Thump, Thump, Thump says Thinking Thumper


By: Jessica Penny


Beginning to Read


Rationale: In this lesson, students will learn a commonly used consonant digraph, and the sound that its two consonants make when put together.  This lesson focuses on the correspondence th = /th/.  In order to be a fluent reader, students grow an understanding that consonants can be put together and will result in a new sound, which is called a digraph.  For example, in this lesson, th = /th/. We will focus on this digraph in speech and print, and the students will use this digraph to write words. It is also important for students to know and understand that this digraph does not always have to be at the beginning of the word.



 - Large Poster with Tongue Twister (Theodore gave them three things) written out on it

 - Letter boxes for each student

 - Letter tiles for each student (letters: a, b, e, f, h, h, i, k, l, n, o, r, s, t, t, u, w)

- LBL words written out on cards (thin, bathe, wrath, those, with, thank, truth, health, thrift)

- Copy of the poem TH is for Thumbs By: Annette Lombardi for each student on half sheets of cardstock

- List of pseudowords on index cards (thop, theg, thard, thibble)  

-  Assessment Worksheet for each student



1. ''We've learned all of the different letters of the alphabet, but did ya'll know that when you put two letters together they can make a whole different sound?''  I will write the letters th on the board. ''Does anyone know what sound th makes?  That is right, /th/!  You all sound like thinking thumpers!  Everyone tap your foot on the floor, just like Thumper from the movie Bambi and say /th/''  

2. ''Can you tell what your mouth is doing when you say /th/? You are placing your tongue in between your top and bottom teeth and blowing out air while your mouth is slightly open.  Let's practice making that noise as we say thinking thumper.  I am going to say it really slow and listen for the /th/ sound and tap your foot like Thumper when you hear it!  Thhhhhiinnnkkkinnngggg Thhhhummppeerrr.  There it was! I placed my tongue in-between my teeth and blew out.''  

3. Let's try a tongue twister together. ''Theodore gave them three things. Let's all say it together and stretch out the /th/ sound.  Thhheodore gave thhhhem thhhhree thhhhings. Let's say it one more time and tap your foot like Thumper when you hear /th/. /Th/eodore gave /th/em /th/ree /th/ings.''

4. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: ''Do you hear /th/ in thought or bought? Thrill or will? Teeth or tongue? Cough or breath''

5. Now we are going to practice spelling and reading words that have /th/ in them.  ''Great!  Now, I want everyone to get out their letterboxes and get their tiles out.  Everyone look up to the board while I show you how to spell words with your letterboxes. I put six letters up on the overhead.  Our first word is thrift. The letters t and h together make what sound? That's right it is /th/! I put both the letters t and h in the first box because they make the /th/ sound together.  Our second sound we hear is /r/.  We put that one in our second letterbox.  Then what sound do we hear? That's right, our vowel /i/! I put that one in my third letterbox.  Our next sound is /f/, and it goes in the fourth letter box.  Our last sound is /t/. We put that in our fifth letterbox.  So now I want you to spell a few words with your tiles just like I did.''  I will read out the words individually and say a sentence after I read the word.  I will tell the students how many letterboxes to use so they know how many sounds the word has.  The following words will be used: thin, bathe, wrath, those, with (3); thank, truth, health (4). thrift (5). I will walk around while students spell the words.  If they need help and cannot self correct I will help them.  After the students have put all the words in letter boxes, I will hold up large cards with each word written on them, one at a time, and the students will read aloud what the card says.  If I hear student(s) struggling with a word, I will return to that word and model reading it.  And then I will let students come up to the over head and model reading them in front of the class.

6. As an activity and assessment the students, use the poem below.

TH is for Thumbs

By: Annette Lombardi Annette

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?

''Ok students; now let's practice listening for the /th/ sound in spoken words.  I'm going to read you a poem, and I want you to thump your foot on the floor when you hear a /th/ sound.'' Read poem, threw one time.  ''Great! You all did a great job of hearing the /th/ sound and thumping your feet.''  Pass out a copy of the poem to each student and allow them to circle the words with /th/ in them.  Also, they will pair up and practice reading the poem to each other.  ''Now, I want you to circle the words with /th/ in them as you and your partner read this poem aloud to one another.  While you are doing that, I am going to call you each up to my desk to read some words for me.'' 


7. Assessment: Assess each child's reading with pseudowords: (thop, theg, thard, thibble).  This assessment will show /th/ miscues.  Also, take up the poems and check and see if the students were able to recognize the grapheme /th/ by circling the words with /th/ in it.  Lastly, assess students by giving them the phoneme awareness worksheet attached.




Amy Harris, Chirping Chicks


Assessment Worksheet:



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


Bridget Clabby, Chuck the Chimp Chomps on Cheese


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


Megan Duncan, Thirsty /th/

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