Tappin' Along with T

Emergent Literacy Design

Katherine Carnes


Rationale: Students will learn to recognize /t/, the phoneme represented by T. Students will learn to recognize /t/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (tapping) 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.


·         Chart paper (three pieces – one of which should have the tongue tickler in step 4 written on it prior to lesson and another with the words from step 9)

·         Marker to write on chart

·         Primary paper for each student

·         Pencils for each student

·         "Ted and Tim" PowerPoint book

·         Journals for students

·         Worksheets for each student

·         Phonetic cue reading cards with words from step #9


1. Say: "Our language is like a secret code. The part that makes it hard is learning what sounds the letters make. Today, we are going to learn about the sound /t/. We spell /t/ with the letter T. The letter T makes a sound like when you tap your fingers on your desk, /t/.

2. Let's tap on our desks while making the /t/ sound. Notice how you make that sound. You push your tongue up to the top of your mouth behind your teeth and block the air. Then, you quickly release it. It sounds like tapping.

3. Let me show you how to find /t/ in the word raft. I'm going to stretch the word out in slow motion and listen for my tapping /t/ sound. Rrr-aaa-aafff-tttt, Slower: rrr-aaaa-aaaaaffff-ttttt. I found it! I felt my tongue touch the top of my mouth and block the air at the end of the word raft.

4. Let's try a tongue tickler [written on chart]. "Tim took Tom to Tiger Town." Everyone say it together three times. Now let's say it emphasize the /t/ at the beginning of each word. "Tim took Tom to Tiger Town." Try it again, but this time, separate the /t/ from the rest of the word. "/t/ im  /t/ ook  /t/ om  /t/ o  /t/ iger  /t/ own."

5. [Have students get out pencils and primary paper]. We use letter T to spell /t/. Let's practice writing upper and lowercase T's. To write a capital T, go down and cross at the top. I'm going to come around and check your capital T's, after I check it, I want you to write nine more. [After all students have completed capital T's], a lowercase t is like a younger T. You cross at the fence. Again, I'll come around and check, then, write nine more.

6. Ask these questions to the class, and, after each one, ask a student to explain how they knew the answer:

·         Do you hear /t/ in tough or rough?

·         Do you hear /t/ in rat or rack?

·         Do you hear /t/ in take or rake?

·         Do you hear /t/ in stiff or lip?

·         Do you hear /t/ in shape or shout?

7. In the following words, I want you to tap on your desk if you hear /t/:

·         Tape

·         Late

·         Gap

·         Stop

·         Joke

8. We're going to read "Ted and Tim." This is a story about twin boys who feed their fish chips. There are a lot of tapping T's in this book, so whenever you hear one, I want you to tap your desk once. [After reading the story], what are some other things Ted could have brought Tim that start with our tapping /t/? [Have children discuss other things, write about them, and then draw them in their journals].

9. Let me show you how to decide if this word [TOE, written on chart] is toe or row. This letter t tells me to tap, tttt-O. Toe. Now you try:

·         TOP: top or mop

·         PORK: port or pork

·         OUCH: out or ouch

·         TACK: tack or rack

·         MAT: mash or mat

10. For assessment, have the children do the worksheet (http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/t-ends1.htm). Have students individually come read the phonetic cue words from step #9.


"Tttick Tttock Said the Clock" by Jessica Heron



"Ted and Tim" by Amanda Merkel



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