It is important that we provide our students with as much knowledge as we can! In Kindergarten, our students are really learning HOW to read and HOW to write and sometimes we need to introduce them to certain strategies to push them forward! Digraphs are "technically" a first grade skill; however, we are expected, as good practitioners, to expose our students to as many skills as possible while creating an environment of rigor! With this lesson, I am exposing all of my students to a skill that will help support both reading and writing! The voiced and unvoiced TH digraphs are used in many of our high-frequency words, so it is important that we teach students how to see and sound-out both of these digraphs! Although not all students will be ready to take in and use these digraphs on their own, the students who are capable and ready will take in TH and TH and will use the information learned through their own writing and reading! Here, I explain the two TH's out loud.
This lesson is done in a whole group setting with the students seated on the carpet in front of me.
"Today, we are going to learn about two digraphs that I like to call siblings. Remember: a digraph is when two or more letters work together to make one sound. Can you tell that to a partner, please?"
(Students should say to each other, "A digraph is when two or more letters work together to make one sound."
*Students teach each other here to, 1-help them remember the skill because they've taught someone else, and 2- get their little voices working so they can soon be quiet and pay attention!
"Yes. A digraph is when two or more letters work together to make one sound. Today, as I said, we will be learning the sibling digraphs of TH and TH. I call them siblings because I think of these two digraphs as brothers and sisters- they are almost the same!"
(Here, I really exaggerate the sounds) "TH....... and TH......" (wait time) "Do you hear that they sound very similar?" (Wait time) "That is because they are similar, like siblings! TH is unvoiced, so it has no voice, just air! Listen....... thhhhhhhhhh." (wait time) "Now, there is also the TH sound that is voiced and it vibrates when you make it! Listen...... tttthhh." (wait time)
"Now that you have heard me make the sounds, I would like for you to practice making the sounds with some guidance! We are going to watch a video where someone is going to teach you exactly how to make the sounds. As he is making the sounds and practicing his pronunciation, I would like for you to join him. I will be walking around and listening!"
I have set the purpose and the expectations for this awesome and funny video so students are ready for some guided practice with both of these digraphs! As this video goes along, students will get repeated practice with the voiced and voiceless versions of TH.
After the video is over, I will review- "The voiceless version of TH sounds like....." (wait time)
"Good job! The voiced version, where we use our vocal chords for TH sounds like....." (wait time)
I also love this video that teaches the voiceless /th/ sound! It's even better when I follow it up by showing this one that teaches the voiced /TH/ sound.
"I am going to say either voiced or voiceless, and you are going to practice saying the voiced, /TH/, or the voiceless (air only) /TH/ sound!" (wait time) "For example, if I say, voiced....... you are going to say /th/." (Here I will really exaggerate the sound, as I will expect them to do the same.)
I will spend about one minute going back and forth randomly between the voiced /TH/ and the voiceless /TH/ sounds. I will simply say, "voiced" or "voiceless" about ten times each and listen to students complete their exaggerated sounds.
After we have had repeated practice with just the sounds, I will begin to give students words and they will give me a hand up if they hear the voiced /TH/ sound and a simple hand down if they hear the voiceless /TH/ sound.
"I am going to say a word and you will raise your hand if you hear the voiced TH or /TH/ sound. So, if I said THere.......... I would raise my hand because there begins with the voiced /TH/ sound." (wait time) "But, if I hear the voiceless TH or the /TH/ sound, I am just going to leave my hand down. So, if I said THumb......... I would not raise my hand because thumb begins with the voiceless, quiet, air only /TH/ sound." (wait time) "So, remember... hands go up for the voiced, humming /TH/ sound........... hands stay down for the voiceless, air only /TH/ sound."
I will spend about two minutes here practicing different words with voiced /TH/ (there, then, this, that) and unvoiced /TH/ (think, thumb, thump, thimble).
Throughout this lesson, I walk around and listen! I try to make it a point to listen to each student's response at least once (which takes effort, but I really try)! If needed, I can always ask a particular student to give me the voiced or voiceless /TH/ sound to check for understanding. Also, I like to listen to and look for the whole group responses to make sure we are all on the right track!
Although the assessing for this lesson is all done informally, I can always complete an assessment of this particular skill during connected reading and/or writing time.
After this initial lesson where students explicitly learn how to differentiate what they hear between the voiced and voiceless /TH/ sound, I like to repeat the practice section of this lesson a few more times over the following days.
I love showing this adorable video of students creating words with the voiced /TH/ and the voiceless /th/ sounds while singing a cute song with their teacher!
After students have had a few days of practice with this task, I like to have them transfer the skill into their reading and writing. I have some /TH/ books that I like to have students read. My favorite book can be found here at Readinga-z.com and it is called Thad and Thelma! I like to print this out for small groups and have students find the voiced /TH/ sound words with one color and the voiceless /TH/ sound words with another color. This is good for assessing students' understanding and it is also a good task for practice!
I like to use a voiced and voiceless /TH/ word sort in centers after this as well!
Finally, I like to connect this lesson with voiced and voiceless to one with V (voiced) and F (voiceless) to further students' connections.
Here are some great activities:
Five Thumb Monsters and a Dog Story and Th Digraph Word Sorting Game