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Ticking Tock T Time!

Ticking Tock T Time!
Emergent Literacy Design

 Lindsey Smith


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 (tick tock T) 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. The students will learn not only the sound of /t/ but also the mouth gesture and how to correctly write an upper- and lower-case /t/. My goal is for the students to be able to recognize the sound of t as well as the letter when combined with other letters in the form of a word and also for the students to write both upper- and lower-case letter /t/s correctly.




Primary paper & pencils

Poster with upper- and lower-case Tt

Flash cards with pictures that may contain the letter t

Tickle Time by Sandra Boynton

Worksheet with words for children to circle the pictures

Tongue twister poster—Tommy Tucker Tried To Tie Tammy’s Turtle’s Tie

Truck coloring sheet



1. I will 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 letter T. For capital T, go down and cross at the top, For lowercase t is just a teenager, not as tall as his daddy,

but not short either; cross at the fence.



2. Let's pretend to we are ticking clock, /t/, /t/, /t/. Notice where your top teeth are? Your tongue touches the back of your top teeth. Can anyone think of a hand gesture that we can do when we hear the /t/ sound? That will work but lets try moving our finger like a clock: tick tock, tick tock! Great!


3. Let me show you how to find /t/ in the word bat. I'm going to stretch bat out in

super slow motion and listen for my ticking clock. Bb-a-a-t. Slower: Bbb-a-a-a-tttttt

Yes that’s it! I felt my tongue touch my teeth. I can feel the ticking /t/

in bat.


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. " Everybody

say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /t/ at the

beginning of the words. " Tommy Tucker tried to tie Tammy's Turtle’s tie." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "/t/ ommy /t/ ucker /t/ ried  /t/ o /t/ ie  /t/ ammy’s

 /t/ urtles /t/ ie.


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter T to spell /t/.

Capital T looks like a tree. Let's write the lowercase letter t. Start just below

the rooftop and go all the way down to the ditch and cross at the fence. Now everyone hold up your t’s! After I put a smiley face on it, go ahead and write nine more!


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /t/ in fun or

Ton? Nose or teeth? Play or stay? Lift or drop? Take or fake? Say: Let's see if you can spot

the mouth move /t/ in some words. Show your ticking tock finger if you hear the /t/. Ready: dog, cat, train, mat, apple, trick, tear, paper, great, computer, student


7. I will say “Now let's look at a little story called Tickle Time by Sandra Boynton. This is story about a little boy who loves to be tickled, but we have to read the whole story to find out why! Every time you hear the /t/ sound I want you to show your ticking tock finger. Remember the /t/ sound can be at the beginning, middle, or end of a word. Okay, get your fingers ready: If you’re feeling blue and you don’t know what to do, there is nothing like a tickle time to make you feel brand new. No, there’s nothing like a tickle time to make you feel new—so let’s all get together and we’ll go gitchy-gitchy goo.


8. Show TIP and model how to decide if it is tip or rip: The T tells me to start my ticking clock, /t/, so this word is c-a-tttttt, cat. You try some: TAD: bad or tad? TANK: bank or tank?

TAUPE: taupe or soap? TAPE: cape or tape? TOLL: toll or poll?


9. For assessment, I am passing out papers with pictures on them. I am going to say what each picture is and every time you hear the sound /t/, I want you to circle it. Ready: tree, face, tornado, leaf, puppy, apple, turtle, and tiger. I am so proud of you all for finding all the t’s, you are terrific at t’s! Now I have coloring sheet for everyone to practice their upper and lower case t’s! You can color it using all your favorite colors while I finish reading Tickle Time!


Lesson Source:

Ashley Boulware,

Coloring Sheet Source:




Subpages (1): Emma the Elephant