The Talking /T/

Emergent Literacy Design

Kristin Bunyard


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the consonant sound/t/ that is represented by T. The students will learn to identify this letter by using a visual cue “Timmy the tool man”. This will remind them of this sound and help them use it in their readings. They will have to apply phoneme awareness with /t/ in a phonetic cue reading.



Picture of hammer

White board






1.     It is time to introduce the letter and picture cue. For the letter /t/ you will call yourself “Timmy the tool man”, and move your hand in a motion that resembles someone hammering and with each stroke make the /t/ sound. Example: Can you tap like a hammer?

Gesture: Act like you are hammering in a nail.


2.     Now write “Tammy taught Tommy to take time tossing tomatoes” on the whiteboard and read it aloud to the class,

“Stretch it:  Tttttammy ttttaught Tttttomy ttto ttttake ttttime ttttossing ttttomatoes…” Then show them another way to break the words down by splitting it:” T-ammy t-aught T-ommy t-o t-ake t-ime t-ossing t-omatoes. . .”

3.     Using a mirror we will watch what our mouths do when we say the letter /t/. We will talk about how it is a voiced letter and you have to open your mouth to say it. /T/ also stands for time and you can remember this by the ticks each second makes.

4.     Now introduce the tongue tickler verbally and have the students repeat after you, “time ticks today and tomorrow”. By this point the students should have this letter correspondence down.

5.     It is time for finding the letter in a word.

Let's see if time t /t/ is in let. Listen closely to see if you hear the hammer. L-l-l-l-e-e-e-t. L-e-e-e-e-t-t-t-t P-p-p-e-e-e-st. P-e-e-e-sss. . . There, in the middle I tapped like a hammer. That was /t/!   We do say /t/ in let!

Let me check lick. Lll-i-i-i-cccc-k. Nope, no tapping /t/ in lick.”

6. Practice: 

“When you hear a word that ticks with the letter /t/ I want you to give a thumbs up, and if it doesn’t give a thumbs down.

Example: Do you hear /t/ in Time or rhyme?  In tend or mask? In ham or turkey?

I'll name some food. If they have /t/ in them, go tap your belly and say /t/t/t/. If they don't, say "ew." Potatoes, sushi, lettuce, eggs, turkey, cheese, marshmallows, cereal, cookies, tofu.”


7. Assessment: is /t/ in twine or swine, tan or man, tight or might,

twist or mist, etc.… have students continue the game played above as practice and use these results to see if they got the gist of the lesson.


Reference: "Making Friends with Phonemes"


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