Chugga, Chugga, Choo, Choo






 Beginning Reading Design

By: Sara Warren


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the consonant diagraph ch= /ch/ In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling ch. They will learn a meaningful representation (train chugging down tracks) they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the diagraph ch.


Materials: Graphic image of train chugging down tracks; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: c, h, i, n, m, u, r, l, a, b, r, t; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: crunch (teacher model), chin, much, rich, chat, bench, brunch: decodable text Chips for the Chicks: Ch worksheet activity: and pseudoword (lich, chep, chot, fuch, cham) list for assessment.



1. In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with c, like cat and with h, like hit. Today we are going to learn about ch and the signal we see when they are next to each other which makes ch say its name, /ch/. When I say /ch/ I think of a train chugging down tracks making the noise "Chugga, Chugga, Choo, Choo!” [show graphic image].


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /ch/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /ch/ in words, I hear ch say its name /ch/ and teeth touch when I start and open when I finish. [Make vocal gesture for /ch/.] I'll show you first: chair. I heard ch say its name and I felt my teeth touch at the beginning of /ch/ and open at the end. There is a ch in chair. Now I'm going to see if it's in table. Hmm, I didn't hear ch say its name and my teeth didn’t touch at the beginning and open at the end. Now you try. If you hear /ch/ say, "Chugga, Chugga, Choo, Choo!”  If you don't hear /ch/ say, "That's not it." Is it in chain, link, which, chalk, marker? [Have children pull the “Choo, Choo” horn when they feel /ch/ say its name.]


3. Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /ch/ that we'll learn today. We spell /ch/  with the letters c and h. [Write ch on the board.]  What if I want to spell the word chop? "If I chop the vegetables, then they fit in the pot." Chop means to cut up in this sentence. To spell chop in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /ch//o//p/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /ch/ at the very beginning so I'm going to put the c AND the h in the 1st  box because I know that ch is 1 phoneme. Now it gets a little tricky with the vowel sound, so I'm going to say it slowly, /ch//o//p/, I think I heard /o/ so I'll put an o right after the ch. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /ch//o//p/.] The missing one is /p/.


4. Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with three boxes for chin. [Pointing to chin] say, "I bumped my chin on the desk." What should go in the first box? [Respond to children's answers]. What goes in the second box?  I'll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You'll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for the vowel sound and the ending sound.  Here's the word: much, I love my parents very much; much. [Allow children to spell words.]  Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: m- u - ch and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: rich; The king is very rich because he has a lot of money. [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.] Next word. Listen to see if this word has /ch/ in it before you spell it: chat; Please do not chat while the teacher is talking. Now let's try 4 phonemes: bench; There will be soup at lunch today.  One more then we're done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: brunch; If I stroke the puppy, he'll stop fussing. Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled, but first I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with crunch on the top and model reading the word.]  First I see there's a ch at the end this time. There's the vowel u. It must say /u/. I'm going to use a cover-up to get the first part. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /c//r/= /cr/. Now I'm going to blend that with /u/ = /cru/. Now all I need is the end, first there is a /n/ sound = /crun/. Now, the very end /ch/ = /crunch/  Crunch; that's it. Now it's your turn, everyone together.  [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: You've done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /ch/= ch. Now we are going to read a book called Chips for the Chicks. This is a story where Jess and Ben’s chicks hatch. Then they are eating lunch and their dog. Lad tries to eat the chips. I wonder if Lad will end up eating the chips or will the chicks sneak in and get them? Let's pair up and take turns reading Chips for the Chicks to find out how the chicks end up with the chips. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Chips for the Chicks aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: That was a fun story. Now, how did the chicks get the chips? [Students respond] Right, the chips spilt on the ground. Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /ch/ = ch, I want to see if you can tell which words start with /ch/. On this worksheet, we have an empty book. Your job is to cut out all of the squares and see which ones start with /ch/. (Point and tell what each picture is). First lay them down to make sure you know which ones you are going to glue and check before you glue. [Collect worksheets to informally evaluate individual child progress.]


8. Students will be pulled to the kidney table individually to read pseudowords to the teacher while the rest of the class is working on the “Ch” Book Worksheet. Pseudoword list (lich, chep, chot, fuch, cham).




JulieAnna M. Whiting, Chuggin’ on Through:

Geri Murray, Oh, I didn’t know!:

Murray, G. (2004) Chips for the Chicks. Reading Genie:

Assessment worksheet:

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