Emergent Literacy Design

Ssssilly Ssssnake

Courtney Bass 

Emergent Literacy Design 

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S. Students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and the letter symbol S, practice finding /s/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with tongue tickler: “Seven snakes sopped up spaghetti sauce”  drawing paper and crayons; note card with a hissing snake, for visualization. Silly Sally ;word cards with SIT, SAG, MAX, SING, SOCK, DOG, SNAKE, TURLTE; assessment worksheet.


1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The mosty 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 /s/. We spell /s/ with letter S. S looks like a snake, and /s/ sounds like a snake rattling its tongue.


2. Say: Let’s pretend to be a snake, /s/, /s/, /s/. [Pantomime being s snake with hands and arm until sound is completed]. Notice where your top teeth and bottom teeth are? (Almost touching each other) Notice where your tongue is? (Pushing toward your bottom teeth). When we say /s/, we blow air between your top teeth and bottom teeth.


3. Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word best. I’m going to stretch best out in super slow motion and listen for me sneaky snake. Bbb-e-e-est. Slower: Bbb-e-e-e-sss-t. There it was! I felt my teeth almost touch, and my tongue was pushed toward my bottom teeth. I can feel the sneaky snake /s/ in best.


4. Say: Let’s try a tongue twister  [on chart]. “Seven snakes sopped up spaghetti sauce.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words. “Ssseven sssnakes sssopped up sssspaghetti sssauce.” Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “/s/even /s/nakes /s/opped up /s/paghetti /s/auce.”


5. Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Show your snake (use your arms in the motion of a snake) if you hear /s/: six, sailboat, boat, swim, run, kiss, fox, mop, zoom, nose

6. Model How to decode word with /s/.  SIT: Sss-it, sit. SAG: Sss-ag, Sag. Now, you try some show SING: sing or ring; SOCK: dock or sock; DOG: dog or song…until you have completed your cards.


7.  Say: (Book Talk)  Silly Sally is a crazy girl.  She does a crazy thing as she walks into town.  Some of her animal friends join her in her silly walk to town.  I wonder what the town’s people are going to think about her silly self.  Let’s read and find out how silly Sally really is on her way to town.  I will proceed to read the story one time through discussing the important details of the story.

8. I will then give my student a pencil and a piece of primary paper and we will practice writing the letter s, now that we have heard the /s/ sound in some words. I will first model how to properly write the letter s on my sheet of paper. I will tell them to form a c up in the air between the rooftop and the fence then swing back.  I will also explain the different between writing a capital S and a lowercase s. A capital letter is done the same way, but you will use the sky line of the dotted line to the ground, the dotted fence is not used in the capital /s/.  I will then instruct my student to write 10 s’s on their paper. If the student is really grasping the concept, I would ask them to write down words that they know that begin with the letter S.

9. After my student get finished practicing his/her letter writing, I will read Silly Sally again.  This time I will pass out note cards with /s/ snakes on it and will have the students raise their card every time they hear the letter or sound /s/.  Say: Ok, now, I want to see how well you can pay attention to the sounds that you hear.  I am going to pass out these cards.  What is this a picture of? (a snake)  What letter shape is the snake in?  (/s/)  Ok, I want us to use our cards and I am going to read Silly Sally over again and I want you to listen to for the sound or the letter /s/. During the reading of the story I am going to use highlight tape to highlight the letter /s/ for the students to see more clearly.  When you hear the /ssss/ sound or hear the letter /s/ I want you to hold up your card quietly.  Make sure that you think about when you want to put your card up.''

10. For assessment, students are to complete a worksheet in which the words will be listed on one side and the pictures will be on the other side. They will match the pictures to the words that start with the letter S



Assessment Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/s-begins1.htm


Sneaky Snake by Mary Beth Smith http://www.auburn.edu/%7Emes0022/smithel.html


Wood, Audrey. Silly Sally. New York, NY. Scholastic Inc, 1992. 32 pages.