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Beginning Reading



Chomping Cheese with /ch/


Taylor Medlock





This lesson teaches children about the digraph correspondence 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 (Mice love chomping on cheese), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence ch = /ch/.


Materials: Graphic image of a mouse chomping on cheese; cover-up critter, whiteboard or smartboard boxes for modeling for whole classroom and individual letterboxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: c,h,a,i,o,m,p,r,s,t,f,n; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: chip, chat, chop, chair, chimp, finch; decodable text: Chip the Chimp, and assessment worksheet.




1. Say: 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 and long vowels, such as /aw/ in fault and /er/ in her and today we are going to learn about the digraph ch and its sound, /ch/. When I say /ch/, I think of mice chomping on cheese. [Show image of mouse and cheese].


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 the /ch/, /ch/, chomping cheese sound and my teeth touch and air goes through them. [Make vocal gesture for /ch/.] I’ll show you first: chip. Cccchhh-iiii-ppp. I heard the /ch/, /ch/, chomping cheese sound and I felt my teeth touch together like a big chomp! There is a ch chip. Now I am going to see if it’s in tap. Hmmm, I didn’t hear the /ch/, /ch/, cccchhhomping ccchhheese sound and my teeth didn’t tough together like they did in chip. Now, you try. If you hear /ch/, say “chomp chomp.” If you didn’t hear /ch/, say “That’s not it.” Is it in chew, ate, chalk, gum? [Have children point to their teeth when they hear ch say its sound.]


3. Say: What if I want you to spell the word chop? “I went home and got to chop celery with my mom.” To chop something is to cut it into smaller pieces. To spell chop in letterboxes, I first need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /ch/ /o/ /p/. I need three boxes. I am going to start with the o, because that sound I know for sure, it will go in the second box. I heard that /ch/ just before the /o/, so I am going to put both of those letters in the 1st  box. The word ends with a p, so I know that goes in the third box. Now I will show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with cheer on the top and model the reading word.] I am going to start with the ee, that letter says /ee/. Now I am going to put the beginning letters with it: ch /chee/. Now I will put that chunk together with the r, /cheer/. Oh, cheer, like, “I love to cheer for the baseball team.”


4. Now I am going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You will start out with three boxes for chip. “The wooden desk had a chip in it.” Listen for that /ch/ sound. I will check your spelling as I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You’ll need four letterboxes for the next word. Listen for /ch/. Here is the word: chimp. “The baby chimp was so cute.”  chimp. [Allow children to spell remaining words, giving sentences and correct number of letterboxes for each word]:


·    3 letterboxes: chip, chat, chop, chair

·    4 letterboxes: chimp, finch


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you spelled. [Show the words chip, chat,chop, chair, chimp, finch, Chester, the extra words agent and lost, and the pseudoword grunch. Have children read the 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 at reading words with ch says /ch/. Now we are going to read a book called Chip the Chimp. This book is about a chess playing chimp. He doesn’t know if he should play baseball or play chess because he does not want to disappoint anyone. What will he do? Let’s get in pairs to read and find out! [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while the teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Chip the Chimp chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]


7. Say: We will now see where the /ch/ sound is in a word. Put the ch in the box –beginning, middle, or end,- that you think the sound is for the picture above it. Say the names of the pictures either in your head or in a whisper to see where you hear the /ch/.  [Collect worksheets to evaluate each individual child’s progress.]

Related Lessons:

Chug a-Chug-a Choo Choo by Tammy Bauer


Chip the Chimp by Robert Charles


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