Emergent Literacy Design - "Tttick Goes the Clock"

By: Christine Acker


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /t/, the phoneme represented by T. Students will learn to recognize /t/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (clock ticking) and the letter symbol T, practice finding /t/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /t/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with “The clock goes TTTick TTTick”; primary paper; pencil; tongue tickler card; flashcards with /t/ words such as TIME, TIPS, HITS, and PUT; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /t/ (URL below).



1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for—the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /t/.  We spell /t/ with letter T The /t/ sounds like a clock ticking.  When the clock ticks, its hand moves at the same time.


2. Let's pretend to a clock ticking,  /t/, /t/, /t/. [Pantomime moving your hands with the /t/ sound.] Notice where your tongue is? (Touching tongue). When we say /t/, we put our tongue to the top of our mouth.


3. Let me show you how to find /t/ in the word talk.  I'm going to stretch talk out in super slow motion and listen for my ttt goes the clock sound.  Ttt-a-l-k.  Slower: Ttt-a-a-lll-k There it was!  I felt my tongue hit the roof of my mouth. I can hear myself say /t/ in talk.


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. “ Tod talks to Timmy on the telephone.” Everybody say it three times together and don’t forget let your tongue hit the rough of your mouth each time you hear /t/. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /t/ at the beginning of the words. “ TTTTod tttalks ttto Ttttimmy on the tttelephone.” Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “/T/od /t/alks /t/o /T/immy on the /t/elephone.”


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter T to spell /t/. Capital T looks like a hammer.  Let's write the lowercase letter t. Start at the rooftop, then trace all the way down to the sidewalk.  Lift your pencil and then draw another line straight across the sidewalk.  Then you’ll have a little t. After I put a check by it, I want you to make nine more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /t/ in talk or chalk? Taste or feel?  Tip or tod? Try or bye? Trick or Lick? Say: Let's see if you can spot the tongue move /t/ in some words. Move your arm when you hear /t/: fish, tickle, bug, horse, not, hit, talk, fox.


7. Show TOP and model how to decide if it is top or mop: The T tells me to move my arm like a ticking clock while my tongue hits the roof of my mouth, /t/, so this word is ttt-op, top.  You try some: TIP: tip or hip? TRACK: track or lack? FAKE: fake or take?


8. For assessment, distribute the worksheet.  Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with T. Call student individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #7.


Reference: Bruce Murray Toothbrush design.