Samantha the Sassy Snake

Emergent Literacy Lesson

Kate Clarke


In order for children to become fluent readers, they must develop phonemic awareness. 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 (slithering snake) and the letter symbol S. Students will practice finding /s/ in words, and will apply phoneme awareness with /s/ phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.



Primary paper and pencils; chart with “Samantha the sassy snake slithered to the salty sea” on it; picture cards with words including /s/: snake, snow, snail, salmon, soup and stool; picture cards with words not including /s/: dog, rain, nail, bed, watermelon, ocean, bread, and light; assessment worksheet identifying images with /s/ (URL below); Silly Sally by Audrey Woods.




1.     Say: Have you ever stopped to think about the different sounds you hear in a word? Each letter makes a different sound in the word, and our mouth moves in a different way for each sound. Learning to identify letters and the sounds they make can be tough, but it is not impossible! Today we are going to focus on spotting the mouth move /s/. We spell /s/ with letter S. S looks like a slithering snake, and /s/ sounds like a hissing snake: sssssss!


2.     To say /s/, your mouth should slightly open with your teeth together and you should blow air out of your mouth. Now lets pretend to be a snake. We are going to go /s/, /s/, /s/ while moving our hand back and forth like a snake sliding on the ground. [Show them the hand movement] Let me hear you hiss like a snake!


3.     Now I am going to show you how to find /s/ in the word snake. I am going to stretch snake out in super slow motion and listen for my snake tongue sound. Sss-n-a-k. Slower: Ssssss-n-n-n-aaa-k. Did your teeth touch in the front? Mine did! I felt my front teeth come together and my tongue lightly touch my teeth when I blow air. I can hear the /s/ in snake!


4.     Now lets try a tongue tickler [on chart]. “Samantha the sassy snake slithered to the salty sea.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch out the /s/ when you hear it in the words. “Ssssamantha the ssssassssy ssssnake sssslithered to the ssssalty ssssea.” Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “/s/ amantha the /s/ assy /s/ nake /s/ lithered to the /s/ alty /s/ ea.


5.     Ask students to take out primary paper and a pencil. We use the letter S to spell /s/. Capital S and lowercase s look like a slithering snake. Watch me as I show you how to write it! For the uppercase S, make a little c from the roof to the fence then come down and around to the sidewalk. Now you try it! I want to see everybody’s S. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it. [Walk around and check uppercase S]. Now, lets try a lowercase s. Under the fence make a small c and curve it around to the sidewalk. Now try in on your own and make 10 more like it!


6.     Now I am going to say some words and I want you to help me find what word you hear the /s/ in. Raise your hand when you hear a word containing /s/. Ready? Snake vs. dog, rain vs. snow, snail vs. nail, said vs. bed. Good! Now I want you to sit quietly and make your snake hands when you hear the /s/: watermelon, salmon, ocean, bread, Sara, soup, light, less, stool.


7.     Next, I will read the book Silly Sally. After reading, I will talk to the class about the story. After, I will read the book once more and have the students make their snake hands when they hear /s/ in the story.


8.     For assessment, student will complete a worksheet. The worksheet has students complete the words by adding the missing first letter. Also, students are assigned to color the pictures that begin with S. I will also be assessing students on their ability to hear /s/ in Silly Sally and do their snake hands.



Audry Woods, Silly Sally.Harcourt Children's Books,1999

Daniel, Collier. Silly Silly Snake


Back to Partnerships Page