It’s Time for Teaching!

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By Kelsey Fourroux


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the /t/ sound, the phoneme that is represented by T. Students need to learn about the letters of the alphabet in order for them to decode and blend and be successful readers. Students will learn how to recognize /t/ in spoken words and the symbol T in written words. We will use the /t/ sound has the ticking sound on a clock along with the hand motion of moving your arm like the second hand on the clock to help students learn about the letter T.


Materials: Primary paper, pencil, Chart with “Tommy took away Tim’s tiny train,” book Tilly Turtle Came to Tea, Assessment worksheet (linked in Resources)



1. Say: Our written language may look scary, but we are going to learn one letter at a time so we can learn how to read. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for and how our mouth moves in different ways to make different words. Today we are going to look at the letter T. This letter makes the /t/ sound. It sounds like the ticking sound the hands on the clock make. Also you can hear the /t/ sound in the word time, which can help you remember the /t/ sound in time and on the clock.

2. Say: Let’s pretend to be the hands on the clock and do this motion with me (moving forearm like a hand on the clock) and let’s make the /t/ sound as we do it to represent the sound the clock makes. When we say /t/, our tongue touches the top of mouth right behind our teeth. Remember touch, top, teeth.

3. Say: Now we are going to stretch out the word time. Did you notice where we made the /t/ sound? It was at the beginning of the word time where our tongue touched the top of our mouth.

4. Say: Now let’s do a tongue twister! “Tommy took away Tim’s tiny train.” Now let’s say it together (make sure to enunciate the /t/ sound). Okay, now we are going to separate the /t/ sound from the words in the tongue twister.  “TTTTTommy ttttook away TTTTTim’s tttttiny tttttrain.”

5. Say: Now I am going to say two words at a time and I want you to tell me in which word do you hear the /t/ sound. Remember it is the sound a clock makes. Do you hear /t/ in cat or dog? I hear the /t/ sound at the end of cat. Do you hear /t/ in chair or table? I hear the /t/ sound at the beginning of the word table. Do you hear /t/ in foot or hand? I hear the /t/ sound at the end of the word foot. Etc. Make your hand tick like a clock if you hear the /t/ sound in the words I call out. Fog, time, sing, hat, box, top, pot, etc.

6. Say: Now we are going to write the letter capital and lowercase letter t on your primary paper. The uppercase T is a straight line from the roof to the sidewalk with a short little line along the roof. The lowercase t is also a line straight down from the roof to the sidewalk with a little line crossing it, but this time the little line is on the fence. Let’s try it a couple of times and I will check your work.

7. Say: Now we are going to look at a book together called “Tilly Turtle Came to Tea.” This book is about a turtle named Tilly you has a tea party with her friends Tiger and Toad. Tilly is having such a good time laughing that she accidently knocks over the table spilling the tea! Now we will have to read it to find out what happens.

8. Say: Now let’s look at some of the words from the book. How do we know these words have the /t/ sound. The letter “t” is a straight line, with another line crossing through the center of it. (Draw a picture of “t” on the board for students to see) Let’s look at the word tea and glee. How do we know which one has the letter “t”? Hold up one finger for the word tea and two fingers for the word glee to tell me which one has the letter “t”. Can you hear the ticking of the clock in that sound?  

Assessment: Worksheet identifying pictures that have the /t/ sound in them.




Apple Clock [image]. Retrieved from


Noie Yancey. Oh, Oh, My Knee Hurts. Retrieved from


T. Smith Publishing. Beginnning Sound of Letter T (2008). Retrieved from


Pugliano-Martin, Carol. AlphaTales: When Tilly Turtle Came to Tea. Scholastic Inc. 2001.


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