Home‎ > ‎

T's Time is Ticking!

T’s Time is Ticking!

Emergent Literacy Design

Allie Mosher


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /t/, the phoneme represented by T. Students will learn to recognize /t/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (ticking clock) and the letter symbol T, practice finding /t/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /t/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with “Tom’s tall tiger told time”; drawing paper and crayons; A copy of In the Tall, Tall Grass book; word cards with TAKE, LIME, TEAM, BRAIN, and TALK; assessment worksheet


Procedures: 1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for- the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move /t/. We spell /t/ with the letter T. T looks like the hand on a clock, it is a straight line, and /t/ sounds like the “ticking” noise that a clock makes.


2. Let’s pretend we are a clock and make the ticking sound, /t/, /t/, /t/. [Pantomime moving fingers like a pendulum] Notice where the tip of your tongue is? (Touching top, front teeth). When we say /t/, we touch the tip of our tongue to the back of our top row of teeth and blow out air.


3. Let me show you how to find /t/ in the word late. I’m going to stretch late out in super slow motion and listen for my clock. Lll-a-a-ate. Slower: Lll-a-a-a-tttte There it was! I felt my tongue touch the back of my top, front teeth as I blew out air. I can feel my clock ticking in late.


4. Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart]. “Tom’s tall tiger told time.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /t/ at the beginning of the words. “Ttttom’s ttttall ttttiger tttold tttttime.” Try it again, and this time break it off the words: “/t/ om’s /t/ all /t/ iger /t/ old /t/ ime.”


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We used letter T to spell /t/. Capital T looks straight and long like the hand on a clock. Let’s write the lowercase letter t. Start at the top of the rooftop. Draw a straight line down to the sidewalk. Cross it at the fence. I want to see your t. After I give you a check mark, I want you to make 9 more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /t/ in small or tall? Finger or toe? Lift or drop?  Short or long? Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /t/ in some words. Tick your clock with your finger if you hear /t/: A, tall, teal, dog, took, treats, to, my, sister, Tammy.


7. Say: “Let’s look at our book. Ms. Fleming tells us about all kinds of creatures that live in the tall, tall grass.” Read each page, drawing out /t/. Ask children if they can think of other words with /t/. Ask them to think of creatures or items that could be found in the grass that begin with T. Then have the students draw a picture of their creature(s) or item(s) and label them, doing their best to spell each word. Have the students share their work.


8. Show TALL and model how to decide if it is tall or ball: The T tells me that my clock is ticking, /t/, so this word is ttt-all, tall. You try some: TAKE: take or rake? LIME: time or lime? TEAM: team or seam? BRAIN: brain or train? TALK: talk or walk?


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to practice tracing the letter T and color the pictures that begin with the letter T. Have students share their answers with small groups and discuss what other animals or objects start with the letter T.



Rhoades, Ellen A. Sound- Object Associations: The Learning to Listen Sounds. http://www.listen-up.org/dnload/listen.pdf. 9.

Fleming, Denise. In the Tall, Tall Grass. Henry Holt and Co. Sept. 1991. 32 pages.


Assessment Worksheet: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/phonics-beginningsounds/letter-t_WFNTM.pdf

Click here to return to Metamorphoses index.