Emergent Literacy

Emergent Literacy Design: The Ps of Popping Corn


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /p/, the phoneme represented by P.

Students will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful

representation [such as popping popcorn] and the letter symbol P, practice finding /p/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /p/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Pencils, primary paper, markers, tongue tickler on poster "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers", notecards with a picture of popcorn & the letter "P" on the other side, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, \worksheets, chart paper with the words "pig, play, hop, ran, house" on it, a sheet containing Puddle, pop, dot, sad, happy, open, purple, lamp, sit, lip, pig, cow, jump for teacher to read aloud,




1. Say: 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 /p/. We spell /p/ with letter P. Look at my mouth when I say “/p/!” You might notice that the sound, /p/ sounds like popping popcorn in the microwave.

2. Say: Remember, to write the letter "p" we start with our pencil at the fence, and we go down into the ditch. Then we come straight back up and circle around, placing the top of his head on the fence, and his chin on the sidewalk. Watch as I draw the letter p. (Teacher draws p on the board) Now, take out a piece of primary paper and practice writing it yourself. When you are finished show me your paper. Excellent!"

3. Say: Raise your hand if you have NEVER had popcorn! But I bet if you’ve never had it before you still know what it sounds like when it is popping in the microwave. What sound does it make? (Give students a moment to respond) Yes, it makes the /p/ /p/ /p/ sound just like the letter p. Lets all make the popcorn sound on the count of three (/p/ /p/ /p/). Wonderful job! Look at how when I say this letter, I start with my lips together and then I push them out to let out a "wisp" of air."

4. Say: "I am going to show you how to find the /p/ sound in the word "pit". First, I am going to stretch the word out so that I know when I hear the popcorn popping: Pppp-iiii-tttttt. Pppp…there you go, that’s our sound! Do you hear the /p/ sound in P-i-t? I heard my popcorn popping at the beginning of the word "pit", so I know the letter "p" is at the beginning of the word pit. Lets all say, "pit" slowly: pppp-iii-tttt. Now say it slower and really stretch out the beginning: ppppppppp-iii-t. Now we can all hear the popping sound in P!”

5. "Look at this poster. (Read tongue tickler) "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers". I think that as I read that I heard a lot of popcorn being made in the microwave. Lets figure out where. Lets say our tongue twister all together: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers". Now lets stretch out the words to find the popcorn popping." (Say the tongue tickler slow, exaggerating the /p/ sound in each word)

6. Say: "Now I want you to look at the notecard I just handed out to everyone. There is a picture of popcorn on one side, and which letter is on the back? (/p/) Excellent! When you hear the popcorn popping in our tongue twister, raise your notecard up nice and high so that I can see it. Ready, "Ppppppeter Ppppppipppper ppppppicked a pppppeck of ppppickled pppppeppppers". Let’s try it again, but instead I want to you stop and say the /p/ separately from the word. For example: /P/ eter. (Do modeling) When I broke the /p/ off in Peter I could hear the popcorn. Remember to raise your notecard high when you hear the popcorn. "/P/ eter /P/ iper /p/ icked a /p/ eck of /p/ ickled /p/eppers. Splendid!"

7. Say: "Now, we’re going to read a few words and see if we hear our popcorn. We are going to practice stretching the words out like we before to see if we hear the /p/. I will go first: the word is "house". Hhhhh-ouse, house" Hmm, I don’t think I heard any popcorn popping. Let me stretch it out slower. Hhhhhhh-ooouuu-seeee, nope, there is certainly no /p/ in the word house. How about we try another word? Pick volunteers to stretch out the words "play, ran, and hop". Have the other students hold their notecard up when they hear the student say the /p/ sound. 

8."Now let's play a game. I want everyone to squat on the floor next to your desk. I am going to say some words and I want you to pop up like popcorn and make the /p/ sound when you hear it. Puddle, pop, dot, sad, happy, open, purple, lamp, sit, lip, pig, cow, jump. (Words can be said in any order) Great job!"

9. Say: "Now everyone sit down quietly. I am going to read a story called If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Now wait a second! Do you think pigs eat pancakes? What could happen if you give a pig a pancake? Let’s read it and find out but I want you to listen closely and every time you hear the /p/ sound I want you to stomp your foot just one time! Afterwards, we will talk about all the words that you stomped your feet for, and decide if we hear the /p/ sounds or not! Ready?