whip and whirl


Read and write words with the wh digraph and associate wh with the /w/ sound.

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • why
  • when
  • whiff
  • whirl
  • where
  • would
  • whimper


  • Sentence strips*
  • Where and When We Do Things target text*
  • Whoa! There Goes the Wiffle Ball target text*

*Items included below.

State and Model the Objective

Tell the children that they will read and write words that begin with the letters wh, such as whir, whoop, whelp, whimper, wheeze, whiff, whump, whiz, whip, whine, whirl, and whisk.

Literacy Activities
Act out wh words

  • Write the wh digraph and explain that it makes the /w/ sound.
  • List words for actions and noises that begin with wh (e.g., whine, whisper, whirl, whip, whisk, whiff, whir, whimper, and whistle).
  • Act out the action words or give examples of the words.

Pantomime commands with wh- words

  • Display commands with wh- words and show the children how to make or pantomime the actions:
    • Whistle while you whirl around.
    • Whittle some wood.
    • Whisk and whip some eggs
    • Wheel and whip around on one foot
    • Whine and whimper like a dog for a treat
    • Whack a Wiffle ball.
    • Ride a whinnying horse and tell it “whoa.”

Ask wh- questions about the children’s lives

  • Display the sentence strips (found below) that use wh- words and read them to the children.
    • Why do you whine?
    • When do you whisper?
    • Why do you whisper?
    • What does a whimper sound like?
    • Why would you whimper?
    • When and why would you whirl, whir, and whiz around?
    • What would you like to take a whiff of?
    • When would you whip or whisk something?
    • Would you whip or whisk up whipped cream?
  • Have the children pair up to ask each other the questions.

Read a text with wh- words

  • Read the target text Where and When do We Do Things? (found below) with the children.
  • Display the text and ask the children to identify words that begin with wh.
  • Tell the children that the word wacky can be spelled two ways: whacky and wacky.
  • Explain that spelling wacky is more common but that you all will be using the wh- spelling because you want to practice the /wh/ sound.
  • Read Whack a Wiffle Ball (found below) to and with the children.

Compare words that begin with wh and w

  • Display some wh- words (e.g., whistle, whimper, whisk) and some w- words (e.g., work, wonder, wave).
  • Compare a word that begins with the letter w (e.g., wave) with a word that begins with the letters wh (e.g., whale).
  • Indicate that both words with wh and w both have the /w/ sound.
  • Display the Where and When Do We Do Things text and read it to the children.
  • Read the text again and have the children identify words that begin with w and wh.

Write about the activity using target words

  • Have the children write a few sentences using /wh/ words written on the board.
  • Invite the children to write questions using wh- words (when, what, where, and why) and other wh- words dealing with actions (whirl, whisper, whimper, whisk, whine, whack, wheeze, whip, whiz, whiff, whistle, whack, whirl, whir, whither, whelp, whop, and whomp).

SEEL Target Texts

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Where Do We Do Things?

When and where do we whistle?
When and why would we whistle?
When and why would we whirl around?
When might you whittle away time?
What and when would something whither?
When and where would we wear white?
What and when would something whir?
When and why would we whine?
When and why do we take a whiff?
When and why do we whisper?
When and why might we whimper?
When and where might we take a whiff?
When and where would we whisk something?
When and why might you wheel something around?

Whack a Wiffle Ball

Why is whacking a Wiffle ball whacky?
Whacking a Wiffle ball is whacky because it has holes.
A Wiffle ball is also whacky because it whirles when you whack it.
When you whack a whacky Wiffle ball, it whizzes and whirles.
When you whack a Wiffle ball, it whips and whirs around.
Whee! There it goes!
Whop! Whump! Whomp! Whoop!
You can’t keep a whacky Wiffle ball from being whacky.
You can’t stop a whacky Wiffle ball from whirling and whizzing around.



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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.