The letter /h/ is a fun letter to learn and is usually easier for students to learn and pronounce. The reason for this is how the sound is made, and its use in English. The letter h sound does not need a specific position for your tongue, so students can pronounce it after some practice. This sound also appears in many other languages, and can be made by young children.
Just make sure that your student is saying it correctly, and not the /sh/ or /ch sounds!
Get ready to learn how to say and blend the /h/ sound.
Phonics Pronunciation of the Letter H Sound
The /h/ sound is generally taught with your hand over your mouth as if out of breath and saying the h-h-h sound. Another way action to teach it is by wiping your forehead as if sweating, and saying the h-h-h. The idea is to represent the /h/ sound with your breath, as its easier for students to understand.
This sound is normally easier for students, as it does not require any special positioning of the tongue or complicated movements of the mouth. This sound is unvoiced, so the sound is produced just by releasing air through the throat and mouth. As this sound is quite simple to make, even very young children can say the /h/ sound.
Once the children can pronounce the sound well, you can add the vowels to the to make the sounds ho,ho,ho, ha,ha,ha, hee,hee,hee, hoo,hoo,hoo. After this the student will be able to move on to the 3 letter CVC words. However make sure the students are saying the /h/ correctly, and not the /sh/ or /ch/ sounds.
Checkout this video on the letter h sound!
A good visual hint you can show the students is the way your chest moves with the /h/ sound. You can exaggerate your chest movements and even belly movements when you breathe, and make the h-h-h sound. This will show the students that this sound is made when breathing and pushing air to make a breathe, and not just in the mouth or voice.As the /h/ sound is made with a puff of air, you can also hold the student’s hand in front of your mouth to feel the release of air with the sound. You can even use a piece of paper to show them it moves every time they make the /h/ sound.
Handwriting Help with letter /H/
Students usually find the letter /h/ easier to write, as it is only three straight lines in the case of the uppercase /H/ and a line and a half circle with the lowercase /h/. However, if the student is still having a hard time writing the /h/ letter, you may need to help them with their pencil grip or muscle development in their hands. You can try some exercises to strengthen their hand muscles such as paper crumpling, spray a water bottle, or play with play doh. You can also have them start with tracing the letter /h/ with their finger, to get used to the straight line shape, with handbook phonics books.
In some cases the students write the /h/ like the letter /n/, and forget to add the top of the letter. Be sure that they are writing the /h/ properly with a longer line, and also the order of strokes from left to write with the uppercase /H/. If you are using the the dotted line paper, you can tell them that the /h/ should take up both the top and bottom section, and not only the bottom section in the case of the letter /n/.
If your child still struggles with the H sound, checkout some ABC books to help them practice the letter.
As the /h/ sound is release with a puff of air, you can try to incorporate this fun activity with this sound. Get up close to some glass or a mirror, and make the /h/ sound to fog up the glass. Kids really enjoy seeing the fog on the glass when they breathe, and they have to make a good /h/ sound in order to make the fog. You can also write the /h/ letter in the fog too! This activity is always fun for the students, and they will play endlessly fogging up areas, which will help them practice the /h/ sound.
In case this is not an option, another really fun idea is to make different laughing sounding with the letter /h/. You can say the normal laugh of ha-ha-ha. Or a really funny hee-hee-hee. Santa claus would say ho-ho-ho. And other sounds could bee hoo-hoo-hoo or heh-heh-heh. Kids will have lots of fun saying the different laughing sounds, which will help them practice the /h/ sound and also adding vowels to these sounds. You can even use flashcards with different popular characters, as ask students how they think they would laugh. You can do happy laughs, funny laughs, and evil laughs!
Letter /H/ Blending
The letter /h/ is a good letter to practice blending with, as the sound is easy to make, and many words start with the letter /h/. As this sound can be made from a very early age, the students should be able to master the sound and start with the vowel variations soon after. In case the student is having difficulties with pronouncing the /h/ sound, take time to go back to study the /h/ sound and show the student how it is made.
After they can say the /h/ sound well, incorporate the different vowel variations with the ha,ha,ha, hee,hee,hee, and ho,ho,ho. After they can say these well, move on with the three letter CVC words as in h-o-p, h-a-m, h-i-t. There are many everyday words with the letter /h/, so you can practice blending many words with the students. A benefit of this letter is that many easy CVC words do not end with the letter /h/, so you can focus on only the words that start with it. If the students advance quite fast, you can even introduce other sounds with the letter /h/ such as /sh/ and /ch/.
Checkout our Top 25 phonics books for reading letters
Once the students can say and blend the /h/ sound, you can introduce them to everyday words that start with the letter /h/. Be sure that they can recognize the letter and say the letter without much help or actions, especially for the younger students. Here are some ideas to help students connect the letter /h/ with everyday words!
Many animals start with the letter h, such as horse, hippo and hamster. You can show them pictures of these animals while saying their names.
There are also a lot of food that starts with the letter /h/, like hamburger, hotdog and honey. Most young kids will know about some of these foods.
Letter /h/ sentence reading
After learning how to say and blend words with the letter /h/, it’s good to introduce basic sentences to the children to read. These sentences are meant to be basic for students learning the alphabet letters and phonics as their second language.
Here are some short sentences you can read together with the students.
I am hot.
He is hot.
I have a hat.
I can run and hop.
I can hit a hat.
It’s important your students practice reading short sentences, so they gain the confidence and can practice their blending skills. Therefore, encourage your students to read these sentences to improve their phonics and blending with the letter /h/ !
Letter H tongue twisters
The letter /h/ tongue twisters are fun to say, and will really work out your lungs. Get ready for some fun /h/ tongue twisters.
How hollow Helen Hull hobbles on hills!
Hurry, Harry! Hurry, Harry! Hurry, Harry!
How much hair could a hairnet net, if a hairnet could net hair?
Harry the hungry, hungry hippo is happily eating ham in his house.