The H Brothers activity is a fun way to introduce your students to digraphs. Remember, digraphs are two sounds coming together to make an entirely new single sound. Because this is sometimes a confusing concept for kids, multisensory props and gestures are crucial.
Below are a few ideas to get you started:
- CH: wear a plastic finger and tap on your chin.
- SH: gesture /SH/ (like you are shushing someone).
- WH: disable a party whistle and blow.
- PH: make a hand gesture like you are talking on the phone by holding your hand up to your jaw and extending your thumb and pinky.
- Make character puppets for the kids to hold (see picture).
- Tell your students The H Brothers story (below).
THE H BROTHERS STORY
Let me introduce you to five brothers. They are called the H brothers because they all have the letter H in their name. Ch, Sh, Wh, Th, and Ph. Each brother likes to make a special sound.
Wondering Charlie goes around all day thinking about stuff. He wanders around for hours and hours just thinking and wondering. He constantly taps his finger on his chin and makes the /CH/ /CH/ /CH/ sound over and over again.
This drives the second brother, Quiet Shawn, absolutely nuts!! Quiet Shawn likes silence. He goes behind /ch/-/ch/-Charlie all day saying /SH/, /SH/, /SH/ to remind him to keep quiet!
Meanwhile, the third brother, Whistling Whit, wants nothing else in the whole wide world but to learn how to whistle. He spends all day blowing and blowing…. /WH/ /WH/ /WH/…. but no sound ever comes out!
The fourth brother is Impolite Theo. He is the bad boy of the family. He likes to go around sticking his tongue out at anybody who comes close to him. He makes the sound /TH/ /TH/ /TH/ as his tongue comes out. Sometimes, when adults are around, he just sticks his tongue behind his teeth, thinking no one will see what he is doing …/TH/ /TH/ /TH/, but everyone knows what he is doing! He gives a double “thumbs up” because he is so proud of himself!
Finally, there is the fifth brother, Chatterbox Phil. He just loves to talk. He is always on the PHone and talks for a long time. When he is looking for his phone, he goes around making the sound /F/ /F/ /F /and asks, “where is my “PHone?”
It is no wonder the H brothers’ mom is so exhausted every day. The H brothers make life around their house very exciting!!!
For a free download and pictures of a slightly different version of the story of the H Brothers, go to /content/blog_images/2014/03/h-brothers.pdf
Samantha Brooks, MSE, Dyslexia Therapist
Samantha Brooks is an Intern Instructor with Brainspring Educator Academy.
(Original version of this article was posted in May 2017)