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Chugga Chugga Choo!

Chugga Chugga Choo!
Emergent Literacy Design
By: Emily Milner

Rational: This lesson will help children identify /ch/, the phoneme represented by ch. Students should learn to recognize /ch/ by learning a meaningful representation (a train chugging along) and the letter symbol ch, by finding /ch/ in words, and applying their phoneme awareness with /ch/ in phonetic cue reading.


  • Primary paper and pencil

  • Picture of a train going "chugga chugga"

  • Word cards with: chart, think, chirp, catch, lunch, munch, learn, sing

  • Assessment worksheet


  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 /ch/. We spell /ch/ with letters ch. Ch   sounds like a train chugging along on its tracks.

  1. Let's pretend to be a train chugging along down the tracks. /ch/, /ch/, /ch/. (motion of a train chugging down tracks) Notice where your teeth are? They are close together but not quite touching, and your tongue is on the roof of your mouth.

  2. Let me show you how to find /ch/ in the word "chart". I'm going to stretch the word "chart" in super slow motion while you listen for the train chugging along. Chhh-aaa-rr-ttt. I can feel where the train is chugging along when my teeth are close together and my tongue is on the roof of my mouth. Did you feel it?

  3. Let's try a tongue twister. Say, "Charlie Chance is changing the channel". Now let's say it three more times together. Now let's say it one more time and really stretch out the /ch/ while doing our train motions. Ok good! Now one more time breaking the /ch/ off from the word. "ch-arlie Ch-ance is ch-anging the ch-annel".

  4. (Have students take out paper and pencil) We use the letters ch to spell /ch/. Let's practice writing the letter c and h on our paper. To make a c, go up and touch the fence, then around and up. To make a h, start at the roof, come down and hump over. Once I have put a check on your paper, write 5 more just like it!

  5. Call on students to see how they knew: Do you hear /ch/ in...

  • Chart or think

  • Lunch or learn

  • Sing or chirp

  1. Let's look at the book I brought for us today. It's called Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and it is about how the alphabet has a race to get to the top of the coconut tree. Do you think they will all make it to the top? We will have to read to find out what happens! And lets also listen for words with the /ch/ sound in them. Can you tell me any other words with the /ch/ sound? 

  2. Show "chance" and model how to tell if the word is chance or dance. The ch tells us that the word is chance because we make the /ch/ sound with our mouths. Now try these, chase or base, chart or heart, chirp or slurp.

  3. For assessment, distribute worksheet. Students are to complete the worksheet with /ch/ pictures and words. While they are working, call up the students individually to read the cue words from 8.


    Web link for worksheet: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/phonics/ch-word-color_WBWMN.pdf