The Hot Dog

An Emergent Literacy Lesson Design

Created By: Brianne Arps

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /h/, the phoneme represented by h. Students will learn to easily recognize /h/ in daily spoken words by learning an engaging  representation (a hot, panting dog), practice finding /h/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /h/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing words that begin with h from other similar words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, poster of "Holly has a happily heavy hen," crayons, Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham (Random House, 1960), word cards with HAND, HAM, HILL, HOG, KIND, BEAT, LATE, assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /h/.


1. Say: "Today we are going to concentrate on the letter h. Now, we are going to work on how our mouth moves as we pronounce /h/. We spell /h/ with the letter h. When pronouncing /h/ it is like dog that is hot. Think about a dog when it is really hot outside. What does the dog do?" (Allow students to demonstrate) "Yes! A dog pants when it is outside!"

2. Say: "Let's pretend we are dogs and we are really hot and thirsty. Let's practice. / h /, / h /,  / h /." [Mimic panting] "When we say / h / notice how our mouths open and air comes out." [Demonstrate]

3. Say: "Let me show you how to find /h/ in the word home. I am going to stretch the word home out very slowly and you listen for the panting dog sound. Hhhh-ooooooo-mmmm(e). There it was! My mouth opened and I felt the air come out of my mouth like a hot panting dog. The /h/ sound is in the word home!"

4. Say: "Let's try the tongue twister" [on poster]. " Holly has a happily heavy hen. Everybody say it three times together." [Students recite sentence] "Now, we are going to say it again. But, this time we are going to stretch the /h/ at the beginning of the words. "Hhholly hhhas a hhhappilly hhheavy hhhen". Try it again but this time we are going to break the /h/ sound away from the words. "/h/ olly /h/ as a /h/ appily /h/ eavy /h/ en"

5. [Have students take out primary paper and a pencil] Say: "We use the letter h to spell /h/. Let's write the lowercase h. First, make a straight line starting at the rooftop and going down until it touches the sidewalk. From the same spot, we will hop back up to touch the fence and curve down back on the sidewalk". Say: "I want to see everybody's h in the classroom. I want each of you to practice writing your h eight times."

6. Call on students to answer the following questions. Ask them to explain how they knew the answer. "Do you hear /h/ in hot or cold? Happy or Sappy? Heap or leap? Held or yelled? Half or laugh? Late or Hate?" Say: "Let's see if you can spot the mouth moves /h/ in some different words. Pant like a dog if you hear /h/: Howard, had, a, big, horse, and hated, to, hear, Harris, howl."

7. Say: "Let's read the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. We are going to be /h/ detectives! You are going to listen and pant like a dog when you hear the /h/ sound while I read the book aloud. Dr. Seuss tells us about a character who is very picky and does not like green eggs and ham." [Read story aloud, making sure students are panting when they hear /h/]

8. Say: "Can you think of any other words that have the /h/ sound? Now, we are going to make up our very own /h/ creatures!" Ask students to come up with a creature name that features /h/ such as Hippy-Hoppy-Helen. Then, have each student write their silly creature's name, using invented spelling, and draw a picture of their creature. Display work around the room.

8. Show word card with HOP and model how to determine if it is hop or mop: Say: "The h tells me to pant, /h/, so this word is hhh-op. You try some: HAD: had or dad? HILL: hill or pill? HAM: ham or yam? KIND: kind or hind? MEAT: meat or heat? DATE: date or late?"

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



Bruce Murray. Emergent Literacy Lesson. "Brush Your Teeth with F"

Jessica Klida.. Emergent Literacy Design "Hot Hound Dog!"


Giesel, T. (Dr. Seuss). Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. Random House, 1960.


Assessment Worksheet:


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