Chugging along with Charlie, the old Car

Emergent Literacy Lesson

Janie Brady

Rationale: This lesson will help children to identify /ch/ represented by ch. Children will learn to recognize /ch/ within spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (chugging along with Charlie, the car) and the letter symbol ch. This lesson will also help children practice finding /ch/ in words through phonetic cue reading.


Primary paper

Tongue tickler printed

Picture of car, word cards

Writing utensil

Assessment worksheets printed


1. Say: "We know that letters by themselves make a sound. What sound does C make? What sound does H make? Today, we are going to work on what C and H say when they are next to each other in a word! Let's pay attention to the way our mouth moves when we /ch/. Let's try it. We spell /ch/ with the letters CH. An old car makes the /ch/ sound as it is chugging along the road. It sounds like "ch, ch, ch, ch".

2. Let's pretend we are riding in Charlie the chugging car. Let's copy the sound the car makes "/ch/ /ch/ /ch/ /ch/." Notice where your tongue is when you say /ch/ touching the roof of your mouth). When we say /ch/ we let out air we trapped behind our tongue.

3. "Let me show you how to find /ch/ in the word match. I'm going to stretch match out in super slow motion and listen for the sound the train makes when it is going down the tracks. mmmaaatttcccchhhh. There it is. It is at the end of the word. I felt my tongue touch the roof of my mouth and then let out the air. I can feel the chugging car sound, /ch/."

4. Let's try a tongue twister. [on flashcard]. "Cheerful Chase chose to eat Cheesy Cheetos." Let's say it three times together. Now let's say it again and this time stretch the CH at the beginning of the words. "cccchhhheerful cccchhhhhase cccchhhhose to eat cccchhheesy cccchhheetos."

5. [The student will now take out a piece of primary paper and a pencil] We use the letters CH to spell /ch/. Let's write a lowercase C and a lowercase H. To write a lowercase C we start just below the fence then we curl our line down to the left until we touch the side walk, it should look like half of a circle between the fence and sidewalk. To write a lowercase H we start by drawing a straight line from the rooftop down to the sidewalk. Next we make a curve that touches the line we just made starting at the fence and we go all the way down to the sidewalk on the right side. After you write the C and the H let me see and once I put a check on your paper I want you to make 8 more just like them.

6. Now I am going to tell you some words two at a time and I want you to tell me which word you hear the /ch/ sound in. Ready?

chip or sip

lunch or dinner

wrench or screw

sand or beach

chocolate or vanilla

7. Read Chips for Chicks on The Reading Genie website ( Boot Talk: This story is about a boy and a girl who are playing baby chicks and a dog. While they are eating lunch, the dog snatches away their chips! What are they going to do to get their chips back from the dog?!

8. Say:  That was a fun story!  Now I am going to show you some words on cards and I am going to read them aloud and I want you to listen and tell me if they have the /ch/ sound. If they do give me a thumbs up and if they don't show me a thumbs down.

[show cards]

Watch, chips, pillow, pan, cookies, sandwich, fries, vegetables, chicken, spinach, fish


Distribute the worksheet. 


-         In the first section, color in the words that start with /ch/. In the second section, color in words that end in /ch/.

-         Circle whether the object in the picture starts with /ch/, ends with /ch/, or doesn't have a /ch/.


-         Sara Beasley; The Train Says Choo Choo


-     Old Car GIF -


Click here to return to the Expeditions index.