B-B-Beating the Drum

B-B-Beating the Drum

 Emergent Literacy Design

By: Betsy Jackson

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /b/, the phoneme represented by B. Students will learn to recognize /b/ in spoken words by learning the meaningful representation that B sounds like the beating of a drum. Also, students will learn the letter symbol B, practice finding /b/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /b/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.



-       Primary paper and pencil

-       tongue twister is “Beth blows bubbles by Ben”

-       drawing paper and crayons

-       The Berenstains’ B Book (written and illustrated by: Jan and Stan Berenstain)

-       cards with the words BOY, TUB, LACK, BEND, VEST

-       assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /b/ (below)


Procedures: 1. Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for – the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move /b/. We spell /b/ with letter B. A great way to remember B is that it sounds like the beating of a drum.


2. Let’s try and pronounce the letter B together. Start with your putting your lips together and then continuing to say the /b/ sound. It’s a short sound, like a drum beat.


3. Next, let’s find /b/ in the word cab. I’m going to stretch cab out in super slow motion and listen for the /b/ sound we just learned. Ccc-a-a-abbb. Even slower it sounds like ccc-a-a-a-bbb. You found it! I felt my lips come together before I did the /b/ sound.


4. Now we are going to learn a tongue twister. “Beth blows bubbles by Ben”. Let’s say it again together to practice saying our /b/ sound. This time we are going to say the /b/ a little longer at the beginning of each word. “Bbbeth bbblows bbbubbbbbles bbby Bbben”. We are going to say the tongue twister one more time, except this time we are going to separate the /b/ sound from the rest of the word. “/b/ eth /b/ lows /b/ ubbles /b/ y /b/ en”.


5. (Will use primary paper and pencil) The top line on the primary paper is referred to as the rooftop, the middle dotted line is the fence, and the bottom line is the sidewalk. Since we know what B sounds like, we should also know what it looks like. To make a capital B go straight down to the sidewalk; around for his big chest, and around for his big tummy. For a lowercase b, start at the roof, go down, b-b-bounce up and around.


6.  Now we are going to see if you can hear the letter B in a word. Do you hear /b/ in boy or girl? Tub or sink? brag or cry?


7. Next we are going to look at an alphabet book titled The Berenstains’ B Book (written and illustrated by: Jan and Stan Berenstain). The book starts out with big blue bear by himself; however, the book quickly becomes a little more crowded. Soon big brown bear, blue bull, and beautiful baboon decide to blow bubbles while biking backwards. This is where the trouble comes! They run into black bug, Billy Bunny, Brother Bob, and Buster Beagle along the way and make quite a mess. How do you think the craziness will end? Read this book to find out.


Now take out your drawing paper and write down a B. From there, draw a picture of something that starts with the letter B. Use the different examples from the book we just read to inspire you.


8. (use word cards) Show BOY an model how to decide if it is boy or toy. The B tells me to put my lips together and make the /b/ sound, so this word is bbbb-oy, boy. You try some: bat or mat? lack or back? bend or lend? vest or best? (Students will be called up individually to work with the cards while the rest of the class works on the assessment in #9.)


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to color in the pictures of objects that start with the letter B.



Assessment Worksheet: http://www.education.com/files/444901_445000/444924/color-letter-b.pdf

Berenstain, Stan & Jan. The Berenstain’s B Book (Random House, 1971)

Murray, Bruce. “Brush Your Teeth with F”. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/murrayel.html

Return to the Edifications Index.