H, H, Huffing and Puffing

Emergent Literacy Design

Liz Cosper

Rationale: This lesson is designed to help students recognize the /h/ phoneme which is represented by the letter H. Students will learn to recognize /h/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (wiping the forehead with a hand while panting).  Students will also learn to recognize the letter symbol H.  The students will practice finding /h/ in words and will apply phoneme awareness with /h/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Primary paper and pencil; Chart with "Haley has a horrible headache and hates to hear Henry howl"; The Bernstein Bears: The Big Honey Hunt (Beginner Books, 1962); Drawing paper and crayons; Words cards with HAT, HEN, SEAT, FIND, HAND, and HARM; Assessment worksheet with /h/ (URL Below)


1. Say: "Our language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what each letter stands for in the alphabet.  Today, we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /h/.  We spell /h/ with H.  The /h/ sounds like a runner all out of breath (panting)."

2. "Now, pretend that we have gone for a long run and that you are all out of breath (panting).  Let's pretend /h/ /h/ /h/ (wiping our foreheads like we are tired).  What is your mouth doing while we pant?? (open and circular)  When we say /h/, our mouth is wide open and air is blown out."

3. "Let me show you how to find /h/ in the word help.  I am going to stretch help in super slow motion and listen for my panting.  Hhhh-eee-lp. Slower: Hhhhhhh-e-e-e-e-e-e-llllll-p. I heard the /h/!! I felt my mouth open wide and felt the panting /h/ in help." 

4. "Now, let's try a tongue twister (on chart).  "Haley has a horrible headache and hates to hear Henry howl."   Everybody say the tongue twister three times together.  Next, say the tongue twister again, but this time stretch the /h/ at the beginning of the words.  "Hhhaley hhhas a hhhorrible hhheadache and hhhates to hhhear Hhhenry hhhowl."  Try the tongue twister again, and this time break /h/ off of the word: /h/ aley  /h/ as  a  /h/ orrible      /h/ eadache  and  /h/ ates  to  /h/ ear  /h/enry  /h/ owl."  

5. (Have students take out primary paper and pencil.)  "We use letter H to spell /h/.  Capital H looks like the finish line of a race.  Let's write the lowercase h.  Start at the rooftop and drop a straight line to the sidewalk.  Then go to the fence and make a little bump like n from the line down to the sidewalk.  After I put a smile on your paper, I want you to make nine more of lowercase h."

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew the answer: Do you hear /h/ in has or sun? jump or help? hog or cat? cold or hot? Say: "Who can spot the open mouth /h/ in some words? Put your hand across your forehead if you hear /h/: The, hungry, hog, wanted, red, daisies, to, hang, high, in, the, house."  

7. Say: "Now we are going to read a book called The Big Honey Hunt by Stan and Jan Bernstein.   Mama Bear told Papa Bear that the family needed some honey.  Papa Bear wants to take Small Bear with him to get the honey.  Papa Bear did not listen to Mama Bear when she told him to go to the store to buy honey.  Instead, Papa Bear took Small Bear to follow a bee so that they would not have to buy the honey.  We have to read the story to find out what is going to happen with Papa Bear and Small Bear and the honey!"  Throughout the story, every time we come across the /h/ phoneme, the students will rub their hands across their foreheads and pant.  After reading the story, each student will develop an H word and draw a picture to go with that word. "Can you think of any more words with /h/?  If so, can you write down the word and draw a picture about the word?  If not, I will be walking around to help so just raise your hand."   

8. Show HEN card and model how to decide if it is Hen or pen: The H tells me to start panting, /h/, so this word is hhhh-en, hen. You try some: HAND: hand or land? SEAT: neat or seat? FIND: find or hind? HAND: hand or sand? HARM: harm or farm?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet.  Students are to cut out the words that have the phoneme /h/and are to glue those words in the spaces.  Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8. 





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