Hank the Phoneme-Finding

 Hound Dog

Beginning Reading Lesson Design

Sharon Masterson


Rationale: Children should recognize the phonemes that are represented by letters in spoken words so that they can learn to read and spell words; one part of this process is recognizing individual phonemes. This lesson will help children identify the phoneme /h/. They will learn to identify /h/ by using a tongue twister. They will also determine if /h/ is in a spoken word, represent /h/ on paper, and they will play a game to practice finding the phoneme /h/ in words.  


Materials: "Hank the Hound Dog " on paper, words for phonetic cues in step 7, primary paper, pencils, items that begin with /h/ placed around the room (heart, house, hotel, hen, etc.)



1.    Introduce the lesson by telling students that they will be phoneme detectives. Phoneme detectives look for clues to help them figure out the mouth movements that letters represent. Our phoneme mystery for today will be the phoneme /h/. Hank, our trust hound dog, will be helping us with our mystery.

2.    When Hank is tired after spending all day looking for phoneme clues, he breathes like this (pant like a dog /h/ /h/ /h/). Well that noise is a clue for our phoneme mystery. I want everyone to practice panting like Hank (have everyone practice together).  What does your mouth do when you're panting like Hank does? Where is your tongue when it happens? When Hank pants he puts his paws up like this (hold hands up like paws at chest level) so when we make Hank's panting sound, let's use our paws, too.

3. Now Hank, the mystery solving hound dog, has so many friends that help him solve his phoneme mysteries and they are all so furry! So we can say, "Hank the hound dog has hundreds of hairy friends"

Let's say it together

-Let's strrreeetchh out the /h/ at the beginning of the words together, "Hhhhhhank the hhhhound dog hhhhas hhhhundreds of hhhhhairy friends."

-This time let's separate the /h/ from the rest of the word when we say it, "/h/ank the /h/ound dog /h/as /h/undreds of /h/ airy friends."

4. Pass out the primary paper and pencils.

- There is another clue we can use to find /h/ in words. We can use the letter h at the beginning of words to represent /h/. A capital H is made by starting at the roof then bringing it down to the sidewalk then creating another line just like it with a small space in between next to it, with a line to connect them on the fence. For lowercase h, we start at the rooftop, come all the way down to the sidewalk and hump over at the fence and bring it back to sidewalk .  (say while modeling the way to create an h). Practice making your own h on your paper now.

5. Now I am going to show you how to find /h/in words. Let's see if the word leg has /h/ in it. "lllll-eeee-gggg" nope I never heard Hank's panting noise in that word. Let's see if the word heart has /h/ in it. "hhhhhh-eeeaaarrr-ttt" yep I heard our clue of Hank's panting in the beginning of heart so I know it has the /h/ phoneme and the letter h in it.

6. Let's listen and see if we can hear Hank the Hound dog panting in… house or room? Fall or hat? Help or yell? Hand or arm? Bat or hit?

(have the words written or typed on a piece of paper) We use H to write the /h/ sound. Is this hand or band? Is this mouse or house? Is this hen or pen?

7. Have a book to read with the letter H emphasized, I chose The Big Honey Hunt by Stanley and Janice Berenstain. Give a book talk and then have a shared reading with it where you have the children listen for the /h/ clue and see if they recognize the letter h in the book.

8. Separate students into groups of 3 or 4. They are going to be detectives and need to look around the room to see if they can find item(s) that begin with /h/. When they get back to their seat, each student needs to write a sentence about one item that their group found.


9. To assess the students, look at each sentence written, check to see if they wrote the item with the letter h at the beginning of the word. Invented spelling is fine, as long as they found the /h/ in the beginning of the item's name.


Reference: Yopp, H.K., & Yopp, R.H. (2000). Supporting phonemic awareness development in the classroom. The Reading Teacher. P. 54, 130, 135-143.


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