The Dip - Tip Sheet

an image of the cover for the book "The Dip" showing a cartoon cat, pig and dog in a metal tub


The Dip - Teacher Tip Sheet

Yellow Series - Book 3 - The Dip

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • consonant digraph <th >/TH/ voiced (only in the)

Previously Introduced


  • short <a >/ă/, short <o >/ŏ/, short <i >/ĭ/, short <u >/ŭ/


  • <c >/k/, <g >/g/, <s >/s/ and /z/, <d >/d/, <h >/h/, <m >/m/, <n >/n/, <p >/p/, <t >/t/, <b >/b/, <f >/f/

Key Concepts to Understand

  • <th >(voiced) is introduced in this book as part of the word the (<th >also has an unvoiced phoneme as in think)
  • the mouth position for both phonemes is the same, and distinct (tongue between teeth)
  • in the word and , the nasal <n >influences the phoneme produced by the <a >- be aware of this and support as needed

Tip: ask the children to say the word and while plugging and unplugging their nose, notice that nothing changes in their mouths


Words and Phrases for Reading and Writing

Here is a list of words that can be used for phonemic awareness activities, reading, dictation, games cards, etc.:

  • an, man, can, tan, ban, fan, pan, and, pat, sat, bin, bit, sit, fit, din, fin, dip, sip, tap, sap, top, mop, pot, hog, hot, hug, tug, bug, bun, sun, fun, nut

Here is a word chain you could complete with blending cards:

  • and → an → man → fan → can → pan → pat → sat → sit → fit → pit → pot → hot → hut → hug → bug → big → pig

Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice. These phrases can be combined to create sentences.

Noun Phrases

Verb Phrases

Prepositional Phrases

the sun

dug a pit

in the tub

a pig and a tub

can hug

at the pit

his big fan

had fun

on a cot

a cat and a dog

can bug the man

in the hot sun


You can differentiate for your students by dropping some of the words in these phases (e.g., “dug a pit” can just be “dug”).

Orthographic Conventions/Patterns and Generalisations

Tips and Activities to Try

  • concept of digraph

Key Concepts to Understand

  • digraph: a grapheme comprised of 2 letters representing one phoneme
  • digraphs can be made from any combination of vowels and consonants
    • consonant digraphs: 2 consonant letters representing one phoneme (e.g., <sh >representing /ʃ/)
    • vowel digraph: 2 vowel letters representing one phoneme (e.g., <oa >representing long /ō/)

Punctuation/Text Features

Tips and Activities to Try

  • concept of phrase and sentence
  • period at end of complete sentence
  • exclamation mark
  • capitalization of proper nouns

Key Concepts to Understand

  • a complete sentence contains a subject and a predicate:
    • subject: the what (or who) the sentence is about
    • predicate: what the subject is doing/what the subject is being
  • a complete sentence must always end in punctuation
  • when we see an exclamation mark, we need to read the sentence in an emphatic way
  • proper nouns (a noun for a particular person, place or thing) are capitalized

High Frequency Words

Tips and Activities to Try

  • “the”  (<e> typically pronounced as a schwa)
  • “and” (<nd> is the only consonant cluster in the Yellow Series, and is only used in “and”)

Key Concepts to Understand

  • the word the is usually pronounced with a “schwa” (unstressed vowel sound), rather than a short / ĕ / or long / ē /
  • English is a stress timed language (review concept from Grapheme/Phoneme Background sheet)
  • unstressed syllables are often reduced (not as clearly articulated or emphasized)
  • vowels in unstressed syllables are pronounced as a schwa
  • the is a function word - function words are defined as words that have a grammatical purpose/specify grammatical relations, as opposed to content words such as nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs which have a distinct meaning
  • function words are often unstressed in a phrase or sentence, thus are pronounced with a schwa
  • note the is sometimes stressed, at which point the <e >usually represents the long / ē /, which is expected for open syllables (vowel at end of syllable tends to make its long sound, for example in she and me)

Note: think about how we pronounce the at the end of a story ( the end ) compared to when the is unstressed ( for the kids… )


Activities to Try

  • As described in “Cat Nap,” have students explore the concept of stressed and unstressed words and syllables by saying simple sentences. For instance, say the sentence, “Let’s go to the movies” and have students repeat it, stressing every word equally (like a robot). Repeat the sentence with natural stress and intonation. Hearing the contrast helps students notice that we tend to stress go and movies , while the let’s and to the, squish together and are said quickly and are unstressed.

Comprehension Corner - The Dip

Vocabulary Development

  • What is a dip ?
  • Is a dip different from a swim ?

Making Connections

  • How do you stay cool in the summer?
  • How do animals stay cool in the summer?


  • Why do you think Pig was so hot?
  • Why do you think Cat and Dog joined Pig in the tub?


  • Can you retell the story?


Tip Sheet written by Shari Kudsia and Helen Maclean - April 2023 - © SyllaSense Inc.