide if it is TOP or HOP.  /t/ sounds like a ticking clock and your tongue touches the top of your mouth, so the sound /t/ is in top.  Now, boys and girls, you try some:  TALL:  tall or hall?  TAP:  cap or tap?  TAR:  car or tar?  TAKE:  make or take?  TAN:  pan or tan?


Assessment: I will handout the worksheet.  Students will complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with T.  This shows me that they correlate the sound /t/ with the beginning sound of the word (of the picture drawn).  Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


I will also assess their writing of the lower case t on their primary paper to ensure they know how to correctly draw a t.



Murray, Bruce. Reading Genie website.  


Daughtry, Sarah.  Reading Genie website.  Huff and Puff with P



Adams, Marilyn Jager, Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print, Illinois,

Center for the Study of Reading, 1990, 148.


Ten Apples Up on Top.  Dr. Seuss.  Random House Books for Young Readers, 1961


Assessment worksheet:  http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/t-begins2.htm


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