what to do with wh


Read and write words spelled with the wh digraph.

Lesson Plan

See More

Target Words:

  • whistle
  • whale
  • whirlpool
  • whisk
  • whimper
  • whirlwind
  • wheel
  • whiff


  • Wh letters graphic
  • Word cards in a white envelope
  • Wh Activities Graphic
  • The White Whale story

State and model the objective
Tell the children that today they will read, write, and play with words that begin with the letters wh.

Practice the skill with an activity

Wh activities

  • Read the word cards as a class and then have individual children take turns reading the word cards. Put the word cards back in the white envelope.
  • Say, “Now we are going to make it a little more difficult by reading sentences with wh words that make the /wh/ sound.”
  • Model the activity. Choose a word card from a white envelope (e.g., whistle). Find an activity card with that word in it. Then, do the activity described on the activity card using the white wh letters. For example, the activity card for “whistle” is “Whistle while you whirl around the wh that says /wh/.” You would then whistle and whirl around the white wh letters.
  • Next, let the children take turns choosing a word card, finding the corresponding activity card, and doing the action with the white wh letters.
  • Tell the children that now that they've played with words that begin with wh, they're going to help you read a story about a white whale.

Apply the Skill

Read target words/patterns introduced in the activity (see text/s below)

  • Optional: give each child a copy of the White Whale story (see target text below) to read along.
  • Display the White Whale story for the children to see and read it out loud to the class. If necessary, explain new vocabulary.
  • After reading through the text once, ask the children to identify words that begin with wh and take turns underlining the words on the displayed text or underline them on their own paper.
  • Read the target text again, pausing at each wh word to let the children say the word altogether out loud.
  • Have the children help you make a list of all the wh words from the text for the class to see. Allow the children to add any /wh/ words that are not in the text.

Write about the activity using target words/patterns

  • Compare a word that begins with the letter w (e.g., wave) with a word that begins with the letters wh (e.g., whale).
  • Have the children put their hand close to their mouth and say the words “wave” and “whale”. Tell them to notice that when they make the /wh/ sound they can feel the air blow on their hands. The children can use this trick to distinguish between words that start with the letter w and words that start with wh letters.
  • Have the children write a few sentences using the /wh/ words on the board. Challenge them to also incorporate some words that begin with the letter w.

SEEL Target Texts

See More

The White Whale

A baby whale calf swam with his mother where the waves whirl.
The whirling waves made the water white.
A whirlpool opened up before them like a black hole in space,
The white whale tried to swim closer to his mother
And then—he was whisked away by the whipping waves.
He looked for his mother. But she was gone!
He swam past the island of the white pelicans.
The birds whirled through the air.
The white whale calf knew his mother wasn’t there.
He swam near a white wharf.
The white tipped sharks circled the wharf
But, the white whale calf knew his mother wasn’t there.
White whales can swim a great distance.
The white whale calf swam through whirling white waves and narrow white cliffs.
He wondered if he would ever find his mother
It was then that he found wise Great White Shark.
The wise white shark smiled and pointed to the north,
So the white whale kept swimming.
When the sun rose the next morning,
The light shone on the white waves
And there was his mother.
He was home.



See More

1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.A: Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs.
2. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.B: Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.