The Choo Choo Train


Beginning Reading

Amanda Harry


Rationale: In order for children to read and spell words they need to understand that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  A way to help children understand this is by practicing correspondences, which is made of a grapheme and a phoneme.  In this lesson the students will learn the digraph /ch/. The purpose of this lesson is to teach children how to identify the correspondence /ch/ in written and spoken words.



Marker Board


Elkonian Boxes

Letter tiles: a, c(2), h, I, k, l, n, r, s, t, u, w

Worksheet with /ch/ words and pictures to match each word

Train Song by Ziefert, Harriet, 2000



1. Begin the lesson by explaining that not only do individual letters make sounds, but also sometimes two letters can be combined to make one sound.  Today we are going to learn about the /ch/ sound in written and spoken words. Ask students if they can think of any words with the /ch/ sound in it. Record the student���s answers. If students are having trouble understanding at first tell them and word with the /ch/ sound to get them started such as change.


2. Have you ever heard a train come roaring down the train tracks?  It makes a /ch/ sound.  This is the sound that we will be finding today in words.  Let's see if you can hear it when I say the word "chair".  Ch, Ch, Chhhhair.  Yes, I heard!  Did you hear the train sound /ch/, too?


3. Write the following sentence on the board. The Choo Choo Train Went Chasing Down the Long Stretch of Tracks. Have a student identify where the /ch/ sounds are in the sentence by underlining all of the /ch/ phonemes.


4.   Explain that the /ch/ phoneme is combined with c and h to make the /ch/ sound. Have students repeat the sentence over and over until they become faster and faster at it.


5. Next, have students work on a letterbox lesson using the phoneme /ch/. Ask the students if we should put the c and h in two different boxes or in one box together. Explain that sense the c and h make up one sound they should be placed in the same box.


6. Draw Elkonian boxes on the board and have students take out their letters and letterboxes. Have students work in groups of two during the lesson. Call out the words using each word in a sentence. Have students tell which letters went into each box and if they had any letters that were pairs. As students tell you which letters they chose to go into each box, fill in the Elkonian boxes drawn on the board.

Be sure to tell students how many boxes they will be using for each word!

Word list

3 phonemes: such, chain, chair, and chick


7. Have students read Train Song, by Harriet Ziefert. Call a student to come to the front of the room and read one page at a time from the book. Make a list on the board with the words with the /ch/ phonemes.


Assessment: Have children complete worksheet matching /ch/ phonemes with pictures. Students should track the word and draw a line from the word to the correct picture.



The Choo Choo Train by Misti Willoughby

 Train Song by Ziefert, Harriet, 2000 published by New York: Orchard Books

Assessment Worksheet:

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